6 Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself From Viruses

The new Coronavirus is of great concern to many. Protect yourself from getting infected by taking some simple but proven tricks. Here we give you 6 tips to avoid getting sick.

Viruses are the smallest biological particles that cause disease, they are about a thousand times smaller than a bacterium. Viruses cause many diseases, such as colds and flu.

There are many different types of viruses and most of them specialize in infecting only one specific species, for example human. Viruses are different from bacteria, parasites, yeast and mold fungi in that they cannot reproduce themselves. Instead, they depend on infecting living cells for their survival.

This means that viruses cannot reproduce in food and water either, but are only passive passengers until they reach their target cell inside their host, for example, a gut cell. There, they can infect their host cell and cause disease.

New Coronavirus concerns many

It is no wonder that many have recently begun to think about protecting themselves better against viruses. Right now there is a large spread of the coronavirus named 2019-nCoV around the world. Nearly 3,000 are infected by the virus at the time of writing and over 80 people have died as a result of the infection. Cold symptoms, cough, sore throat and fever are typical symptoms of coronavirus, but even more serious pneumonia is possible.

According to the recommendations of the Public Health Authority, a general preventative measure is to avoid touching the face or eyes and to avoid contact with sick people. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and eyes, and avoid close contact with sick people. If you are in China, avoid markets with live animals.

For all types of viruses, there are steps to be taken to reduce the risk of getting infected. Here are six things you can do to avoid infection:

1. Wash your hands properly

The most important thing to keep in mind to protect yourself from infection is to wash your hands properly. Wash your hands with liquid soap frequently and carefully, especially before eating, before touching your eyes and mouth and after greeting someone who can carry the infection. Use plenty of soap, thoroughly wash your entire hands including tops and thumbs. Use a clean towel or dry thoroughly with paper.

2. Use hand sanitizer

Use hand sanitizer as a complement to your hand wash, especially when you lack access to soap and water.

3. Be careful

You should very much avoid close contact with infected persons. The infection spreads more easily indoors, so to reduce the risk of being infected yourself, for example, you can often blow windows and doors, or be outdoors as much as possible and try not to be indoors where there are a lot of people gathering.

4. Boost the immune system

The immune system, which fights the infections we suffer from, is weakened when, for example, we are tired. By eating good food, sleeping properly, moving on yourself and avoiding stress and alcohol, you help your body stay strong, healthy and fight off viral infections.

5. Vaccine yourself

If you are already suffering from another disease that makes you extra susceptible to viruses, you can vaccinate yourself against some infectious diseases, such as the flu. Antibiotics do not help against viruses, but there are vaccines against many virus types, but so far there are no vaccines against some serious types, such as HIV. For some viruses, such as influenza, herpes, and HIV, there are medications that have a slowing effect on the virus proliferation.

6. Be careful about the food

Viruses can contaminate all kinds of foods and there are many different sources of infection. A common route of infection is that food is contaminated with viruses when infected people handle it, so you should not allow an infected family member to cook the food you should eat.

In rare cases, some viruses can also infect animals and humans, such as hepatitis E. This virus can be found in pork and wild boar meat. Examples of foods that may pose a particular risk of being contaminated with viruses are edible foods that have been handled during preparation or after heat treatment such as pastry and picking foods. Raw oysters and frozen foreign raspberries can also pose a risk.

Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of spreading viruses through food, it is important to wash your hands before cooking. Symptom-free people can also transmit the virus long after the symptoms have cleared.

So you avoid infecting others

If you are infected, make sure you think about your fellow humans and reduce the risk of passing the infection on. Keep in mind that a virus can have serious consequences for a person who is already affected by another disease or for an elderly person with a poor immune system. You should keep this in mind if you start to get symptoms:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, if you cough or sneeze.
  • Cough or sneeze in the arm fold or in a paper handkerchief.
  • Throw the paper handkerchief in the trash immediately.
  • If other people live in your home, avoid being close to them.
  • Stay home from school or work.
  • Do not visit, for example, shops, cinemas, libraries and other places where there are many people.
  • Stay at home for at least another day when you have become fever-free.

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