Protecting yourself

Steps you an take to protect yourself

COVID-19 is in the community. Given the nature of the disease there are no foolproof methods for protecting ourselves. The most we can do is reduce the chance of catching the virus in the public domain. These are some of the practical methods we can all take to protect ourselves from being infected with the virus. 

Using hand-sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers. The alcohol content must be at least 60% for the hand-sanitizer to be effective.

Washing hands

Wash your hands for 20 seconds, regularly (or as Boris Johnson recommends – 2 x Happy Birthday). Note that soap works ideally in combination with scrubbing and heat, but cold water works far better than nothing. You do not need antibacterial soap; the coronavirus is a virus, not a bacterium.

Shaking hands

The current outbreak of COVID-19 is already challenging the habit of shaking hands. For the duration of the outbreak it is strongly suggested to avoid shaking hands or engage in any other forms of social greetings like kissing etc.

Touching your face

Not touching our faces seems to be the most effective method of reducing the chances of catching the virus from surfaces. We touch our faces nearly a 100 times a day and it is an unconscious habits. It is not the kind of habit that we can easily change just by making a decision to do it. If we persevere we can probably begin to see some change after 2-3 weeks of being aware of it. An easier way to reduce touching ones face is to wear plastic gloves. This both reduces the chances of picking up the virus in public, and reduce face touching.  

Using bathrooms

Some people recommend not using the palms of your hands where using public facilities. It does seem reasonable that public handles would be a natural breeding ground for viruses. Try using elbows, the back of your hand, or paper, if you can, to avoid to much contact with handles.

Disinfecting common surfaces

You are much more likely to catch the virus from touching infected surfaces then through airborne contagion. The best way to avoid it is to clean surfaces in homes and offices, especially shared spaces, Countertops, remote controls, and refrigerator handles should be disinfected regularly.

Cleaning mobile phones

Phone screens may be the surface we touch the most. Coronaviruses are known to live on glass for up to four days. It is recommended to clean the phone at least once a day.

Wearing masks

The official advice is that masks should be worn by medical staff and people that have already been diagnosed with virus. There is a controversial element to this advice. Wearing a high quality filtered mask can reduce the probability of airborne infection by up to 5 times. The lack of available face mask does imply that it make more sense to reserve the supply to medical stuff and people that have the virus has the protection they provide to society in general in these circumstances is of a much higher value than “home use”.

NHS Self-isolation advice 14 days)


  • stay at home
  • separate yourself from other people – for example, try not to be in the same room as other people at the same time
  • only allow people who live with you to stay
  • stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you, such as getting groceries, medicines or other shopping
  • make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online
  • clean toilets and bathrooms regularly
  • think about a bathroom rota if a separate bathroom is not available, with the isolated person using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom themselves
  • use separate towels from anyone else in the household
  • wash crockery and utensils thoroughly with soap and water; dishwashers may be used to clean crockery and cutlery
  • stay away from your pets – if unavoidable, wash your hands before and after contact


  • do not invite visitors to your home or allow visitors to enter
  • do not go to work, school or public areas
  • do not use public transport like buses, trains, tubes or taxis
  • do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home

Living in shared accomodation during self-isolation

  • stay in your room with the door closed, only using communal kitchens, bathrooms and living areas when necessary
  • avoid using a shared kitchen while others are using it
  • take your meals back to your room to eat
  • use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery; if this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel

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