Coronavirus eyes: Can you get coronavirus through your eyes?
Coronavirus has dug its claws into more than 60 countries as of this month, with nearly 100,000 total infections worldwide. The resulting panic has seen millions of people preparing for a worst-case scenario, with face masks and hand sanitiser rapidly selling out.
Can you get coronavirus through your eyes?
Coronavirus has ignited panic due to its ability to spread between people with ease.
The disease has achieved aerosol transmission, which allows virus particles to pass to people via “droplets” sneezed or coughed out by infected people.
The droplets cause infection when they enter the body, usually via the nose and mouth, and replicate.
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To avoid contracting an infection in this way, people may don a face mask, however, they are not entirely effective as COVID-19 can also enter through the eyes.
Much like the mouth and nose, the eye contains a mucous membrane, via which the virus has a passage to the rest of the body.
The virus is most likely to enter in through these membranes after people touch an infected surface before touching their face.
To avoid increasing infections, health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US warn people against regularly touching their faces.
However, doctors have started asking people to avoid the often automatic urge altogether, as it is a facilitator of infection.
Dr William P Sawyer, an Ohio-based family physician and founder of hand and face hygiene site HenrytheHand.com, said people should “absolutely” avoid it.
He told the New York Times: “The CDC and WHO still say something like ‘avoid’ touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
“The advice should be ‘absolutely do not touch them!’”
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“If you never touch your facial mucous membranes, you’re less likely to be sick again from any viral respiratory infection.”
Doctors insist face touching opens up 11 transmission opportunities per hour if people have touched something infectious.
Extra vigilance is vital to prevent coronavirus from entering the body, as once people have washed their hands or applied sanitiser, it is easy to pick up once again.
Doctor Sawyer added the “one” thing to change during this outbreak is to abstain from T-zone touching.
He said: “Your hands are only clean until the next surface you touch.
“When you reach for the doorknob or hand railing, you’ve recontaminated your hand with something.
“If you touch your mucous membranes, then you could inoculate yourself inadvertently with that organism.
“If there is one behaviour change that could prevent infection, it’s do not touch your T-zone.”
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