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Novel Coronavirus - Resources for preventing spread of this highly infectious disease

24th February 2020

This article was first published Feb 24th 2020 in response to lack of meaningful instruction to the public from the Irish Health Service with regards to preventing the spread of novel Coronavirus. As cases of the virus started to rise in mainland Europe and people were returning to Ireland from Italy, the H.S.E. finally issued more detailed instructions to the public with regards to COVID-19 testing, quarantine and travel.

In February 2020, with the threat of a new form of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s capacity to rapidly spread across continents, causing serious harm, I was struck by the relative absence of this topic from conversations in my social networks.

"Were people being superstitious, wise or complacent?"

In Ireland, we’ve been relatively lucky in the past with regards to outbreaks of new viruses so it would have been easy to adopt a complacent attitude towards the announcement of deadly flu virus. Looking at the Irish Annual Notifiable Disease record it's clear that even the number of case's of general influenza is on the rise each year, with a threefold number of case's recorded in 2018.  

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus
COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

In my work as a well-being coach my philosophy is this:

The best way to prevent or reduce risk of illness from any kind of flu virus is to be informed, be prepared and to act mindfully.

Bear in mind that COVID-19 is a new virus, scientists are still working to understand how it is being transferred. There were some anecdotal cases of asymptomatic transfer of the disease but as of 24th February there was not enough evidence to support this method of transfer.  The Health Protection Surveillance centre have since stated that people can transfer the virus when symptomatic and asymptomatic.

The information provided in this article has been collated from trusted government sources, media and scientific research so that you may make the best decisions to safeguard your health and that of your community.

Within 18 days of publishing this article the Irish Government announced the closure of schools and colleges and shortly afterwards our country went into lockdown to protect the health of our communities. This was the scenario worldwide and thankfully, months later we are much better informed about COVID-19 prevention measures. It has been a challenging time for us all, many lives lost, many businesses and jobs affected and many who have been shaken by the illness and the changes to our society. But we can learn from this and we can recover and become more resilient with knowledge and resolve.

BE INFORMED

What is Coronavirus / COVID-19?

COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) is a respiratory illness that has not been previously seen in humans. Coronaviruses originate in animals and can be transferred to humans. Covid-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. The virus quickly spread to other Chinese provinces and other countries, including Japan, Thailand, parts of Europe and the United States.

On January 30th 2020 the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) announced that the COVID-19 is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

"The W.H.O. is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge, to track the spread and virulence of this new virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent further spread and outbreak."

There is still much to be understood about the origins of COVID-19, it’s severity and how it is being transferred between humans. Knowledge of the virus may change and that is why it is important to keep up to date. WHO provides daily updates on COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19 Coronavirus

Common symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) may include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever
  • A high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or higher)

Symptoms of a more severe infection may include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure
  • Death

How is Covid-19 (Coronavirus) transmitted?

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is spread in the same way as other cold and flu viruses i.e. through infected droplets of an infected person who you have come in contact with. The infected droplets can be spread through sneezing, coughing and speaking. You could also get infected if you touch surfaces that have droplets of the virus on them and afterwards touch your nose, mouth and eyes.

Currently the CDC (Centres for Disease Control) says that COVID-19 is transmitted between humans, by people who have symptoms of the illness. Much still has to be learned about the incubation period and whether the illness can be transferred by infected people who show no symptoms. Until more is known about the transfer of the disease it is wise to be vigilant and take extra precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

BE PREAPRED

Every home should have a well-stocked health and safety cabinet. Considering the rate at which COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading across continents it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of any outbreak in your area. Consider adding good quality protective face masks  to your health and safety cabinet for use in situations where extra protection may be necessary.

I have no affiliation with these products they are only suggestions to get you started on your search.

Protection for Mouth, Nose and Eyes

Get yourself a supply of face mask which cover your nose and mouth. Paper varieties are not as effective due to the fact that they absorb moisture, whereas FFP3 grade face-masks are more robust and have a respiratory valve which makes breathing more comfortable.

The H.S.E. originally stated that face masks (type unspecified) are only useful for preventing infected people from spreading the virus, however there are actually a number of H.S.E. reports with regards to the prevention of other respiratory infections such as tuberculosis in which the wearing of FFP3 standard masks have been recommended to be worn by carers/health-workers treating infected people.

Masks are only effective if the wearer has been trained in their correct use, for example, handling the surface of the mask without proper hand hygiene, could give rise to infection if the outside of the mask had become contaminated. Furthermore a person with known symptoms of COVID-19 should be following the advice of their doctor and be isolating from others for 14 days. The wearing of facemasks is more useful for preventing transfer of the disease by people who are asymptomatic.

Ireland was in flu season (October to March) when COVID-19 arrived on our shores and many people would have had symptoms similar to Coronavirus. Unless people knew they had come in contact with a person infected with Coronavirus they may not have contacted their G.P. See Ireland's H.S.E. advice on when to get tested for COVID-19.

Consider also protection for your eyes and choose eye goggles that provide good cover and visibility.

