- Indoor Air Quality should be improved to avoid COVID-19 infection: Experts
- Experts recommend avoiding crowded spaces as much as possible
- Mask, regular handwashing provide best defence against COVID-19: Experts
New Delhi: As the country is gradually ending the lockdown and indoor public places like banks, offices, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, malls and other such places are opening up. According to experts, while there is no way of ensuring zero risk of infection anywhere, it is important to adopt measures that can help reduce the potential exposure to the coronavirus. Apart from this, the cold weather, approaching the country in the next three months, will further push most of the public activities in closed spaces. NDTV spoke with experts to learn about ways to limit potential exposure to coronavirus while being in a closed public space.
Dr. Harshad Limaye, Senior Consultant- Internal Medicine at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai said that people need to employ a two-pronged approach to avoid catching coronavirus indoors. First, adopt measures to prevent potential exposure to the virus through physical contact and second, to avoid virus transmission through aerosols. Dr. Supriya Bali, Director, Internal Medicine, Max Multi Speciality Centre, Panchsheel Park, Delhi suggests consistently following preventive measures like hand hygiene and wearing a mask that have been recognised as effective defence against COVID-19 since the initial days of the pandemic. Here are five recommendations from experts that one must follow indoors:
1. Do Not Enter Crowded Indoor Public Spaces
Dr. Bali suggests avoiding any crowded place at all cost during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, “The more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction happens, the higher the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
Dr. Limaye said that crowded spaces have high risk and can cause transmission of the virus through airborne route as well physical contact.
2. Leave Immediately If The Indoor Air Quality Is Poor
According to experts, good ventilation is extremely important to avoid infections. According to Dr. Limaye, it is advisable to leave a room if the air inside it feels stale. He emphasises on improving the indoor air quality by keeping windows open and ensuring enough circulation of fresh air.
3. Avoid Indoor Spaces With Air Conditioners
Dr. Limaye recommends avoiding the use of air conditioners in public spaces. He said that ACs generate air current which allows the virus to travel further with even greater force in a particular direction. He added that ACs that use more indoor air and less fresh air in order to save energy, must not be used at all. He said, “Since the pandemic has started, and evidences have come up against the use of ACs, I have stopped using these in my clinic.”
He further said that while fans also generate air current but it is not as strong because the air is circulated more widely in the room and not just in one direction.
4. Keep Your Distance From Other People And Leave Soon
“Keeping distance from other people is important when in public-outdoors or indoors. Ensure that there is a space of at least six feet between you and others,” said Dr. Bali.
She further said that indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces because it might be harder to keep people apart due to limited space. Therefore, she suggests reducing the time spent indoors.
5. Wear Masks And Maintain Hand Hygiene Consistently
According to experts, wearing masks consistently and correctly along with maintaining good hand hygiene will provide a stronger defence against the virus. Dr. Bali said, “Mask usage, indoors or outdoors is a necessary tool to prevent COVID-infection. Wear the mask properly by covering the nose and mouth area and do not touch your face as much as possible. Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.