How to dodge novel coronavirus? Avoid touching 'MEN'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2020 03:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2020 03:12 PM

Passengers wear face masks as they travel in Quezon City on Feb. 5, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Want to improve your chance of dodging the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Avoid touching your face, according to experts.

The pathogen that has killed over 3,500 people worldwide, as of Sunday, spreads through droplets from the nose or mouth, and can land on surfaces and objects when a patient coughs or exhales, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus "may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days," the WHO said in its website. 

"Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick," said the WHO.

A person unknowingly touches his or her face about 90 times a day, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III noted Sunday.

"Do not touch 'MEN'... Ang ibig sabihin nun: mouth, eyes saka nose. Puwedeng magkaroon ng impeksyon dahil nag-i-introduce ka ng virus," he told DZMM. 

(Do not touch 'MEN'... That stands for 'mouth, eyes and nose.' That could lead to infection because you are introducing a virus.) 

Duque urged the public to wash their hands frequently, hydrate well, and eat food rich in vitamins A, D and E, like vegetables. 

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Here are other tips on fighting the coronavirus from the WHO:

Maintain at least 1-meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 

When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Practice respiratory hygiene

This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Stay home if you feel unwell.

If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections. 

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots

If possible, avoid traveling to hotspot places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease. Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.