How many times do you touch your face and eyes? At least 16 times an hour!!
DO YOU KNOW CORONAVIRUS CAN ENTER VIA OUR EYES AND MOUTHS?
With all this hype about hygiene and hand washing, here are some facts to consider:
- We know Coronavirus can live up to at least 72 hours on hard surfaces.
- The way we are catching it and transferring it to others is by either inhaling infected droplets produced by someone’s sneeze or by touching a contaminated surface and thus introducing it to our mouths/ face or eyes when we touch them.
- So, touching your face can increase your risk of COVID and flu infection.
- As we touch our faces so often, the odds of therefore recontaminating our hands, between washes, is very high.
- It is important to note that, those who wear contact lenses are even more likely to touch their eyes than those who don’t!
The symptoms of COVID 19 are known to vary from symptomless carriage of the virus to having a dry cough, temperature, diarrhoea, headaches, vomiting and dizziness.
The St Thomas Trust Hospitals have also reported COVID-19 can present with viral conjunctivitis, although this is usually after more common symptoms have presented.
COVID-19 and the Eye
So, what does a viral conjunctivitis look and feel like?
It can typically present as
- Pinkness of the white of the eye (Pink Eye as we know it)
- A burning or gritty sensation associated with mild pain
- Watery discharge with little mucus
- Crusting around the eyelids on waking
- Swollen red lids with possibly fuzzy vision
There is no treatment for a viral conjunctivitis as it does not respond to antibiotics. However, it usually lasts no more than 3 weeks. The best advice will be to stop all contact lens wear during an incidence of conjunctivitis, use lubricating drops to reduce the symptoms, take painkillers if necessary and cleaning your eye with a cold compress.
With Opticians working a skeleton clinic for emergencies only, if in doubt of any of your symptoms, please call 111 or the eye casualty line at your local hospital to seek medical advice!
So how can we prevent COVID 19 and minimize our risks?
- As we already know, handwashing is the key. 20 seconds is the magic number.
- Social distancing (keeping 2m radius from each other unless it’s a family member we live with).
- Keeping surfaces clean. Using a sanitizer to wipe surfaces down is vital in your workplace. Consider the shopping and takeaways you bring into your home.
- Stop touching your face.
All it takes is the touching of a contaminated food package or a doorknob and you are in danger of recontamination just after you’ve washed your hands.
Helpful Tips and Reminders
WAYS TO STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
Using methods to help break the habit can include
- Using scented soaps, sanitizers or hand creams to increase awareness of your hands
- Lacing your fingers during meetings
- Pasting POST IT notes as reminders
- Wearing a new ring to remind you of your habit
A great video to watch is by Dr Jeffrey VanWingen on how to bring groceries into your home after shopping. To summarise, he says
- Wipe the cart handles before you touch it
- Commit to buying an item before you pick it up
- Don’t go out to shop if you are ill
- People over the age of 70 should not be going AT ALL
- Plan what you want to buy 2 weeks at a time
- Consider where you place the bags on coming home.
- Consider sanitizing packaging or carefully removing the outer package to reduce the risk of cross infection
- Wash fruit like you wash your hands
- Consider the packaging of takeaway foods and microwaving the food to kill of the virus!!
Remember, if we follow the appropriate precautions and guidelines, notify your local services if you have symptoms and self-isolate, WE CAN FIGHT THIS VIRUS. With these steps in place, there is no need to panic, but rather make use of the time you have gained with your loved ones.
If you have any questions about the blog feel free to drop us an email and we will try our best to help you. If you have broken your spectacles and need help in procuring some just ask and if possible, we can help with our inhouse Optician at hand and reliable LAB services.
Most of all STAY SAFE!
The links to extended information is below if you wish to read and listen to more expert advice.
See the video on Safe Grocery Shopping by Dr Jeffrey VanWingen