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Coronavirus: Preventing infections

To prevent coronavirus infections the same precautions should be taken as in the case of other infectious diseases that cause respiratory infections. The most effective daily precautions are to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water and practise respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.

It is recommended to also take the following daily precautions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who show signs of infectious disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Practise good respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.
  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand disinfectant that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand disinfectant is intended for external use only. Agents for cleaning/disinfecting surfaces should not be used for cleaning/disinfecting skin.
  • Considering the current epidemiological situation, there is no general need to wear protective masks.
  • During the period of increased incidence of respiratory infections, avoid enclosed spaces where large numbers of people are gathered. Ensure that shared spaces are well ventilated.

Is wearing a protective mask a sensible precaution?

There is no general need to wear protective masks. However, wearing a protective mask or scarf covering your mouth and nose, as well as gloves, is mandatory in enclosed public spaces. Wearing a protective mask is also mandatory if you have a respiratory infection or care for a person with such an infection.

When using a protective mask you should know how to correctly use it and take it off. How is it done? 

How to put on a single-use surgical mask properly:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitize them with antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  2. Hold the mask so that the built-in metallic strip is on the top part of the mask. If using a coloured mask, make sure the white side of the mask is on the inside.
  3. Place the ear-loops around each ear, then mould the metallic strip around the bridge of the nose so that the surgical mask fits snugly against the face.
  4. Hold the surgical mask on the nose and then pull the bottom part of the mask under the chin.
  5. When the surgical mask is properly fitted, it should cover the mouth, nose and chin. If you wear glasses, place the glasses over the surgical mask. 

Surgical masks are intended to be used just once and should be replaced after two hours or as soon as they become moist. 

How to remove a surgical mask properly:

  1. First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitize them with antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  2. Be careful to remove the mask by handling it only by the ear loops or ties as you may get infected otherwise.
  3. Put the surgical mask in a plastic bag and seal it with a knot or elastic band and keep it in a safe place for 72 hours.
  4. After 72 hours, throw the bag containing the surgical mask into a waste bin.
  5. Wash or sanitize your hands again.
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