What is the coronavirus? How to protect yourself from it? How to properly disinfect your home? Our team of professional cleaners with the help of the information provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) will answer all your questions on the topic.
What Are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause a variety of severe illnesses – from the common cold to more dangerous respiratory syndromes. These viruses can be transmitted from animals to people (they are zoonotic). There are even a couple of known types that affect only animals and as of now have not yet infected people.
Coronaviruses were found in the 1960s thanks to doctor David A.J. Tyrrell. He named them coronaviruses (“corona” referring to the appearance of the surface projections). There are seven known types that affect humans. 229E, NL63, OC43, KHU1, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV have been already studied, but the newest one – 2019-nCoV has been discovered last year in China.
What Is COVID-19 (2019-nCoV)?
It is the most recent type of coronavirus found in 2019. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment. The symptoms are tiredness, fever and sore throat. Some patients can experience pain in the chest and difficulty breathing. According to the WHO, one in six patients with COVID-19 can become seriously ill.
The coronavirus spreads rapidly from person to person by the transfer of respiratory droplets. It is not airborne. This means you can’t catch it unless you are near an infected individual. However, you need to stay alert and avoid putting yourself in situations that might expose you to the coronavirus.
It is noteworthy to state that the disease, altho lethal, is just a flu. Mortality is low, as it has an 80% recovery rate. In general at risk are elderly people with heart conditions, pneumonia and/or weak immune systems.
Can You Catch Coronavirus by Receiving a Package from an Infected Area?
As of the beginning of March 2020, there is no evidence, according to WHO, that the virus could be transferred via packages. It is safe to touch and open them, as they have been exposed to a variety of different conditions and temperatures. Viruses can’t survive for a long time outside of living organisms, so the likelihood of COVID-19 being still active when you receive your package is extremely low.
Can You Get Infected with COVID-19 by Your Pets?
There is no medical evidence that you can catch COVID-19 from your pets. Therefore, your house animals can’t transfer the virus to you when travelling. However, the NHS is advising you to always wash your hands with soap and hot water after being in contact with your pets.
Misinformation about the Coronavirus
There is a lot of information concerning COVID-19 that is misleading and can pose an actual danger to your health. WHO has a list of recently created myths. Here is a summary:
COVID-19 can’t be:
- carried by mosquitoes or any other insect
- killed by the cold weather
- cured by a flu shot or any other vaccine
You can’t protect yourself from COVID-19 by:
- taking hot baths
- using hand dryers
- disinfecting your hands with UV lights
- cleaning your body with bleach or any other strong solvent (Do not drink it as well)
- taking antibiotics (It won’t work as they are effective only against bacteria).
- drinking silver water
- frequently rinsing your nose with saline
- eating a lot of garlic
Unfortunately, a lot of pharmaceutical companies are trying to increase their sales by stating their product will protect you against COVID-19. Do not trust them. Remember as of March 2020 there is no vaccine for the virus. All you have to do is follow the rules installed by the government agencies, wash your hands and stay safe.
How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the EU Countries?
The situation in Europe is extremely tense. The epicentre of the coronavirus on the Old continent is Italy. As of March 10th, the country is on lockdown. People are advised to stay home and avoid all contacts. The Vatican has announced that St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica are now closed for tourists. Most countries in the EU have announced a quarantine and have some sort of restrictions on the free passage of people through their borders. British Airways and Ryanair are restricting its flights to Italy. Other big airline companies are following their example.
How Is the UK Handling the Coronavirus Crisis?
COVID-19 was confirmed in the UK at the end of January, and so far the number of sick people is growing. There is a list of countries you should be avoiding travelling to or from. If you have visited them in the last 14 days you should contact the NHS using their online coronavirus service. It is of utmost importance you do not visit hospitals or pharmacies, call immediately 111 and receive instructions and information.
The government has developed and started implementing an action plan in four directions – “Contain, Delay, and Mitigate any outbreak, using Research to inform policy development.”
How to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus?
- First and foremost wash your hands frequently. The WHO can’t stress enough on this topic.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes as these are the entering points the virus aims for.
- Cough in your bent elbow or in a tissue. Avoid using your hands.
- Avoid crowded areas and try not to touch too many things like handles, benches and doorknobs.
- If you feel unwell or exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 call immediately your GP or the provided hotline. Don’t rush in the hospital. You will risk exposing others or yourself to the disease.
- Familiarise yourself with all measurements the government health agencies strongly suggest you take.
- Stay informed about the spread of the coronavirus and the affected countries. You can use the coronavirus map provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Do not rely heavily on disposable face masks. It is believed they are effective only for the first 20 minutes. Mass hysteria and overstacking have led to a worldwide shortage of medical masks in the hospitals and ERs.
