It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a parent. The CoronaVirus disease (COVID-19) scare is still as real as can be. And don’t believe what they say that Filipinos are safe, because the summer sun will kill the deadly virus.

The Filipino crew of the corona virus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess have tested positive for the disease. And they just arrived at the Clark International Airport via Philippine Airlines. They are now under quarantine.

Cardiologist-internist Dr. Willy Ong warned that the virus is internal in the body, so sun exposure doesn’t mean the end to the disease.

Here are tips the University of the Philippines (UP) Media and Public Relations Office released to the UP community on protecting oneself against the disease. These tips also apply to anyone who wants to stay free from the disease.

Positive for exposure

If you have traveled to China, Macau, Hong Kong or other areas with confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, or if you have had close contact (within one meter) with a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection, you should stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, for 14 days from the date of arrival or exposure. While current data show that people who have symptoms contribute most to the spread of the disease, it may also be possible that people infected with COVID-19 may be infectious before they even show any symptoms.

If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case, or you have been exposed to potential infection during your travels. Please seek consultation with the University Health Service on campus, or at the nearest health facility, and undergo a health assessment before resuming your daily routine.

At this point, you will be considered a Person Under Monitoring (PUM), and you will be advised to go on self-quarantine for 14 days. Here are some home quarantine instructions for PUMs:

  • Stay at home except when getting medical care.
  • Separate yourself from the other people in your home.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and sanitize with alcohol.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with tissue.
  • Wear a face mask with the colored side facing outward.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

Positive for symptoms

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 through your travels or through close contact with a confirmed case, and you are showing respiratory symptoms, here is what you should do:

  1. Seek consultation with your University Health Service on campus or go to the nearest health facility. Once there, you will be asked to fill out a form that will include questions about your travel history and/or if you have come into contact with a confirmed case. Make sure you wear your face mask properly and call ahead.
  2. You will be brought to a holding area where the physician on duty will more closely investigate the timing of your symptoms. At this point, you will be designated as Patient Under Investigation (PUI).
  3. The physician will inform the City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU) or the Municipal Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (MESU), and will continue to coordinate with the CESU/MESU in monitoring your condition, which will include admitting you to specialized hospitals with the capacity to treat the disease.

Preventive measures

When it comes to good health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Follow these infectious respiratory disease-prevention rules from the Department of Health and World Health Organization:

  1. OBSERVE PROPER HAND HYGIENE. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (or two rounds of “Happy Birthday”), and, if available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. REMEMBER THAT YOUR FACE IS SACRED. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Your hands may have touched contaminated surfaces, and you can transfer germs from the surface to yourself.
  3. RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE. Avoid crowded places and maintain at least a one-meter or three-foot distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
  4. PRACTICE GOOD COUGH ETIQUETTE. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and properly and immediately dispose of the tissue. Wash your hands properly afterward. (Refer to Item No. 1.) You may be asked to wear a face mask to protect others.
  5. WEAR THE FACE MASK PROPERLY. Wear the face mask with the colored side facing outward, fully covering the nose, mouth, and chin. Never touch the mask with your hands. Remove the mask by holding only the strings. Properly dispose of the mask. Wear a face mask only when necessary, such as if you are immunocompromised or have a cough and cold.
  7. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTER CONTACT WITH PETS. Although there is no evidence yet that pets can be infected with COVID-19, this will help prevent the spread of other germs such as E. coli and Salmonella. Also, wash your hands with soap and water after visiting an animal market or wet market, and avoid unprotected contact with wild or farm animals.
  8. WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING THINGS SUCH AS DOOR KNOBS AND TABLE TOPS. Although coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters and packages, they have been detected on places like door knobs, table tops or other surfaces.
  9. KEEP YOUR GADGETS AND PERSONAL ITEMS CLEAN. Disinfect your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, bags, eyeglasses, etc. regularly.
  10. GET YOUR INFORMATION ONLY FROM THE PROPER AUTHORITIES to prevent the spread of fake news and disinformation. Proper health authorities include your University Health Service on campus, the Department of Health and its city and regional offices, and the WHO.
  11. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and drinking plenty of water. A strong immune system will be better able to fight off COVID-19, as well as other diseases.