It is evident that as time goes on, every Winter the world is getting hit by more and more new viruses, which mankind is finding hard to control. This winter the COVID-19 coronavirus is the new virus which has hit the world in 2020. It is a virus which has hit hard and the consequence of which will have a far reaching toll on health and on the economy.
I am sure that by now everyone has heard about it and that at one time or another everyone has discussed it. I have heard it discussed between the young and the old, in supermarkets, or at restaurants, in shops or at street corners. Most talk out of fear of the unknown, most go on what social media has to say, some go on myths invented by people who take advantage of the unknown. However in all the hype and panic we miss the wood for the trees and we miss the important messages being given by the experts who are stressing the most poignant message. They are shouting this message out to us but in the panic most are not hearing them.
So what is it that we are not hearing? It is amazing that with all the advances in medicine and technology the most basic of all facts remains the most important way to avoid this virus or any other virus, for that matter, in spreading. It is what our mums taught us when we are young and what we then teach our children’s children. It is the basic action of washing your hands. We teach children to wash their hands before eating or after playing. We wash our hands regularly when we care for our own children, especially when they are infants, afraid that we may contaminate them with something. However as we grow older, we seem to forget the importance of such a basic task and we take our hands for granted.
If we did not take this for granted we would not need to have whole campaigns for doctors and nurses to regularly perform hand hygiene, particularly when they are dealing with patients. Why would we have to remind staff to use hand hygiene, if the very fact that you are dealing with someone at a vulnerable time in his life with possible contaminated hands could cause harm, harm which can even be irreversible. And yet we do have to remind health workers constantly to use hand hygiene, we have to put up posters and run videos to continually show the importance of using hand hygiene. The reality is that we take our hands for granted and we do not understand that the very basic action of touching a person with contaminated hands can lead to harming that patient, even if unintentionally. The very hands that should be healing can be the very hands that are causing damage.
So instead of going into a panic through instilled fear caused by what we hear about this virus, instead of reading social media and looking at statistics, let us all do our part and protect ourselves and others by doing a very basic action which has been known to be the most fundamental action since time eternal. Let us make a conscious effort to educate others and ourselves in performing hand hygiene and to really understand that our hands do not need to be visibly contaminated to be washed.
Ms. Charmaine Montesin