There are however alternative solutions. You can sew your own multi-layer mask from fabric or buy a more reliable reusable one.
Whichever you choose to, try to keep as much distance from other people as possible when you are in public. Wear them, especially if you are in close contact with a sick person or you are one yourself.
What Is the Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitising?
Yes, there is a difference and you need to be aware of it to properly protect your property and your health.
- Cleaning – It is the process of removing dirt, debris and germs from objects or surfaces. Cleaning can be performed with specialised solutions or simply with water and soap. The goal is to significantly lower the number of germs and remove all impurities from the surfaces.
- Disinfecting – Its main objective is to exterminate the germs from all objects and surfaces using strong, sometimes dangerous solvents. This process does not necessarily clean, and some spots and dirt may be left.
There is also a third term that is used a lot, especially now, in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak – sanitisation. According to our cleaning professionals, it has a different meaning from the two listed above.
- Sanitisation – This process lowers the number of germs so they will be within the limits of public health standards. It is performed by either cleaning or disinfecting objects and surfaces.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
You must use strong solvents. Products that contain bleach or have at least 70% alcohol in them are perfect. You can also check the list of disinfectants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued. It is believed these solvents could kill COVID-19 (known in the medical fields as the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2). If you don’t have access to any of these products, you can use surgical spirit B.P., as it has 95% methylated spirit in it. Do it in two steps – first clean then disinfect.
- Use water and soap or a mild solvent to wipe the surfaces removing any dirt, mud or debris.
- Spray disinfectant on the cleaned spots to kill the germs.
Disclaimer: When you wipe a surface, do it in one direction. Do not make circular motions or go back the other way to avoid recontamination.
What Protection to Use When Cleaning and Disinfecting?
You must always wear protective gear when cleaning to both avoid burning yourself and catching the virus from an infected surface. Get yourself a couple of:
- Medical gloves, do not use regular kitchen rubber gloves as they are for multiple uses.
- Medical mask or a DIY equivalent
You also need to dispose properly of them:
- Wash your hands before and after the cleanup.
- Remove your gloves carefully and avoid touching the skin.
- Take off your mask by the strings.
- Place everything in a plastic bag, seal it and dispose of it.
What Should You Clean at Home to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus?
When you clean and disinfect your home, you need to focus on the spots with the largest foot traffic and the most frequently touched surfaces. Our Oxford professional cleaners advise you to wipe the doorknobs every time someone enters the home. Not only that but at least 2-3 times a day disinfect:
- Light switches
- The fridge’s door
- TV and AC remotes
- Kitchen tops and dining table
- Toilet handles and seat
- Laptop and keyboard
- Game controllers
- Faucets and faucet knobs
All of these things need to be disinfected, especially your phone. A lot of people forget about it, and it’s one of the germiest items you own.
Our Oxford professional cleaners can’t stress enough on how important it is:
- To wash the floors daily
- Not to enter the home with shoes
- To wash your hands the moment you enter your home
- To leave the disinfectant at least 1 to 3 minutes on, before wiping it. The whole idea is to kill the germs, and it takes time.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your Office and Work Station During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
For bigger companies, the best solution is to hire professional cleaners to do the work. For smaller businesses, there is the option to do everything by themselves. Here is how:
- Clean the floors once, but disinfect them 3 times a day.
- All door handles and knobs must be wiped with surgical spirit B.P. 3 times per day.
- Wipe frequently your:
- Desk phone
- Chair (hand rests)
- Pens and pencils
- Desk lamp
- Clean and disinfect the toilets 3 times a day – seats, doors, sink tops
How to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus While at the Office?
If you can’t work at home and have to go to your office, there are still things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe:
- We know you can’t remove your shoes at the office, but there is a good alternative – disposable shoe covers. Slip them on when you enter, and remove them after you leave. Be careful not to touch the bottom part.
- Put a bottle of hand sanitiser on your desk and use it frequently.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Do not use air hand dryers instead use a paper towel.
- Keep a 1m (6ft) distance from one and other.
- Avoid places with lots of people like cafeterias and conference rooms. If you have to meet, try to do it online.
How to Pick a Cleaning Company During the Coronavirus Crisis?
If you are relying on house cleaning services to maintain your house germ-free, make sure that the company you are working with:
- Regularly checks the health of its staff
- Can provide its crews with proper cleaning gear
- Uses strong enough disinfectants
- Can deliver perfect service without you needing to meet the cleaners (social distancing is key during the coronavirus outbreak)
In addition, check the customers’ reviews for the cleaning company of your choice in Google. It is the easiest way to see what people think about their services and how they are performing. If you want to see how a reputable company should look like check out Energy’s review page.
Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? The skilled cleaners from Energy Cleaning are ready to disinfect your home. Things are scary right now, so let us help you.