All the health authorities in the world are stressing the importance of preventive measures in battling the coronavirus disease – COVID-19 pandemic.
With the second wave and nationwide increase in COVID-19 infections, the start of the influenza season, and the start of winter it is important to reiterate the importance of preventive measures including wearing a face mask, continuing to practice social distancing, and hygiene protocols, the organization said in a prepared statement.
This reminder comes as the daily number of new cases in the United States continued to trend upward to some of the highest levels yet. All of this comes with more than one million lives lost in the pandemic globally.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) issued a policy earlier this year supporting the waring of cloth or surgical masks by the public in the community setting where physical distancing is impossible and also supports federal, state, and local public health authorities in their efforts to put evidence-based interventions in place as part of a strategy to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19.
These efforts should also include education on proper mask use and widespread testing and contact tracing. It also should take local demographics, epidemiology, and exposure context into account as well, according to the statement. “We need to remain vigilant, even as we are all increasingly fatigued by the impacts of COVID-19,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president of ACP, in the statement.
Fincher also noted that there are important steps all of us can take to help reduce transmission and protect ourselves and our loved ones. “As I tell my patients, pay attention to the 3 Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance,” she explained.
The organization also urges adults to get recommended immunizations for protection against other common, but sometimes serious, diseases.
According to the organization, these protect against health problems, hospitalizations, or death and can help prevent the spread of disease, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable to complications; such as those with chronic conditions or the elderly, the statement pointed out.
According to the statement, in addition to the flu vaccine, other recommended vaccines include Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); pneumococcal to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis; HPV to prevent cervical, anal, and other cancers; hepatitis A and B; and herpes zoster to help prevent shingles.
As the COVID-19 pandemic surges in my parts of the country, health professionals are offering myriad pearls for the safety of health-care providers and patients alike. Health officials are highlighting the importance of wearing a clean, dry mask to help guard against the spread of COVID-19.
Ophthalmologists can help to educate their staff and patients on the proper use of masks. Disposable surgical masks are constructed of paper and when wet they become less effective in blocking the offending pathogens, which is important to recognize in rainy as well as snowy climates.
And even without the bad weather, a person’s breath on the mask also causes the materials of the mask to break down. Whenever possible, masks should be replaced every 3 hours, he emphasized. This advice also applies to the N95 masks worn by health providers.
Moreover, guidance on face masks from the World Health Organization also urges people to “replace masks as soon as they become damp with a new clean, dry mask.” Practicing good hygiene, including frequent washing of hands, remain the key to slowing transmission of the virus.