COVID-19: Three ways you can look after yourself and others
We know there’s a lot of information out there about how we can protect ourselves and others from Coronavirus (COVID-19), and it can be pretty confusing to make sure you’re following the right advice and guidance. So we’ve broken down the top three ways you can help keep yourself, and your loved ones safe from the spread of COVID-19.
Good hygiene is in your hands
The COVID-19 is an envelope virus, which basically means the virus particles are surrounded by a fatty outer layer (think like an oil), and like an oil when you use soap to wash your hands your actually breaking apart that envelope by removing and washing the virus from your hands. Watch this cool tik tok to see an experiment on how the virus might actually respond to soap.
That’s why washing your hands with soap is so important – particularly because this virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets, for instance when we cough, sneeze or even touch our face we’re spreading small droplets on people or surfaces around us. You can help stop the spread by covering coughs or sneezes with your elbow or tissue, and trying not to touch your face!
It might seem like a pretty simple step, just washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and drying them properly, but by doing this, you’re helping to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can stay on surfaces for some time, so wiping down phones and surfaces you use a lot with an appropriate cleaning product is recommended.
Physical distancing - what does it really mean?
The government’s new guidelines say that we should have a space of at least 1.5 meters between ourselves and another person when we’re out in public. We have been asked to stay at home unless there is a need to leave for an essential service (more on that later). If you do leave your home, maintain a safe physical distance from those around you.
By creating this distance and avoiding greeting or touching another person, we’re not only protecting ourselves from getting the virus but we’re also protecting other people, because we’re less likely to be able to spread the virus if we’re a safe distance away from other people.
Physical distancing is very important in slowing the spread of COVID-19, however, it doesn’t mean we still can’t be connected with our friends and family – in fact staying connected to important people in our lives is still really essential.
You might want to think about different ways you and your friends or family can connect. We’ve heard some great ideas of young people holding trivia nights over video conferencing platform Zoom, or all watching the same movie and discussing afterwards – even just regular phone calls with your loved ones can make a difference and help maintain connection.
Some experts believe that physical distancing is the number one thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 so this measure is really important for us to remember!
What is an essential service?
For now the Federal Government has outlined that Australians should not leave their house unless it’s for an ‘essential’ reason. This includes shopping for what you need like food and other essential supplies, for medical care and compassionate needs, to exercise or for work and education.
We know that for some people this is a pretty overwhelming time, and it’s normal to feel lots of different emotions to this changing situation – if you feel like you need extra support with your mental health and wellbeing visit headspace.org.au.
More information can be found below:
For state specific information check out the links relevant to you for more information and advice:
- VIC: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
- NSW: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
- SA: https://www.sa.gov.au/covid-19
- QLD: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19
- WA: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus
- NT: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/
- TAS: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
- ACT: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/
For the federal government’s updates on COVID-19 see here: https://www.australia.gov.au/
For health advice: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus