We are two and a half years into the Covid-19 pandemic and it seems like other viruses are coming into the limelight.
There are outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease in childcare centers in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland, a rising number of influenza cases, and the rise of monkeypox in Australia (though experts say this is unlikely to go away) .
Experts say that the good news is that by continuing with some of the health and hygiene habits adopted due to COVID, the risk of contracting other allergies will also be reduced.
keeping your hands
Studies have shown that before the pandemic the number of people washing their hands after a toilet visit was low: one in four globally and one in two in areas with good hand-washing facilities.
It raised a lot of (glitzed) fingers at the start of the pandemic, with a flood of public messages and funny celebrity videos emphasizing the importance of thoroughly washing your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds, or if you’re a hand. Can’t even reach a tap when using sanitizer.
Dr Kerry Hancock, an Adelaide-based GP with a special interest in respiratory medicine, says although it is now known that Sars-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted through the air, hand hygiene is a “cornerstone” of infection prevention – and one of the Simple way to cut transmission of other viruses and bacteria.
“It is such an easy thing to do, wash or sanitize your hands before eating or touching… [of Covid cases] in South Australia.”
Associate Professor Holly Seeley, an expert on beliefs and behaviors about infectious diseases at the University of New South Wales, notes that most people are taught about hygiene in the context of protecting themselves from childhood – but hand hygiene goes both ways. it occurs.
Making sure your hands are clean before a trip to the store or a ride in the elevator is “of course about the safety of other people as well”.
Ditch Habit: Gloves
However, wearing gloves to protect yourself from germs on surfaces such as supermarket trolleys is unnecessary, Seal says.
“People who wear gloves are less likely to wash their hands and may be at increased risk because they think their hands are clean.”
Seal recommends that everyone over the age of six months get it. influenza vaccineWhich is protective against four strains in 2022.
In 2021, Australia recorded zero flu deaths, with only 598 confirmed cases in federal health data from January to early November.
In contrast, this year so far three people have died of influenza and more than 47,860 people have been affected by it. “We’ve had a few years where the flu wasn’t really around, and there are certainly concerns that people have low levels of protection,” Seal said.
The federal government already pays the flu vaccine bill for people at high risk, but the jab has been temporarily freed up for the general population by all state governments – so everywhere except the Northern Territory and the ACT. – At the time of writing.
Seal calls it “a great initiative” and one that “could really move people into considering flu vaccination as part of their general practice. Because once you’ve got it, your back.” more likely to go and get it again.”
It may be worth keeping the jab free for longer, Seal says. With flu vaccine, Hancock urges everyone to stay up to date with vaccinations Hooping cough (pertussis), a “bad disease” that strikes Australia every few years.
Staying Home When You’re Sick (and Wearing a Mask When You Can’t)
One of the biggest lessons of Covid-19 has been the importance unhealthy people Staying away from work and social eventsSheena Sullivan, associate professor of infectious disease epidemiologist at the Doherty Institute, says.
She expects employers to lead by example, which may mean helping employees work from home, or removing cultural barriers to using sick leave – such as a way to “let the team down”. Fear.
But the casual workforce and sectors that cannot work from home present a “real risk” to disease control, says Sullivan, and should be addressed by the government.
“It became clear early in the pandemic that many people working with some of the most vulnerable in our communities are part of this large casual workforce, who do not have the right to sick leave, and are discouraged from taking time off. … this includes people who work in aged care and disability care as well as other essential services such as meatpacking.”
Sullivan hopes there will be a long-term shift toward when people have to go out when they have respiratory symptoms. wearing Courtesy of others masks,
“I work with people who understand the virus well, so it’s an unusual environment – but there are people who know someone in their family is unwell or has symptoms themselves, while they’re at work. Let’s start wearing the N95.”
Seal recommends that employers provide free surgical masks or respirators in case employees are caught by newly developing respiratory symptoms while on the job.
Hancock says, “The best mask is an N95 respirator, fitted for testing and testing, and worn with straps securely fastened upwards. However, the best compromise for the public is others. There is a surgical mask to prevent transmission.
clear the air
“We know that, particularly in aerosol-transmitted disease, ventilation is importantHancock says.
The World Health Organization ventilation “bible” recommends assessing airflow for building managers as well as people caring for a COVID-19 patient at home, but Hancock encourages people to think about social settings as well. does.
“A lot of cafes and businesses modified their buildings—perhaps knocking down a wall to have more open windows…I would really pick and choose where I go, for example, crowds with poor ventilation— Do not sit to eat in a crowded place.”
Change in the Ditch: Obstacles
While good ventilation is important, there are concerns that plastic barriers, These, such as those used at many retail checkouts, interfere with ventilation and provide a false sense of security, Hancock says.
“If you are at the supermarket counter and you are coughing, it is better to wear a mask to protect the cashier. Otherwise, they’re going to be protected from drops. [by the barrier] But … not the tiny aerosols that are going up in the air and breathing the other side.”
have a plan
The pandemic has also underscored the importance of people with chronic health conditions. plan to follow if their health deterioratesHancock says.
“My patients with asthma were more tolerant of their preventive medicine. What they were really getting was the message that if your asthma is under control and comes with a virus – whether it’s Sars-Cov-2 or rhinovirus [the main cause of the common cold]You’re less likely to tip in one intensity.
“It is difficult for people with other lung diseases such as bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to control their disease… their condition is getting worse, if they need to increase their medications or start another medication, if There’s a hotline they can call, or when to call an ambulance.”