A doctor writes about that .....
Ward off SARS wisely!!!
(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
4 WAYS OF CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF INFECTION:
1. To isolate/segregate infectious and potentially infectious individuals
2. To minimise close and unnecessary human contact (including the reduction of unnecessary human traffic).
3. Self-protection and the protection of family members
4. Four simple but very important steps:
a) the wearing of protective masks;
b) frequent hand-washing;
c) self-imposed segregation;
d) living and working with environmental hygiene and ventilation.
7 WAYS OF PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY:
- Avoid going to high-risk places (all hospitals) and areas with too many people. Wear an N95 or surgical mask if going to cinemas, theatres and concerts. (Surgical masks are more comfortable, but must be disposed of when wet. N95 must be worn properly without any leak. Single-layered paper masks are not effective.)
- Avoid restaurants that are too crowded. Avoid sharing tables with strangers.
- Avoid unnecessary travelling to Sha Tin, Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay, Tseung Kwan O, or areas with many infected cases and their vicinity.
- Keep a mask with you and wear it in crowded places, such as on public transport, and in shopping malls and markets.
- Wash hands with soap regularly after touching any objects suspected to be contaminated. Wash hands before and after each meal and avoid touching your eyes, nose and lips with unwashed hands or fingers.
- Children and students should wear masks to school and when they go out, but must ensure they do not touch the external surface of the masks and wash hands after touching them.
- Since all government and private schools are temporarily closed, parents can consider minimising their children's outings by observing the above guidelines.
9 SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- High fever, muscle aches and chills or shivering are symptoms of significance; doctors should be consulted if they last more than 24 hours. Runny noses and sore throats are not symptoms of significance.
- This is also the season when people easily catch a cold or flu. Patients with symptoms of a common cold should not jump to the conclusion that they have SARS, but should consult a nearby doctor as soon as possible.
- If you have prominent symptoms of SARS, consult the closest doctor of your choice and wear a mask at all times. If SARS is diagnosed, you will be transferred to a designated Health Authority hospital. Also, make sure people who accompany or transport you are wearing masks.
- Take chest X-rays and blood tests as recommended by the doctor, and also take repeated X-rays as instructed. Rapid tests are not indicated for everyone, and are only prescribed by specialists in particular hospitals.
- If you are suspected of having contracted SARS, your family members and accompanying people must also wear masks when they are close to you.
- Cancel all social engagements and rest at home, if SARS cannot be totally ruled out by your doctor.
- Make a note of your activities in the past ten days, and the people with whom you have had personal contact, who may have been exposed to infection. Inform your doctor accordingly.
- Keep a list of your close contacts before and after the onset of symptoms, and inform your doctor if a SARS diagnosis is made.
- Please also follow the guidelines by the Department of Health regarding confirmed contact with SARS patients.
HOTLINES & WEBSITES:
1. Department of Health (pre-recorded health education hotline)
2. Department of Health hotline for general advice (during office hours)
3. Department of Health's Website (www.info.gov.hk/dh) for regular updates and health advice.
4. World Health Organization Website (www.who.int/csr/sars/en/) or the Centres for Diseas Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/) for international updates and advice