As for the prevention of COVID-19, scientist and pharmacist Mariane BC Nardy, PhD in Genetics at UNICAMP and professor at the American university MUST University, in Florida (USA), revealed a series of habits that are adopted for protection against coronavirus, but are not always effective. Part of this knowledge, the specialist shares and discusses in the Master’s course in Health Care Management at the North American college, where she teaches.
Wash your hands very fast
To protect yourself from the coronavirus after coming home or before meals, “washing with soap and water is still the best way to wash your hands. But it must be at least 40 seconds long. This is the estimated time for the lipid component in the virus envelope to dissolve and, consequently, to be destroyed ”, explains scientist Nardy.
Beware of alcohol gel
In addition to washing your hands, another hygiene option is the use of alcohol in both gel and liquid versions, as long as the concentration is greater than 70%. However, alcohol in these conditions can evaporate too quickly, depending on where it is stored or if it is exposed to the sun, for example. Under these circumstances, the action to eliminate the virus is compromised. Thus, the recommendation is to use alcohol only in places where there is no tap and soap available.
Cleaning shoes on sanitizing mats
The use of sanitizing mats is a complex issue when considering protection against the coronavirus. According to the professor at MUST University, several conditions need to be taken to the letter in order for this cleaning method to be effective. For example, most shoes were not made to be sanitized using this means and have, for example, recesses. Other types of shoes are open and allow the disinfectant liquid to reach the skin and cause irritation. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the entire sole is clean and that’s it.
“One should also consider the effectiveness of the disinfectant, its concentration, the evaporation time, the time the sole is in contact with the disinfectant, among other factors”, ponders researcher Mariane. In view of these needs, the specialist attests that the best alternative to not take coronavirus and no other micro-organism inside the house is to leave the shoes at the entrance.
Go through ultraviolet light booths for disinfection
Some hypermarkets and commercial establishments have adopted the use of ultraviolet light booths to sanitize customers’ purchases, for example. However, Dr. Mariane recalls that this practice, even if adopted with some frequency, has no official recommendation due to the many variables that involve its application so that it is effective and safe.
Wash packaging and fruit with water only
Hygiene of food and other packaged products is a measure that must be practiced at any time, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, explains Professor Mariane. “Although there is no evidence of transmission of the virus by food, fruits and vegetables should be washed and disinfected with chlorine solution”, he adds.
For effective cleaning, the Federal Council of Chemistry recommends a chlorine solution of 15 ml (1 shallow tablespoon) of bleach (with a concentration between 2% and 2.5%) for every 1 liter of water, with immersion of fruits and vegetables for 15 minutes. It is worth mentioning that only cleaning with water is insufficient to remove possible infectious agents.
Sanitize surfaces and packaging with liquid alcohol
“Product packaging must be cleaned with 70% gel alcohol”, recommends specialist Mariane. However, it is necessary to pay attention to liquid alcohol, regardless of concentration, and its ability to sanitize. This is because, as already discussed, it evaporates very quickly, which can affect its ability to destroy the coronavirus. In these cases, it is important to ensure the correct storage of cleaning material.
Wear masks with too thin fabrics
The professor advises that N95 or PFF2 masks (filtering facepiece) – those used by health professionals on the front line to fight coronavirus – are the most effective to prevent aerosol infections. In addition to them, medical and surgical masks can be an alternative resource, as well as those made of fabric. However, fabric masks must have double or triple fabric, otherwise, if they are very thin, contaminated aerosol particles can pass through it. In such cases, there is no protective effect against COVID-19.
Wear acrylic masks
Acrylic masks have also become popular for maintaining a complete view of the wearer’s face, however, they are not effective in effectively protecting against the coronavirus, as we have pointed out here. This is because the more rigid protection does not guarantee a good adhesion to the face and, mainly, the material is not able to filter the inspired or expired air, that is, the person will be able to breathe an air contaminated with the coronavirus.
In addition to these habits, there are other issues that may reduce the effectiveness of combating coronavirus, such as the use of infrared thermometers at the door of commercial establishments, inappropriately. It is common for the responsible employee not to check the person’s temperature and, even so, allow entry without making the correct temperature measurement, for example.
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