How to stay safe from COVID-19
Employees and visitors of Manila City Hall queue for a handheld thermal scanner conducted before entering the building as part of the city’s precautionary methods against COVID-19.
KrizJohn Rosales

How to stay safe from COVID-19

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2020 - 12:00am

These past few months, the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 has dominated the news not only in our country but all over the world. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome, which first emerged from Wuhan, China.

According to experts, the fatality rate is estimated between one and three percent. Experts also say that those affected may develop symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and dry cough, which may progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. Those at highest risk are the elderly and chronically ill.

While the government and the Department of Health, together with the media, have been continuously giving us updates, we all have to do our share by giving our full cooperation and following the basic medical guidelines to keep us and our loved ones safe from COVID-19. Fake news, unfounded rumors and unverified information put us all at risk. Please do not forward unverified news. We must all cooperate to make this work and stop the spread of  the disease.

Makati Medical Center Women’s Wellness Center head Dr. Gia Grace Sison.

The Makati Medical Center’s Women’s Wellness Center head Dr. Gia Grace Sison, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, specializes in Occupational Medicine that deals with workplace health issues and formulating policies for health in the workplace.  She is a mother of two and is married to Dr. Rogin Sison, who heads the Emergency Department of FEU-NRMF.

This week, Dr. Gia shares with us some basic medical-based advice in order to keep us safe from the virus.

1. Make sure you get your facts only on verified and reliable sources. We have to be vigilant with the misinformation that is circulating on social media. We should keep ourselves updated about the status of COVID-19 around the world.

2. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them very well after. Thoroughly means even the in-betweens of your fingers should be washed. This way we can fight off the virus. Wash long enough such as singing the refrain of the song I Will Survive.

3. When soap or water is not available, wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and/or 70-percent isopropyl alcohol. This is applicable after touching surfaces, money or doorknobs.

4. Avoid touching your face since this area is highly sensitive in terms of infection. Once you have the virus, it has quick access to your body’s mucosa.

5. Remember: COVID-19 is not airborne but may be transmitted via direct contact. It means that the virus may be transmitted when you are one meter apart from an individual with COVID-19.

6. Practice proper coughing and sneezing hygiene. You may cough or sneeze in between the inner part of your elbows. This way, there are fewer chances of transmitting the virus through your hands.

Doctors Rogin and Gia Sison with their daughters Sasa and Angela.

7. If you have cough and/or colds, wear a surgical mask. Make sure to wear the mask’s colored portion outside. Or if you are sick, it’s better to just stay home.

8. Avoid crowded places and practice  social distancing. Based on the definition of how many people should be there to consider it a crowded gathering, the Department of Health says it should be more than 20 people.

9. Avoid unnecessary travel to areas with known cases.

10. It is also prudent to cough using tissue paper. Please properly dispose of this in designated trash bins after use.

11. It is also prudent to bring your own utensils when dining out. Although our restaurants maintain good sanitation, for your own peace of mind, please do so.

12. Take extra care when touching doorknobs, too. Better use tissue paper and throw it away immediately after use.

13. Refrain from shaking hands and kissing for now since the transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets and direct contact transmission.

14. Refrain from using testers for makeup and personal care products for now. If you absolutely must, request for a sample packet and properly dispose of it after.

15. Lastly, DO NOT PANIC. I know it is difficult but we need to realize that we in the healthcare industry are working double time to contain the virus. Panicking is never helpful.

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