When a highly infectious outbreak sweeps across the world, what can you do to protect yourself?
Whether it’s Covid-19, cholera, influenza, or any other kind of infection, here are three ways to ensure you have some safety mechanisms in place.
1. Financial protection: Insurance
The first step towards protecting yourself and your family is from a financial aspect. Ask yourself how you can ensure a seamless stream of income in the event you do contract an infection.
The answer is to not only have sufficient insurance coverage but to also be aware of what exactly is being covered.
Some questions to consider:
- If I am hospitalised, can I claim the costs of my pre-hospitalisation, hospitalisation, and post-hospitalisation?
- If yes, how much?
- Is the health scare an illness that is covered by my critical illness coverage?
- In the unfortunate event of paralysis, permanent disability, or death occurs, will my heir be given a payout?
- Is the payout sufficient for my family to function for a few months? Do I need to increase my premium?
- What processes do I need to adhere to or what documents do I need to provide to ensure the claims are approved?
- Does your policy cover outbreaks that are classified by the World Health Organisation as epidemics?
2. Health protection: Good hygiene and health habits
Whether the infections are viral or bacterial, maintaining good hygiene is key to ensuring a lesser chance of you picking up germs or spreading the virus.
It is good to encourage young children to develop these habits as well and sometimes even older people may need a reminder.
Good personal hygiene practices include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before preparing food, before and after eating, after sneezing or coughing and after handling dirty items.
- Covering your nose and mouth with your hand or handkerchief when sneezing or coughing. You may also opt to use your inner elbow.
Good sanitary habits include:
- Eating only freshly-prepared food cooked in a clean environment.
- Avoiding spaces with polluted air.
- Keeping your home clean.
- Avoiding touching your face with your hands to reduce the chances of virus transfer.
- Ensuring food items are stored in clean containers at the correct temperature.
- Wearing an appropriate face mask depending on the health crisis you are facing (medical mask for Covid-19, N95 mask for haze)
- Avoiding going out if you don’t feel well unless it is to see a doctor.
- Avoiding going near sick people if you can help it. Likewise, avoid visiting hospitals and clinics unless absolutely necessary.
3. Immunity protection
With a strong immune system, you are less likely to be infected by germs or viruses. Even if you do get infected, you have a better chance of fighting the infection.
Get healthier to improve your immune system by exercising regularly, preferably for 30 minutes, five times a week.
- Eat healthier by reducing the intake of fried foods. Opt for healthier cooking methods – steamed, baked, boiled, or grilled.
- Stop eating processed food, and produce exposed to pesticides, hormone injections, and antibiotics.
- Eat five servings of non-starchy food, fruit and vegetables a day. Remember to add more fibre in your diet as well as more food with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Take health supplements when necessary.
- Stay hydrated by drinking enough water, while avoiding carbonated drinks and reducing your alcohol intake.
- Maintain your weight by keeping your BMI within the normal range.
- Get sufficient sleep daily and remember to take frequent breaks from work.
- Preserve your mental health by being kind to yourself. Forgive others and tackle frustrations rather than dwell on them. Smile more often and spend quality time with family and friends. Do things that spark joy.
- Set health habits like going for routine medical checkups and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
If you’re on medication, take your medication on time and try to avoid altogether or reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. If you’re not a smoker, remember to avoid second-hand smoke.