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Last updated: May 8, 2020 • Lifestyle

An Unwelcome Guest: Keeping COVID-19 Out of Your Home

Unless your primary residence happens to be under a rock, chances are you have heard of the COVID-19 or “Coronavirus”. This mysterious, much discussed but only partially understood virus has been the talk of TV news segments, periodicals and social media since it’s inception. While many didn’t take the virus seriously in its early days, as the virus continues to spread and the death toll mounts, people are paying more attention.

10 COVID-19 Home Safety Tips

washing hands with soap

The good news about the virus, if there is any, is that it is preventable. While we’re still learning about the virus, it has yet to be confirmed if it’s airborne or not, so by following the appropriate safety precautions, you can significantly reduce the chances of infection, or eliminate them entirely. Let’s look at a few of the advised safety measures.

1.  Wash your hands. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it is one of the most crucial steps in preventing the spread of the virus. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water. Scrub vigorously, and if using the sink in a public restroom, turn the faucet off with your elbow if possible. As soon as you step through the door of your home and take your shoes off (which you should always do, incidentally), go to the washroom and wash your hands. 

2. Avoid touching your face. The virus spreads through water droplets ejected by infected individuals, and you never know whether or not the surfaces your hands touched were contaminated with these droplets.

3.  Carry hand sanitizer. Carry hand sanitizer with you, and sanitize before and after touching any common surfaces. Hand sanitizer is extremely effective at killing all types of viruses, and the COVID-19 virus is no exception.

4. Replace the air filters in your home. While this is not the most crucial safety tip, if you are serious about keeping your home virus free, you may want to replace the air filters in your home with special anti-infection units.

5. Self-Isolate. Whether your area has issued a mandatory lockdown or not, self isolation is key to limiting the spread of the virus. Avoid contact with others as much as possible, and always maintain a 6ft distance when you are in the same area as others.

6. Don’t. Panic. At the moment, people across the country are rushing to supermarkets, buying up huge supplies of non-perishables that they do not need. This is hugely detrimental to society as a whole. When individuals buy huge quantities of a product they don’t need, it creates a false demand for that product, driving the price up, while making that product unavailable to those who truly need it. Stay calm, buy only what you need.

7. Sanitize Everything. In the midst of this type of pandemic, eliminating as many possible modes of transmission for the virus as possible. Doorknobs? Sanitize them. Entryway shoe rack? Sanitize it. Use disinfectant liberally, and make sure you’ve hit every surface. It may not seem crucial, but with the lack of information about the virus, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

8. As much as possible, conduct business dealings from home. In the information age, we are lucky enough to be able to conduct a great deal of business over the internet, with video-calling, email and text messaging, many meetings do not need to be held in person. Apply this social distancing technique to the home buying/selling process, if you are in the midst of it, or any other business you may need to conduct.

9. Keep your house as clean as possible. When there is a pandemic in action, another great step to take is to make sure your house is as clean and well organized as possible. Messy, disorganized spaces are havens for viruses and bacteria, and a well organized house is far easier to disinfect than one that isn’t. 
10. Postpone all non-essential in-home appointments. The key to effective social distancing is coming in contact with as few people as possible. This means indefinitely postponing appointments with anyone whose presence is not absolutely crucial to your home life. Whether they be plumbers, cleaning staff, hairdressers or yoga instructors, give them a call and cancel your next appointment.

Where did the virus come from?

covid 19 sars

The first case of the virus was reported in China’s Hubei province, in the city of Wuhan. Almost immediately, Chinese authorities were on the scene. To spread awareness, and prevent the virus from spreading? Far from it! The Chinese government’s first response was an attempt to cover up the deadly virus, forbidding its citizens to share information about the virus, and doing all in their power to make sure the word did not get out. 

However, it wasn’t long before the virus had spread from China and shown up in places across the globe. Due to China’s failure to recognize the virus and take action against it, travelers from infected areas spread the infection far and wide, unbeknownst to the host countries. Before long, people became infected at increasingly alarming rates, and the medical systems of affected countries began to feel the strain presented by the beginning of the pandemic. 

Now, just a couple short months later, we’re beginning to see the full effects of the virus. In Italy, tens of thousands of cases have been confirmed, and several thousand more have died. In the United States, the number of infected has risen to over 10,000, and the number of deaths has reached the hundreds.

