Bill Harvey: Stay clean
Author: Bill Harvey
It seems that there is a place for expert opinion after all. And who better to offer expert advice on matters related to eye care than you? Here are some questions I have recently fielded.
What is herd immunity? This represents population immunity based on a majority having immunity conferred by a vaccine or previous infection, so covering the safety of the outlying minority who might not gain immunity through these routes. This applies when a vaccine is available, or immunity post-infection is confirmed. This is not yet the case with Covid-19, so our focus has to be avoidance of transmission – especially to those most at risk of mortality. As this risk group, the elderly, are also a major part of our patient base, we need to be very aware of this at all times (my domiciliary clinics have been postponed for the moment).
I cannot get anti-bacterial gel – should I worry? Thorough hand washing with soap (or even washing up liquid) will dissolve the lipid bilayer making the virus inactive.
Why avoid touching the face? A common route for infection is touching a communal surface (door handle, taps, toilet flush, light switches, hand rails) and then touching the face, allowing the virus to enter the trachea via the oral or lacrimal drainage route. So, wash hands after touching these surfaces and keep away from the face. The virus may stay active on surfaces for several days.
As the situation changes from day to day, remember that most journals are making any paper relating to coronavirus free to access; this includes those in the BMJ and Lancet as well as eye-related titles. College of Optometrists members also have OpenAthens permissions to access relevant journals free of charge. And do not discount the US, despite you-know-who. For example, check out the excellent advice offered by the AAO www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context.