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PhD. Carlos Ramírez Martínez
School of Veterinary Medicine, UANL
The health contingency caused by COVID-19 has changed countless forms of behavior in our homes, such as limiting physical contact between family members, avoiding touching the face, especially nostrils, ears and eyes, wear face covering (over mouth and nose) and gloves when leaving home, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, or with an alcohol-bases hand rub, clean up commonly used areas with some frequency using antibacterial and antiviral agents, leaving your shoes at the entrance of your home, and sometimes change clothing when returning home when people have the need to go to public places, among others.
All of these actions are actually biosecurity measures that are used to prevent the transmission of the disease-causing pathogen, in this case the coronavirus causing COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, biosafety is a set of norms and measures used to protect the health of the population, against biological, chemical and physical risks to which it is exposed.
Although the emergence of the concept of biosecurity is relatively recent, some authors propose that it emerged in the late 80s of the last century in agricultural and environmental communities, the concepts of hospital cleaning and asepsis data back to the “bacterial era” that started in the 19th century after discoveries about bacteriology carried out by Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, and Joseph Lister.
Biosecurity bases its proceeding on the implementation of preventive measures to reduce the expression of risks, such as diseases, or to prevent its spread if these risks manage to be expressed.
Until before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of some of the biosecurity measures that we apply today in the home was restricted to hospital facilities, clinical laboratories and industrial areas dedicated to the production of food and medicine, but today its application seems increasingly daily.
One of the great lessons that this pandemic is leaving us is that risk can occur at any time and we must be prepared to avoid its expression and / or its spread. Due to this situation, it is necessary to be located that the application of biosecurity measures at home is here to stay, that the termination of the state of emergency should not be a reason to let our guard down and leave many of the biosecurity actions that we practice today, taking into account that prevention is cheaper and more effective than cure or remedy.
Some of the biosecurity measures that family members must consider to convert them into good hygiene habits are the following:
- When you return home, wash your hands properly using soap and water.
- Disinfect used objects such as keys, phone, bags or backpacks and money, every time you return at home.
- Disinfect the sole of the shoes and if possible use another previously disinfected pair to be at home.
- Disinfect fruits and vegetables, as well as packages containing processed foods and store them in previously disinfected spaces.
- Disinfect credit cards after use.
- As far as possible avoid the use of cash.
- Carry small containers containing disinfectant substances while you are away from home.
- Clean and disinfect areas of common and frequent use in the home.
- Avoid going to bed or sleeping with clothing that was worn throughout the day, especially when visiting public places.
- Remember that it is not the same to clean as disinfecting.
To this list can be added all those biosecurity actions that are considered useful to safeguard one of the most valuable treasures that human beings have: health.
Taking care of yourself is take care of others!