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COVID-19 Coronavirus. New Disease.

09/10/2021 Epidemiology

Rosa María Barrón Licona, MD

Infectious diseases are those that are transmitted easily and rapidly, caused by external agents such as viruses and bacteria. The infection presents itself when the body does not have enough defenses to fight it, or if the number of microorganisms that enters the body exceeds the body's ability to defend itself. 

Infections can spread by direct contact with an infected person, including droplets a person emits when speaking, coughing, or sneezing (sneezing has a range of 1 meter).

Diseases classified in this category are the flu, influenza, or the recent COVID-19, more commonly known as the Wuhan Coronavirus. 

¿How do people get infected?

Any person that is in close contact (within 1 meter) of someone who has respiratory symptoms (for example, sneezing, coughing, etc.) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infectious droplets. 

It is also essential to know that viruses can live up to 9 days on objects. Therefore it is crucial to increase general hygiene, remember always to wash your hands, don't touch your nose, eyes, and mouth, and practice the correct cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. These measures are a fundamental pillar in the control of these types of diseases. 


The best tool: PREVENTION

  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water (click here to see how to wash your hands correctly or use an alcohol-based disinfectant for hands with a concentration of 60% to 80% (click here to see how to apply hand sanitizer).
  • Try to wash hands periodically, before eating and after using the restroom.
  • Clean and disinfect every surface at least once per day with alcohol, disinfectant towels or a chlorine solution.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

 How to use a mouth cover?

A mouth cover is instrumental when there are respiratory disease symptoms. In this sense, its function is to avoid the dispersion of contagious droplets, and it works as a defense barrier, therefore preventing the dissemination of the virus and possible spread. 

  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • It would be best if you did not manipulate mouth covers during use.
  • If the mouth cover is moist or gets dirty with body fluids, you should exchange it immediately.
  • After disposing of a mouth cover, wash your hands thoroughly.

Practice Respiratory Hygiene 

Respiratory hygiene is essential, especially in sick people at all times. 

It refers to covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using a mouth cover, handkerchief, or the crook of your elbow, and afterward washing your hands. These measures stop the droplets from being deposited on surfaces and people, causing the disease to spread.

 What should I do if I feel the symptoms of the disease?

If you have developed respiratory symptoms (fever, headache, coughing, or general malaise), you should stay at home until the symptoms subside. In case of presenting complications (more than 3 days with a fever, no improvement or difficulty breathing), the best would be to visit a health center, and avoid self-medicating. 

Remember to use a mouth cover or surgical mask whenever you leave home and inside your home, if possible. If it is a family member or friend who has the symptoms, you should follow the proper hygiene measures to avoid spreading the virus.

 How should I wear the mouth cover?

  • Put on your face mask and make sure that your mouth and nose are fully covered and adjust appropriately to minimize any space between your face and the mask, sealing it adequately.
  • Place it horizontally, and hang the elastic cords from your ears. Breath out to verify that the air doesn't escape from the sides of the mask after adjusting it to the nose.
  • While you use it, try not to touch your face.
  • Remove the mask with the appropriate technique (don't touch the front, remove from the back).
  • After removing the mask or any time you touch a mouth cover, clean your hands with water and soap and an alcohol-based disinfectant.
  • Replace the mask with a new clean, dry mouth cover as soon as it is moist or wet.
  • Do not use masks more than once if they are disposable. Wash reusable mouth covers should thoroughly before using again.
  • Dispose of single-use masks after one use.

Disposable mouth covers can be used for eight continuous hours, as well as N95 masks that are cone-shaped. N95 masks that are Shell shaped can be used for 40 hours, as long as the structure isn't altered (for example, if they get bent). 



Coordinating Commission for the National Health Institute and High Specialty Hospitals. Infection prevention process for people with Covid-19 (diseases by SARSCoV-2), contacts, and personal health. Health Department, Mexican government. *Important notes:

  • To see COVID-19 cases in real-time click here.


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