Special Report

16 Tips to Prevent Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

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Avoid touching public surfaces

Escalators, ATMs, elevators buttons, handles in buses and trains — these are surfaces people touch and don’t normally think about it twice. Viruses can survive anywhere from several minutes to several weeks on such metal surfaces, and they get touched by several people every minute. It’s still unclear how long the novel coronavirus can remain on surfaces.

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Wash your hands properly

Handwashing significantly improves your chances of avoiding viral or bacteria infections. But you need to know how to properly wash your hands. Wet your hands and apply soap. Rub your hands together — don’t forget the space between the fingers and under your nails — for at least 20 seconds, rinse, and dry.

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Use hand sanitizer

If water and soap are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It should contain at least 60% alcohol, according to the CDC. Keep in mind that sanitizers don’t clean your hands from all types of germs, especially if your hands are greasy.

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Avoid crowded and enclosed places

Though it is yet unknown how exactly the novel coronavirus behaves, flu viruses can survive as droplets in the air for several hours. The air in closed places gets recirculated, increasing the chance of the droplets falling on people nearby. This is one reason why parents are asked to not send sick children to school.

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Try not to touch your nose, eyes, and mouth

The eyes, nose, and mouth are points in our bodies through which viruses can enter. Germs and viruses normally do not survive more than five to 20 minutes on your skin, unless they make it into your body. It is yet unknown, however, how long COVID-19 can last on the skin.