Staying Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that are common in people and different species of animals. One virus from this family, known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus-2 (Sars-CoV-2), was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus causes the disease called COVID-19. The World Health Organization says 1,500,000 people have been infected in over 204 countries.
The World Health Organization categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11. A few days later, the United States determined that the outbreak constituted a national emergency. It is critically important to keep yourself as healthy as possible, not just for yourself, but others around you as well. Inspirion Biosciences has an unmatched depth of expertise about biosafety and biosecurity. We are determined to provide credible information to staying healthy during this COVID-19 global pandemic.
How to Keep Yourself Healthy
There are many ways to keep yourself healthy during a pandemic. Along with disinfecting and decontaminating your home, you can also practice social distancing and washing your hands.
Know How to Properly Disinfect & Decontaminate Your Home
Proper disinfection and decontamination practices will keep your home free of germs. It starts with knowing what the most effective cleaner is out there. The most effective solution is making your own disinfecting solution with chlorine bleach (the best-known brand is Clorox).
To make an effective disinfectant solution, you will need to:
- Prepare a 1:10 dilution of household bleach (such as Clorox). To do this, you must first wear disposable gloves to protect your skin from exposure to the bleach, which can be harmful to you. While wearing gloves, carefully pour one part bleach into a container such as a spray bottle and add nine parts water. (For larger volumes, one and a half cups of bleach can be brought up to one gallon with additional water). Secure the top of the spray bottle and gently swirl to mix.
- Using soap and water, pre-clean the surface to be disinfected. (Cleaning is different from disinfection. Disinfectants won’t work effectively if the surface hasn’t first been cleaned).
- Apply the bleach solution to a rag or sponge (rather than spraying directly onto the surface to be disinfected). Wipe the surface and allow it to remain wet for 10 minutes. Because liquids evaporate, it will be necessary for your wet rag or sponge to revisit the surface more than once in order to keep the surface wet.
- Following disinfection, it is important to rinse the surface with fresh water and let it air dry. This is especially important for metallic surfaces because residual chlorine can cause damage over time if not rinsed.
You will want to focus on high-touch surfaces, such as handles of drawers and the refrigerator, doorknobs, toilet seats, and handles. The disinfectant properties of this solution degrade rather quickly so a fresh solution must be created each time you plan to disinfect; you can’t make a big batch and store it for later.
Other cleaning supplies may require more or less time to disinfect; if you choose another cleaner, carefully read the label to verify how long the disinfectant must remain wet on a surface in order to be effective. You may be surprised to learn that many require more than 10 minutes! When you read the label, don’t be confused. Sanitizing a surface (reducing the number of germs) takes less time (30-60 seconds) but it is NOT the same as disinfecting (killing the germs), which takes longer.
Practice Social Distancing
Social distancing is an action taken to stop or slow the spread of a highly contagious disease, such as COVID-19. Health officials suggest avoiding crowded, social spaces, such as bars, restaurants, sporting events, or any gathering where many people are close to each other. Health officials also advise leaving your home only to go to a grocery store or supermarket or a healthcare facility. Minimize in-person contact with people outside your immediate family, and keep a distance of about 6 feet from other people.
One of the main reasons for practicing social distancing is to slow down the spread of infection. Slowing the spread means fewer individuals get infected over time. This, in turn, ensures that healthcare officials have sufficient quantities of those precious resources necessary to treat those who have already contracted the disease.
Washing Your Hands
If you frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, you can significantly reduce the spread of viruses – whether that means you’ll avoid getting others sick or picking up someone else’s germs. It’s also advised to wash your hands after you leave a public place and if you have blown your nose, coughed, or sneezed. After washing, always use a clean towel or disposable paper. Remember to wash hand towels with bleach and warm water regularly to prevent the possibility of passing the virus to other users of the towel.
Compared to soap and water, hand sanitizers are relatively expensive and less effective. Hand sanitizers are NOT the preferred method for cleaning your hands.
Most commonly used hand sanitizers contain alcohol. Alcohol is effective against the virus that causes COVID 19. Unfortunately, as you rub your hands the alcohol tends to evaporate before it’s had enough time to destroy the virus. With repeated use, alcohol is drying to the hands and can actually cause chapping and/or breaks in the skin that can lead to infection.
Other chemicals like benzalkonium chloride are found in other hand sanitizers. Benzalkonium chloride is also effective against the virus that causes COVID 19. Unfortunately, these sanitizers are usually less common and more expensive than those that contain alcohol. Repeated use of this type of hand sanitizer allows the residual chemicals to build up on the hands to give you a longer more lasting benefit.
Remember, though, for cost and effectiveness nothing beats good old soap and water.
How Inspirion Biosciences is Helping
Inspirion Biosciences is helping during this global pandemic by suggesting to senior leaders and procurement officials of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority as well as the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that they use chlorine dioxide gas to sterilize passenger compartments of public transportation vehicles, such as subway cars and buses.
How Does Chlorine Dioxide Gas Sterilize?
Chlorine dioxide gas is registered as a sterilant with the U.S. EPA, meaning it can “eliminate or destroy” microbes such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Chlorine dioxide gas has specifically proven effective against coronaviruses. ALL disease-causing organisms tested to date have been killed by chlorine dioxide gas.
Benefits of utilizing pure chlorine dioxide gas include:
- At room temperature, chlorine dioxide gas is a pure gas (not a vapor) and, therefore, provides exceptional distribution and penetration.
- Chlorine dioxide gas can penetrate into cracks and crevices, meaning that disease-causing organisms lodged there will not survive.
- Chlorine dioxide gas molecules are smaller than microorganisms, so the gas will reach all the places microorganisms can reach.
- Chlorine dioxide gas is safe on electronics, stainless steel, galvanized metals, anodized aluminum, painted/coated metals, plastics, and epoxy paints/coatings.
- Chlorine dioxide gas leaves no residue – either wet or dry – on any surface following treatment.
- Chlorine dioxide is not classified as a carcinogen by any health agency.
- Chlorine dioxide has been used to disinfect domestic drinking water since 1912 and is currently used in food production and manufacturing processes.
Sterilizing the passenger compartment of public transport vehicles can significantly reduce the rate that COVID-19 is spreading, since they carry so many riders each day. Citizens all around the world are taking public hygiene seriously, such as being aware of the surfaces they touch and being conscientious about not touching their face. Awareness of public hygiene is essential during any pandemic.
Stay Healthy & Peace of Mind
Anxiety-driven behavior can lead individuals to overbuy food and cleaning items. Hoarding such things keeps others from being able to purchase them for their family. Keeping others’ needs in mind and not overbuying allows everyone to get what they need and prevent widespread fears of scarcity. Panic is unconstructive and never helpful to you, your family, or society – especially during a pandemic.
Staying updated with the news is critical, but it is even more critical to receive the factually correct information. Updates from the CDC and WHO about COVID-19 are your best avenues for information about the COVID-19 pandemic. These organizations offer critical information about symptoms, what to do if you think you have COVID-19, and more. Information released from these resources is the most accurate and reliable.
Stay healthy and learn how to manage your BioRisk by contacting Inspirion.