Water is known to give and sustain life on Earth. Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, water serves as our protection against COVID-19. In a recent technical brief for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), WHO has stressed the importance of having safe water, sanitation, and hygienic conditions in protecting human health during a pandemic. Water is perhaps the most valuable resource that we have now. But with the increased water usage to fight COVID-19, the availability and sustainability of water resources become a concern for everyone.
How can water protect us against COVID-19?
Even before the pandemic, health organizations and experts have already cited the importance of proper handwashing in safeguarding health. If done properly it can prevent the spread of germs and viruses like the COVID-19. The CDC has provided guidelines on proper handwashing with additional precautions for COVID-19. This entails the use of soap and water plus a thorough scrub of palms, back of the hands, and in between fingers that lasts for at least 20 seconds.
In our house, we have adapted the DOH and CDC Guidelines for frequent handwashing. I even got a stool for Sam to stand on so she doesn’t have to strain during handwashing. I also let her pick a 20-second song to sing during the scrubbing part. We make it a habit to wash our hands before and after eating or touching food items.
Handwashing must also be done in the following instances:
⦁after blowing our nose, coughing or sneezing
⦁after using the toilet
⦁after handling garbage
⦁when our hands are visibly dirty
⦁after visiting public places, including public transportation, markets
⦁after touching surfaces outside of the home, including money
⦁before going inside the house after going out for errands.
Aside from handwashing, water is also utilized in hygiene and sanitation practices. Those who visit public places are advised to discard clothing and bathe before coming into contact with any of their housemates. Discarded clothing is also soaked in water with disinfectant before washing. Since the virus can also survive on surfaces for a limited time, it is also recommended to wipe down dry goods and wash fresh produce in running water before storing. This has been our routine whenever my husband Monch goes out for grocery and errand runs.
How do we disinfect our house during the coronavirus?
Like other people, we’ve also become more vigilant in keeping our surroundings clean and disinfected which again entails the use of water. I use the formula of 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water for my DIY disinfectant which is used for cleaning surfaces, rags, and mops.
⦁We make sure that the floor is clean and dry leaving no damp corners that could be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.
⦁Frequently touched objects and surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. can transmit the virus if they are contaminated. Thus we make sure that they are regularly cleaned and disinfected using multi-purpose cleaners and disinfectant spray.
⦁Plates, mugs, knives, forks, spoons, and other cutleries are disinfected by boiling water or steam for 15 minutes after washing, or sometimes, we use our disinfection/sterilizing cabinet.
⦁For our toilet, we usually clean our basin and toilet bowls on a daily basis, with a proper amount of disinfectant fluid sprayed on surfaces for disinfection, and plenty of tap water used for rinsing after disinfection to prevent pipe corrosion. Surfaces like the door handles, taps, bidet shower, countertops, basins, mirrors, walls behind the basins, paper and soap dispensers in the toilet are also cleaned with a wet cloth and disinfecting multi-purpose cleaner.
⦁To make sure everything is meticulously clean, we soak mops, rags, and other cleaning tools in chlorine-containing disinfectant for 30 minutes after every use. We then wash them and let them air-dry.
UV light from the sun and artificial sources can also be used to disinfect objects. You can air dry rags, mats, and mops under the sun for added sterilization.
Even in a pandemic, water still runs
The water crisis in the summer of 2019 made us aware of the need to conserve water. We were again reminded of it with the rotational water interruptions implemented just before the pandemic. It was a good thing that Maynilad was able to provide an uninterrupted water supply during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
What can we do?
Water is needed for washing, sanitation, and hygiene practices which are essential in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are still enjoying continuous water supply, consumers need to be more responsible with their water use. You don’t have to scrimp on water, you just need to be prudent in using this very valuable resource.