COVID-19: what you need to know

coronavirus infographics

In the past few months since COVID-19 emerged, a global conversation has begun on every level of society from the scientific community to your mom’s Facebook feed.

This discussion is sometimes civil and productive, and sometimes it’s chaotic and harmful. In this swirl of information and misinformation, it may be difficult to form a clear picture of what exactly is happening. 

For those in this predicament, we’ve put together this handy breakdown of what exactly the COVID-19 virus is, how it affects its victims, and what you can do to avoid contracting it. Additionally, we’ll give you some tips on keeping your home COVID-19 free, so you and your loved ones can stay safe. Let’s begin!

How does COVID-19 spread?

corona facts words

If you have used social media or engaged in conversation about the virus, chances are you’ve heard it being compared to the common flu. While similar in that they are both viruses, the two are wildly different in a number of key respects that we’ll go into more detail on a bit later. Put simply, the COVID-19 virus is far more dangerous than the flu for a multiplicity of different reasons, and comparing the two only serves to minimize the danger posed by COVID-19. 

So what is COVID-19, and why is it so much more dangerous than the flu? COVID-19 is a virus. Viruses, unlike the bacteria responsible for many common infections, are not single-cell life forms. Instead, viruses are little more than microscopic packets of DNA, that rely on the cells of the host organism to reproduce. 

The primary means of transmission for COVID-19 is water droplets from infected individuals, spread either through coughing, sneezing or respiration. While there have been reports that the virus can survive on surfaces, whether or not this is true, and if so, for how long it can survive, is unknown. Some studies have suggested that the virus can survive up to five days on certain surfaces, so it’s imperative that you take precautions such as those listed above to prevent this happening in your home.

How does COVID-19 affect your body?

coronavirus fact analysis

Once the virus has entered your body, it takes up residence in your lungs, and begins to attack the cells in the lining of your respiratory organs. Rather than attempting to kill these cells outright, the virus hijacks them, forcing them to produce copies of the virus until their resources are depleted and they cease to exist. 

By this time, the cell has produced hundreds or thousands of copies of the virus, which then attack neighboring cells, repeating the process until there are millions of copies of the virus infecting your body. 

Once the virus has propagated throughout your lungs, it begins to attack the antibodies sent by your immune system. Hijacking the immune cells sent to fight it, the virus uses your own immune system against you, damaging nearby cells using the reactions usually used to fight infections.  

After some time, the immune system is usually able to regain control, and your body begins killing the infected cells. However, for some, such as the elderly, those with respiratory conditions or those with autoimmune disease, the virus can have a much more significant impact. Those who fall into these categories can suffer severe, lifelong repercussions or even death if they are not able to receive the care needed to counteract the virus and its effects.

Why is COVID-19 so dangerous?

infected pacient in quarantine

So if the virus is largely only threatening to those in the aforementioned groups, why does it pose such a menacing threat? After all, there are many diseases that are dangerous to those who fall into these categories. 

Well, the first and most pressing reason the virus is so dangerous is the lack of a viable vaccine. With the closest projected date for a ready-for-market vaccine almost a year away, the lack of a vaccine makes the possibility of an out of control pandemic all the more likely.

In such a scenario, diseases that are not generally deadly for the majority of the population can become far more lethal. Due to the nature of the virus (respiratory) many patients require respirators to breathe during the infection. As the number of patients increases, available respirators become more and more scarce, drastically increasing the mortality rate.

Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of infection and limit the spread of the virus. By taking the proper precautions, you can help ensure the safety of you, your loved ones, and society as a whole. 

Conclusion 

This pandemic is rightly frightening. If measures are not taken to limit its spread, it will have devastating consequences. However, by acting responsibly and making informed decisions, there is a good chance that this event will go down as little more than a footnote in history, rather than a devastating chapter.

The uncertainty associated with possibly losing one’s source of income due to the pandemic can be frightening, but thankfully there are numerous online tools and resources available that can help you do things like sell a home during the pandemic. These tools may not always suffice, but they’re a great way to make sure you don’t go jobless.

If you found this article helpful, or would like to leave an insight or a question, please get in touch with us using the comments below. Stay safe, and stay healthy!

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