While Italy is facing a dramatic increase in the number of cases of CoVID-19, the new coronavirus infection originating in China, France is preparing for a possible spread of the virus on its territory. Only 12 cases have been recorded in the whole hexagon since the beginning of the epidemic. While one patient has died, all the others have recovered and no new cases have been recorded for several days on French territory.
However, the risk of the virus returning to France is far from zero. Le Figaro takes stock of the good gestures to adopt at the individual level to protect oneself from the disease in the event of an epidemic.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
Infection with the new coronavirus has flu-like symptoms: temperature above 38.5°C, coughing, difficulty breathing, muscle aches or fatigue. In the most severe cases, patients may enter severe acute respiratory distress which can be fatal. People over 75 years of age, those with certain chronic diseases (heart or respiratory failure, massive obesity, asthma, chronic bronchitis known as COPD), pregnant women and infants are among the most vulnerable. To date, the mortality rate is estimated at about 2.3% for the general population.
hat is the mode of transmission of the disease?
The mode of transmission of coronavirus is much the same as that of influenza. It is transmitted from person to person directly through the air by droplets of saliva and sputum emitted by coughing and sneezing, or indirectly through close contact with surfaces freshly contaminated with these secretions (e.g. hands or door handles).
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The coronavirus survives a few hours on inert surfaces and a few days in an aqueous medium. The incubation period of the coronavirus (i.e. the time between exposure and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated to be between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted by infected individuals who show symptoms. However, it is not yet known whether infected but not symptomatic patients can transmit the virus. This would make it very difficult for health authorities to manage the epidemic.
Is it necessary to wear a mask?
All sick people must wear a mask to avoid infecting those around them. Health authorities recommend that any patient with flu-like symptoms wear at least one surgical mask (about €2 in pharmacies) to avoid contaminating those around them. This type of anti-projection mask simply traps the saliva droplets of a sick patient, which limits the risk of spreading the virus.
On the other hand, these simple masks do not completely protect a healthy person from contamination. Because they are not completely glued to the face, they can allow unfiltered air to pass through. In addition, pollution masks, which are supposed to protect against fine particles from exhaust pipes, have no protective effect during an outbreak.
For greater protection, there are filtering masks, which are classified into 3 classes according to the degree of air filtration (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3). In the case of the coronavirus, you need at least one FFP2 level mask (about 4 euros) for effective protection. They are recommended for the nursing staff and close relatives of hospitalized patients suspected of being contaminated by the coronavirus.
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The effectiveness of surgical masks is only guaranteed for 3 hours. This climbs to 8 hours for FFP filter masks. It is therefore necessary to change them regularly and make sure they are positioned correctly on the face to avoid any leakage. On the other hand, a mask is single-use and can never be washed for reuse. Beyond the guaranteed period of protection, it should be thrown away in the trash, taking care not to touch the mask itself, which is potentially contaminated, and to handle only the strings that hold it in place. Instructions are usually provided to explain how to operate safely.
Both surgical masks and FFP2 masks are available in pharmacies and on the internet. However, buying them in pharmacies guarantees that they comply with the standards in force in Europe.
What can be done to limit the spread of the virus?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adopting a series of "barrier gestures", such as scrupulously applying basic hygiene rules: washing your hands very regularly (with a hydroalcoholic solution or soap and water), sneezing or coughing into your elbow, using disposable tissues, airing rooms and avoiding close contact with sick people.
For inert surfaces that may contain germs, such as a smartphone or door handle, cleaning with a hydroalcoholic gel is not sufficient. It is necessary to use an effective detergent such as those found in hospitals (Surfa'safe Premium from Anios or Stericid spray). However, these decontaminations are only recommended when a coronavirus infection is confirmed.
In addition, although influenza vaccination has no effect on the coronavirus, it can limit the onset of influenza symptoms and thus reduce confusion between influenza infection and CoVID-19. Getting vaccinated will protect you from the flu while helping health authorities in the overall management of the outbreak.
Finally, if you have symptoms of suspected infection, avoid leaving your home and call your city's department to be directed to the most appropriate facility for you.
To buy your coronavirus protection mask click this link