Social Distancing, the why and the how?

It’s important at a time like this to understand the dos and don’t of lockdown so that we not only help ourselves but help others stay healthy too. We have compiled all the information you need in regard to personal protective equipment, social distancing and general wellbeing.

Protecting yourself and others

Social Distancing

For weeks now we have all been made aware of the social distancing rules. The recommendation is to stay 2 metres or 6ft away from people who are not in your household to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. That may look like waving at your postman 2metres down the garden path or leaving a 6ft radius around you and others in the local shop.

The UK governments campaign for #stayhome has been very successful in keeping us put. The only allowances for leaving your home is for food, essentials, health reasons, for your one form of exercise, or to work. Although it is difficult and we are missing our loved ones we must avoid meeting with them face to face.

Image source: https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/

Washing your Hands

In the UK we are recommended to wash our hands after every trip outside the house. According to the NHS, washing your hands is the easiest way to reduce the spread of disease from yourself to others. The correct way to wash your hands is for ~20 seconds. To do so, you might like to try singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. You are recommended to wet your hands and use soap liberally. Be sure to rub the soap into all areas of the hands, palms, backs, between the fingers, the thumb and under the nails. Rinse your hands and thoroughly dry.

You are recommended to wash your hands after every outing, or if you happen to cough or sneeze on your hands.

Hand Sanitiser

You may remember at the start of the outbreak the sanitiser shelves were bare and barren. So much so, that when the stores were restocked we were now limited to 2 bottles/household. Why has this product been so popular and do they really work?

There are 2 types of sanitiser, alcohol and alcohol-free. Alcohol-based sanitisers are most effective in destroying the majority of germs when compared to an alcohol-free sanitiser. That being said, soap, water and a correct handwashing technique are the most effective in removing bacteria and viruses such as MRSA, E Coli, rhinovirus, hepatitis A virus and HIV. Alcohol works by breaking down the outer protein portion of the virus. This outer envelope is needed for survival and multiplication. Studies have shown that sanitisers under 60% alcohol are less effective in removing these germs. The conclusion is that the best way to prevent the disease from spreading is by washing your hands with soap and water, but hand sanitiser is very helpful in situations when water and soap are not available.

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Face Mask

Our understanding of the disease is that it is spread via small droplets in the air that come from the nose and mouth of those infected. These can be inhaled by uninfected people and cause the disease to develop. In addition, these droplets can fall on surfaces which when touched can be picked up on people’s hands or clothing. It has been suggested that one of the forms of spreading the infection is from people touching their faces. Studies show that people touch their face 23 times/hour. It is thought that face masks can reduce the tendency to touch the face as well as inhalation of micro-droplets.

You need to wear a mask if you are in an enclosed space with other members of the public. Such as on public transport or within a shop.  

 

Here is the advice on how to correctly wear and dispose of a face mask:

●  Thoroughly clean hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitiser before putting on your mask.

●  The mask should cover the nose and mouth. Ensure that there are no gaps between your face and the mask.

●  Avoid touching your mask whilst in use.

●  Masks are only effective when used in combination with correct hand washing techniques.

●  Correctly dispose of the mask by removing it from behind the ears, being mindful not to touch the front of the mask. Then discard of the mask in a closed bin

●  Once the mask has been discarded, thoroughly clean your hands with soap and hot water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.

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Gloves

According to the WHO, the virus is spread via airborne microdroplets that are very dense. Due to their high density, they don’t stay airborne for long and typically fall to the ground quickly after release. That being said it can fall, on surfaces frequently touched by humans. The WHO states that ‘studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard’.

Public health England (PHE) has recommended that the general public not wear gloves during all their outings outside of the house for fear they may actually be contributing to the spread of disease rather than preventing it. An article from the Independent featured a Virologist for Imperial College London who stated that ‘items like gloves give a “false sense of security” and washing hands is a far better precautionary measure.’

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Take care of your wellbeing in lockdown

Here are a few ideas you could try to take care of your physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown:

●  Organise video or phone calls with your friends and family

●  Look online for local companies selling essential boxes for fruits, vegetables, milk, bread, eggs and meat.

●  Take up a hobby - reading, painting, knitting, or learning a new language.

●  Focus on relaxation and stress-relieving activities.

●  Purchase protective equipment from reliable resources.

●  Take care of your wellbeing - exercise, eat nutritious food and be mindful of your overall wellbeing.

●  Try to stick to a routine, including a normal bedtime, meal times and planned activities

●  If you can walk outside, enjoy some time in your garden or in the local area.

 

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From all of us at Vytaliving, we hope you stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.


References

●  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away -from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

●  https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

●  https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-not-all-hand-sanitisers-work-against-it-heres-what-you-should-use-133277

●  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/28/hand-sanitiser-or-hand-washing-which-more-effective-against-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-acoronaviruses#:~:text=People%20can%20catch%20COVID%2D,person%20who%20is%20sick.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-do-gloves-work- stop-virus-spread-symptoms-outbreak-a9362871.html

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