Persons over 55 with chronic diseases can die from the flu and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. These diseases enter your lungs through your eyes, nose or mouth. Most people pick up viruses left on surfaces by infected persons. Flu bugs can live on surfaces, clothing and towels for up to two weeks! Since we touch our faces up to 90 times a day, breaking that habit will help keep us healthy.
Stay clear of surfaces that other people have touched and their rubbish, as well as clothing sick people have worn. Wash your hands before putting on glasses, touching your hair, scratching your nose or mouth, or eating.
Good hygiene is the best defense against viruses. Visit www.cdc.gov and read “When and How to Wash Your Hands.” Soap, water and friction cleanse your hands. Even hand sanitizer requires the friction of rubbing the hands together to lift off the oils that viruses stick to.
Rub your wet, soapy hands together front and back — get under the nails. Continue 20 seconds — the time it takes to sing a full version of Happy Birthday. Rinse well and dry hands with a paper towel before turning off the faucet with the towel. Keep the towel to open the restroom door. Consider all faucets, doors and flush handles contaminated.
Wearing gloves at the doctor’s office, and while shopping and running errands will protect your hands, but the greatest advantage may be that gloves remind you not to touch your face.
Paper masks do not protect healthy people from viruses — in fact, they can carry them to their faces as they apply or adjust the mask. Masks are for symptomatic and sick people. Since droplets from an uncovered sneeze can travel up to 30 feet, always cover sneezes and coughs with the tight crook of your elbow. And of course, always wash your hands after blowing your nose!
COVID-19 causes a temperature and cough — not cold symptoms. If you have these symptoms, isolate yourself and call your doctor promptly.
Get up-to-date information online:
STATE OF HAWAI‘I DEPARTMENT OF HEATH WEBSITE