One year after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the number of infections continues to rise. As of May 2021, the Department of Health Bulletin tallies over a million positive cases1.
By taking steps to reduce your risk for infection, you are protecting your family and friends that you come in contact with. Here are seven tips on how to reduce the risk of infection with COVID-19 for you and your loved ones.
1. Keep your hands clean.
Always wash your hands properly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to reach every part, rubbing in between fingers, under the nails, and including your wrist. Singing the “Happy Birthday” song two times is an easy way to keep track.
When going to any public places or running water and soap aren’t available, always have alcohol or hand sanitizer with you. That way, you can sanitize immediately after coming in contact with frequently touched items like shopping carts, doorknobs, and money.
Upon returning home, wash your hands immediately. Take note that any sanitizing agent you use needs to have at least 70% alcohol content for it to be truly effective at stopping the virus.
2. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
Studies2 have shown that this virus can survive on some surfaces for hours or even days. It can stay on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours and about 48 hours on stainless steel, which is one reason for its quick spread.
To prevent this, regularly clean frequently touched surfaces at home. These include doorknobs, light switches, tables, etc. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can use most disinfectants, but bleach diluted with an appropriate amount of water is also effective.
3. Stay at home when you feel sick.
Staying at home is still the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick. It will reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your loved ones and the community.
For grocery shopping, you can opt for delivery services instead. Craving restaurant food? There are several that will deliver your order at your door. Communicating with friends and family is also possible through messaging apps and video calling.
If you feel sick, you can also consult various health care providers online via telemedicine platforms.
4. When going out, wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Staying at home isn’t always practical. If you absolutely must go out, protect yourself by wearing a mask. Make sure that it covers both your mouth and nose.
Also, stay away from certain places where COVID-19 spreads more easily. The World Health Organization recommends avoiding the three C’s3.
- Crowded places
- Close-contact settings
- Confined and enclosed spaces
The risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher in these places, as it is harder to maintain the social distancing regulations of at least 1 meter or 3 feet away from other people.
5. Limit the time you spend in enclosed spaces.
Even while wearing a mask, do not stay for extended periods in confined spaces. Avoid going to places with poor air ventilation, as it will be more likely for you to inhale contaminated air. If possible, set appointments in open-air places such as parks or outdoor restaurants or open a few windows to increase ventilation. Limit conversation time as much as possible and continue wearing your mask.
6. When traveling for work, stay updated with quarantine protocols.
Every town or city has its quarantine protocols that adapt to the evolving local public health situation. MECQ, ECQ, and GCQ call for different levels of regulation. If you need to travel, contact the relevant authorities for any updates on their health and travel requirements.
7. Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination.
As new shipments of vaccines arrive4 in the country, more and more LGUs are inoculating their frontliners and residents, especially those that have higher risks of community transmission. You can try reaching out to your LGU if they offer pre-registration for vaccination if you don’t belong to any of the priority groups. Remember: the sooner you get vaccinated, the better.
Keep Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe
We need to remain vigilant as we try to return to our regular routines and activities. New variants of the virus continue to be detected even now, and vaccines are still being developed that are effective against these stronger variants. For now, following these tips can help curb the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of infection for you and your loved ones.
Check out our COVID-19 PH Resource Center for more information on everything COVID-related in the Philippines.