In recent years, health professionals around the world have become increasingly concerned with the spread of infectious diseases.
Outbreaks of coronavirus, swine flu, avian (bird) flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) mean that infectious diseases have taken on a global context and are now on the agenda of world leaders and health policymakers alike.
Islam is a holistic belief system and it takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of individuals and societies.
Although care of the individual is important, safeguarding communities, including its weakest members, is of paramount importance.
More than 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, thought his followers hygiene practices that are still applicable in the 21st century.
Infection control in Islam includes isolation and quarantine.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) instituted strategies that are today implemented by public health authorities.
He commanded his followers not to travel to places known to be afflicted with illness and he advised those in the contaminated areas or communities not to leave and spread the disease further afield.
After the latest outbreak of the coronavirus, the US CDC (Center of Disease Control) released a set of recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
How to protect yourself
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
How to protect others
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following
- Stay home while you are sick
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms
- Take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
If you are mildly sick, you should
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Stay home and rest