The World Health Organization’s online information about coronavirus includes answers to questions about preventing its spread. Following is the agency’s advice regarding what methods can and cannot kill the virus or otherwise prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Further below is information form the US EPA. Coronaviruses are what are called enveloped viruses, “meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product,” the EPA says. “Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release. “EPA is providing this important information in a public and transparent manner on disinfectant products to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that for “disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.”
Hand-washing: Frequent washing with soap and water is effective in killing the virus. The water does not need to be hot or even warm. Dry hands thoroughly with a towel, paper towel or hand dryer.
Hand sanitizers: As an alternative to soap and water, a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can be used. Most commonly available sanitizers have at least that much alcohol.
Hand dryers: Hot-air dryers by themselves do not kill the virus.
Ultraviolet disinfection lamp: WHO discourages their use because of the potential for skin irritation.
Saline nose rinse: There is no evidence it fends off coronavirus infection, or any respiratory infection.
Spraying alcohol or chlorine on one’s body: This will not kill viruses that have entered the body, and it can harm mucous membranes. Alcohol (75 percent solution) and bleach- or chlorine-based disinfectants are appropriate for cleaning surfaces, if used according to instructions.
Garlic: No effect on coronavirus.
Sesame oil on the body: No effect on coronavirus.
Herbal remedies: No effect on coronavirus.
Smoking: No effect on coronavirus.
Vaccines: Flu or pneumonia vaccines have no effect on the coronavirus.
Antibiotics: They work only against bacteria, not any virus.
Masks: Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. A healthy person needs to wear a mask only if taking care of a person with suspected coronavirus infection. Follow proper procedure in putting on, removing and disposing of the masks, including washing hands with soap and water before and after wearing a mask and not touching the front of a mask. Multiple masks are not more effective than one properly adjusted mask.
COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE DISINFECTANTS APPROVED BY EPA
Public health officials have said that while the overall risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus is still low for most of the American public, one of the proactive steps everyone can take to prevent any respiratory illness this time of year is to clean and sanitize your environment often.
The Environmental Protection Agency released THIS LIST of disinfectant products approved for use against COVID-19 on surfaces, including multiple products from brand such as Clorox and Lysol. Some of the specific products include Clorox toilet cleaner with bleach, Clorox disinfecting spray, Lysol disinfectant max cover mist, Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, and Lysol multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant spray.
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An EPA spokesperson said the companies had to demonstrate their products are effective against viruses that are even “harder-to-kill” than the novel coronavirus. They also noted that any products without an EPA registration number haven’t been reviewed by the agency.
EPA does not review other household products, such as vinegar, or whether they’re effective against viruses and bacteria, the spokesperson said.