Understanding the virus
When I hear someone say Covid-19, Coronavirus, The Big Rona or scientifically put SARS-CoV-2, we all immediately know what they are referring to and get hot flushes just thinking about it. Do we really know what this Virus is and how the virus works?
Let us get back to basics.
We have compiled a few facts about how this Virus works, how it reacts, and why it is so important to keep washing those hands.
What is Covid 19 virus?
This virus is a protein molecule or simply an RNA or DNA covered by a protective layer of fatty acids which, when absorbed by the cells of the eyes, nose, or mouth, changes its genetic code, and starts to attack and multiple its cells.
Viruses cannot grow or reproduce, but they can manufacture copies of themselves by stealing protein mass and other nutrients from host cells.
Since a virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule, it cannot be killed. A virus must decompose on its own and this will depend on the temperature, humidity, and type of surface it is clinging to.
Now that we know, what do we do?
Coronaviruses are quite fragile and the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat. The best defense to break this layer of fat is with soap or detergent.
The foam created by soap and detergent penetrates the fat. The more foam the better, opt for 20 seconds or more while washing your hands.
70% ethyl alcohol or hand sanitizer will dissolve the outer layer of fat and ensure to rub the sanitizer between your fingers and not just on your palms.
Remember to moisturize your hands after washing as dry and cracked hands could be a breeding ground for molecules to hide. Also, try keeping your nails short as the virus could be hiding underneath.
Keeping your physical distance is key, 2 meters will do. This one of the best methods to keep yourself safe.
Rather open windows and doors for proper ventilation as the virus will stay stable and more infectious in colder temperatures. Where possible, switch off air conditioning units. The Virus also seems more drawn to moisture and darkness to stay stable. A dehumidified, dry, warm, and bright environment will breakdown the virus faster.
There is no need to wear gloves as the virus can easily be gathered through the gloves and transmit if you touch your face.
There is a lot of bad advice out there, and so naturally we had to do some myth-busting. Below are a few false statements that are not helpful in the combat against Coronavirus.
- “I can drink alcohol to fight the virus from the inside” – Drinking alcohol does not prevent nor does it protect you against the coronavirus. In fact, excessive and/or frequent drinking weakens the immune system, making it easier to get sick.
- “I have to wash my hands with antibacterial soap” – Antibacterial soap is intended to fight bacteria, not a virus. Normal soap will do, it is more important to wash your hands for longer than what soap you use.
- “I have to stay indoors as the virus could be hanging around in the air” – The virus is not airborne, and you cannot get infected from just breathing fresh air. Be sure to enjoy the outdoors and go for a jog or a walk. The exercise will do you good (Always keep a safe distance from others).
- “I need to strip down and shower immediately once I get home from work or the shops” – No, this is not necessary. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person contact, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is more important to wash your hands because you may have touched something carrying the virus.
The outbreak of the global pandemic has certainly opened our eyes to invest more time in our health. Keep your immune system strong by eating healthy, doing regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, and ensuring we get enough sleep.
Always do your research and stay informed.