Coronavirus prevention is the number #1 topic in the world wide news media. Updates regarding this lethal virus come to us several times a day from all of the other world. At this time, thousands have the virus and over two thousand people have died.
Currently, there is no vaccine to fight the coronavirus, and best estimates are that a vaccine is at least one year away.
So, what can people do to protect themselves? Well, according to the Harvard Medical Center, washing your hands constantly is always the first-line defense measure to control infection rates..
Coronavirus Prevention: Hand Washing Is Effective
In their guidelines on coronavirus prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water.
Still, people continue to express doubt that something as simple as basic personal hygiene could have any effect in the context of an epidemic.
Indeed, at MIT, researchers showed that washing the hands can be very effective in slowing down the spread of infectious disease.
The study, which appears in the journal Risk Analysis, used epidemiological modeling and data-based simulations to determine if personal hygiene can affect the rate of disease transmission.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that best practices for hand washing include applying soap and scrubbing the palms, the back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the fingernails.
Furthermore, says the CDC, a person should scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing the soap and drying the hands with a clean towel. However, they found that many people don’t use soap and spend less than 15 seconds washing their hands. Not good, not effective.
Their data show serious contagion patterns across 120 airports world-wide.
For example, airports in Tokyo, Japan, and Honolulu, Hawaii, are key players in the spread of disease, since they offer direct connections to the world’s largest airports.
These airports are also transit points between a number of countries in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
Taken together, these factors make such airports key players in the spread of contagious diseases.
If more people washed their hands frequently and correctly, it would slow down the spread of diseases.
For example, if 60% of air travelers maintained clean hands, it could cut down infections by almost 70%. Right now, only 20% of air travelers wash their hands after using the restroom.
Hygiene Campaigns Can Help
Implementing hygiene campaigns world-wide can help reduce transmission of disease in a big way. To start, says the CDC, identify the 10 most important airports that are close to the source of an outbreak. Then,implement an educational hand washing campaign in each of those airports.
This approach can help slow down the spread of infection by around 37%, the researchers suggest.
Another effective method is to clean and disinfect surfaces in airports more frequently, especially at the larger airports.
The researchers believe promoting hand washing in airports, can help keep any infection within a confined geographical area. And, preventing the spread of the infection is a key factor from it becoming an epidemic.
Correct hand hygiene is a simple and effective solution for preventing transmission of infections.