Anti-Microbial Hand Gel

Alcohol-based anti-microbial hand gels are suited to on-the-go use. The most effective versions have alcohol content between 70-95%. Take care with these solutions as they are flammable. Also they may cause harm if accidently ingested so keep out of reach of children and avoid contact with the eyes also.

Alcohol- based anti-microbial hand gels are available in most supermarkets, pharmacies and health stores.

Tissues

Make sure you have a good supply of tissues for everyday use. If you feel the need to cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the bin and immediately wash your hands or use sanitizing gel. Alternatively, sneeze into your elbow, remembering that you need to be mindful of surfaces (including your clothing) that you have potential to contaminate if you are infected but not showing symptoms.

ACT MINDFULLY

How to protect yourself from Covid-19 Coronavirus

Prior to first publication of this article, the guidelines to the Irish public for reducing the spread Coronavirus were much the same as the guidelines for prevention of common cold and flu infections, with the addition of some precaustions regarding travel. Since then the H.S.E. have provided additonal advice on reporting Coronavirus, quarantine and travel.

Stepping up your hygiene practice will help to reduce risk of contracting and spreading these viruses now and in the longer-term.

  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water and use anti-microbial hand gel for on-the-go use. Follow the World Health Guidelines for safe washing of hands.
  • Disinfect devices you regularly handle such as mobile phones and keyboards and clean your hands after touching door handles and other common-use surfaces. Wash or disinfect hands after handling money and use cashless payment options where possible.
  • If you cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with tissue, throw the tissue in a bin and immediately wash your hands. If you are without a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow and change your clothing as soon as you return home, putting used clothing in the laundry.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is has symptoms of coughing, sneezing or fever.
  • If you have flu symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing, phone your GP (do not visit the GP surgery) and follow their instructions.

Make your wellness a priority with my more comprehensive check list for preventing illness from cold and flu:

Keep up to date with the latest information on COVID-19 Coronavirus.

Article authored by Caroline Cunningham with reference links provided to credible sources and research studies.

Caroline Cunningham

Transforming your life is possible at any age, my own journey is a testimony to that. I believe authenticity and wellness are intrinsic to success in all areas of life. It takes courage and passion and they are within you, waiting to for the spark to set them alive. When you read my posts I hope you will get sense of my capacity to help you to succeed with your dreams and goals. Check out my books, online courses and personal wellness programmes designed to guide you towards the most powerful authentic version of yourself. Learn more about my journey here.

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    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

    More Aware of Signs of Stress & Anxiety

    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

    Authentic Path Inspiration

    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

    A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

    Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen,
    We Are Holistic, Ireland

  • Opening Up to Life’s Wider Possibilities

    I recommend Caroline for her creativity and ability to open one up to wider possibilities in life.

    Mairin O’Rourke, Co. Wicklow

    Importance of Time for Self Care

    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

    Mag, Co. Carlow

    Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

  • I Discovered My Passion

    I was stressed with a lot going on in my life. I needed to find space to clear my mind. Caroline helped me to relax. Then, by asking me a few relevant questions I got an ‘aha moment’. I left with an idea for starting a new business doing something I really care about. I discovered my passion and left feeling energised.

    M. Ryan, Canada

  • More Aware of Signs of Stress & Anxiety

    The biggest benefit of the coaching programme was having someone to listen to me, who ‘gets’ what’s going on with me. Caroline helped me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I’m more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress now and am able to do things that reduce their effects.

    Sarah-Jane, Carlow, Ireland

  • Authentic Path Inspiration

    I recommend Caroline Cunningham to anyone seeking the path of authenticity, whatever way that manifests itself. I’ve heard nothing but exceptional reviews of her reflexology therapy, as a seeker of the light myself, I find Caroline very inspiring.

    Rachel Nolan, Yogiberry, Carlow

  • So Inspiring

    Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.Caroline's passion and creativity in everything she does is so inspiring. Her enthusiasm will certainly guide you to success.

    Kerry Manning Author

  • A Fresh New Perspective

    Caroline's Seven C’s to Calm offers a fresh, new perspective on how we view our anxiety with a workbook to help track, monitor and record your progress. A simple and effective approach in helping you in reclaiming your anxiety-free self!

    Krystal Long, Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator, Ireland

  • Invites Peace & Tranquility

    Caroline poems are soothing and inspiring. Her words have the power to captivate and charm the soul. Connecting with Nature is a very effective way to reduce symptoms of stress, because it slows down the mind and helps the body to relax. Reading poetry is an instant way of inviting peace and tranquillity into your life. Caroline combines both in ‘The Whisperings of Nature’.

    Gloria Mc Breen, We Are Holistic, Ireland

  • Opening Up to Life’s Wider Possibilities

    I recommend Caroline for her creativity and ability to open one up to wider possibilities in life.

    Mairin O’Rourke, Co. Wicklow

  • Importance of Time for Self Care

    Caroline’s four week well-being workshop opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of having time for myself. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself.

    Mag, Co. Carlow

  • Learning to Relax & Listen

    I really enjoyed the workshops and would like to continue. I learned how to relax more and to listen better and I made new friends. I highly recommend Caroline as a facilitator.

    Katrena Blake, Hacketstown, Carlow

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