What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, people with COVID-19 tend to experience fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
How is COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with the virus exhales or coughs. These droplets land on objects and surfaces and others can catch COVID-19 by touching where the droplets are and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. They can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe the droplets from a person who is sick. This is why is important to wash hands often, and stay more than 1 meter away from a person who is sick.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
The best ways to reduce risk of coronavirus infection are:
- Frequently clean hands by using soap and water as well as alcohol-based hand rub
- When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
- Stay Home. Practice physical distancing. Avoid handshakes and hugs. Avoid close contact with anyone that has fever and cough.
Is there a vaccine to protect against COVID-19?
No, there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
Can I catch COVID-19 from an animal or my pet?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. According to the World Health Organization possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.
To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.
There is no evidence to suggest that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
Can I get COVID-19 from a blood transfusion?
There is no data or evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, worldwide. (Source: American Red Cross)
Is there anything I should not do?
There have been rumours of ways to protect yourself or avoid COVID-19. The following measures ARE NOT effective and could be harmful:
- Using drugs, such as cocaine
- Drinking bleach
- Using UV lamps to try and sterilize hands
- Taking antibiotics
- Wearing multiple masks
How is the Red Cross protecting staff and volunteers?
Guidance is being shared with staff and volunteers, including those in public-facing roles who may come into close contact with potentially ill people (e.g. through screening efforts or working in quarantine areas), caring for sick people, and doing risk communication and health promotion work. We are paying close attention to the health and safety of our people.
What is the Red Cross doing to respond to COVID-19?
Red Cross National Societies are working in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and in coordination with governments and non-government organizations to provide humanitarian support in response to COVID-19. The Red Cross is focused on community-based health and hygiene promotion, access to basic services, support for containment and treatment, and fighting rumours and stigma with advocacy and accurate information.
Please see the attached the most recent operations report to see what each National Society is doing to respond to COVID-19.
How do I keep my house clean?
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes phones, doorknobs, light switches, desks, keyboards, toilets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
1. Dilute household bleach: 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon (3.8 liters) of water. DO this in a ventilated space and NEVER mix household bleach with any other cleanser.
2. Alcohol solutions - Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
3. Other common household disinfectants.
What do I do when I get home from work?
Remember that you should only leave your house if it is necessary, or if you can’t work remotely.
1. Leave your shoes at the entrance of your house.
2. Leave your bag, keys and shopping in a crate at the entrance of your house.
3. Avoid touching anything before washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
4. If you walked your pet, wash their paws.
5. Take off your clothes and put it in a bag ready to be washed.
6. Shower or wash the exposed parts with soap. (*Use clothes that cover most of your body)
7. Clean your mobile phone with alcohol and your glasses with water and soap.
8. Wash the surface of what you bought with a solution of water and bleach (use gloves and throw away correctly).
How do I correctly wear a mask?
1. Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
2. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
3. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
4. Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
5. To remove the single-use mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Important notes for wearing a mask
- Even while wearing a cloth mask, avoid groups of people as much as possible.
- Implement social distancing of at least 1.5 metres from others when in public
- Stop shaking hands, social kissing and hugging, including at funerals
- Wash hands frequently, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
- Refrain from touching mouth, nose or eyes
- People who show symptoms of a respiratory disease should always use a medical mask.
How do I care for a cloth mask?
1. Replace the mask with a clean dry mask as soon as it becomes damp, or at least once a day, or more often if needed.
2. Use a dedicated storage/laundry bag to keep your used mask.
3. As early as possible after the mask is removed, wash the mask and the protective bag with hot water and soap and dry it completely before using it again. Damp masks may increase the risk of infection.
Wash masks in hot soapy water (at least 60 degrees Celsius)
Dry cloth masks in the sun or in a dryer until they are completely dry.
4. In case a mask is damaged, wash it, dry it and dispose of it immediately.
5. Do not discard or leave the mask out without washing it or closing it into a protective bag.
6. Expected lifespan of a reusable cloth mask is two months with daily washing.