The Covid-19 threat and how to keep our immune system in top form

As the coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the country, basic hygiene and reducing our time in large public spaces can reduce our risk of catching the virus.

While the Health Service Executive (HSE) is continuously advising us that our risk of contracting the virus is low and we need not worry, we may be more susceptible to picking it up than we know.

As more cases become known in different locations in the country, we all run a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Public Health Matters reported that the virus can be spread by spending time in the company of someone with the virus for 15 minutes or more. 

Multiple cases have become known where transmission of the virus has occurred by members of the public who have travelled by public transport and that have been out in public spaces.

Keeping this in mind, as scary as it seems, we may all be at a huge risk. But this shouldn’t cause huge worry or anxiety, as there are ways to prevent contracting the virus.

Wearing masks is a popular method of reducing risk of catching the virus, however, unless you have symptoms of the virus, wearing a mask might be more pointless than helpful. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that if you are healthy, you don’t need to wear a mask. 

“You only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with a suspected Covid-19 infection,” they said.

Additionally, they stated that unless masks are used in combination with frequent hand-washing with alcohol-based soaps or sanitisers, they are not effective.

However, if you are suffering with a cough or frequent sneezing, they said that masks should be worn to stop the spread of flu and infection. Masks must be worn properly in order to be effective. More information regarding properly wearing masks can be found on the WHO website.

Groups who are at higher risk of contracting the virus are those with weaker immune systems. Older people and infants should be far more careful as should those suffering with illnesses and particularly with respiratory illnesses.

The HSE stated that over 60s are at a high risk and people who have long-term medical conditions.

Those suffering from “heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure, for example,” are at a higher risk and should “take extra care.”

As well as these groups, pregnant women are also recommended in taking extra precautions.

Minimising touching your face is being highly advised to reduce the spread of germs to the public. Disinfecting surfaces and reducing contact with people who show symptoms is also being suggested.

Caution should be aired more with basic hygiene now than ever when we go out into the public realm in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

While we shouldn’t allow the spread of the virus to withhold us from living our everyday lives, we need to be aware of the presence of the virus in the country and take measures to prevent contracting it.

Author: Rachel Power

Image credit: Mohamen Hassan