While many of us have watched the rise and fall (and possible second wave rise) of COVID-19 infections, we may have become a little too comfortable and neglected some of the vital precautions needed to lower our risk of infection.
Riani Retief, a Mediclinic Clinical Quality Specialist in ICU and Emergency Centres, explains the current concern around the virus, “While many at home have grown tired of the virus, the reality is that we will have this risk with us for quite some time. We need to be conscious of this and protect ourselves and those around us, as best we can.”
She gives some important advice on the precautions we need in place. “It is not enough to perform some of the preventative habits such as wearing a mask or socially distancing. It is important to perform them all. This means hand hygiene, cleaning your environment correctly, ensuring there is good ventilation, adhering to screening at entrances of public areas as well as practicing good cough and sneeze etiquette. And importantly, limit contact with people outside your social bubble and stay at home if you are not feeling well!”
These elements have always been viewed as a bundle within the hospital environment, but the public have not always considered them as an integral unit of measures.
She continues, “Our risk is minimised when we remove the potential for transmission. This means avoiding crowded places and being responsible about our own behaviour. We know that it is not just about someone coughing or sneezing because the virus can survive for a long period of time on different surfaces.”
We also understand that the virus can be transmitted through touch – this is why physical distancing and eliminating touch greetings is important. By accepting that our behaviour is not just protecting ourselves, but those around us, most especially the most vulnerable, each of the actions listed above becomes an important part in the ‘prevention bundle’.
“Mediclinic would like to encourage our communities to work together to collectively reduce our risk. By adhering to all the elements of the bundle, we are supporting and protecting each other,” explains Retief.