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COVID-19 Prevention Starts at Home: Tips for Australian Households

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In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within communities and across the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has placed a 2-person limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Australians are strongly advised to stay at home unless they have to shop for food and medicine, exercise in a public space (limited to not more than 2 people), attend urgent medical appointments, or report to work if they are unable to work remotely.

The saying “prevention is better than cure” has never been more applicable. Self-quarantine and social distancing will not only keep your entire household healthy but also help slow the spread of infection across a population.

But simply staying indoors will not fully protect your home from COVID-19. Below are practical tips for Australian households undergoing quarantine.

Practice good hygiene

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue. Make sure to discard used tissues immediately.
  • Frequently used surfaces including countertops, tables, faucets, sinks, doorknobs, and light switches should be disinfected daily using water and a strong household detergent. Remember to carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning products.
  • Frequently used objects such as keys, mobile phones, and wallets should also be sanitised every day. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe your gadgets with diluted soap and warm water, or alcohol. Make sure they’re turned off before cleaning.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially before and after eating, after using the toilet; and after sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose.
  • If possible, use separate plates, glasses, and utensils for each household member.
  • Increase indoor ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.

Care for at-risk household members

Global research suggests that the elderly and chronically ill might be at greater risk for severe COVID-19 complications. As such, the government strongly advises people over the age of 70 (over 65 for people who have preexisting illnesses, or over 50 for indigenous people who have preexisting medical conditions) to self-isolate at home.

  • If you’re living with older adults, ensure that their regular medications and supplies are well-stocked. It’s also best to consult your health care provider for more information about monitoring their health.
  • Should an infection occur within your household, have a designated room that can be used to isolate the sick. If possible, assign a separate bathroom and avoid sharing towels, toiletries, and other personal supplies.

Protect others in your community

  • If you are sick, stay home and rest unless you need urgent medical attention. Other household members should also observe self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
  • Contact your doctor and local health authorities for proper care and instruction.
  • It is crucial to inform anyone who has recently been in contact with the sick person.
  • Practice strict social distancing. If you have to leave the house, wear a face mask and keep at least 6 feet (2 metres) of distance between you and the next person.

Implementing preventative measures within your household is the first step to fighting COVID-19. The more you are prepared and well-informed, the safer your home and community would be.

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