Debunking the myths about drinking water and coronavirus
Whilst we advise everyone to stay hydrated, we can debunk one of the myths about Covid-19 – that drinking water regularly can protect you against the virus. It can’t.
Other rumours include drinking only bottled water is safe, or that drinking hot liquids can sterilise the stomach and kill the virus. Again, this is false.
Most dangerous is the advice to drink bleach solutions diluted with water. Please don’t even try this.
The way we catch the virus means these rumours are simplistic, false, and can be dangerous.
It is true that drinking good quality water and staying hydrated can help keep our immune system strong and helps when we are sick. However, it does not make us immune to coronavirus.
Covid-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through the droplets of the breath of infected people and can penetrate if it comes into direct contact with the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes. (To note, normally respiratory diseases are not transmitted with food – please enjoy your takeaway, just decant the food from the container first). The virus can also survive on surfaces, and we can pick up the virus through contamination. Hence the advice to wash our hands, regularly, and to not touch our face.
These myths can be dangerous because of the speed of their dissemination through social media, and because they turn our attention away from the advice given by healthcare experts to help prevent us catching and spreading Covid-19.
In short, drink water yes, but keep washing your hands, and respect social distancing.
Water quality and hygiene
“In places where centralized water treatment and safe piped water supplies are not available, a number of household water treatment technologies are effective in removing or destroying viruses, including boiling or using high-performing ultrafiltration or nanomembrane filters, solar irradiation and, in non-turbid waters, UV irradiation and appropriately dosed free chlorine.“
This is good news for the UK where mains water supplies are safe. However, many businesses and homes care about the quality of their drinking water and choose drinking water products such as coolers, dispensers, filtered water taps, drinking fountains and bottle fillers to dispense premium quality water.
So how can we ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy using drinking water products safely?
Keeping your dispenser safe and clean
Regular maintenance of your drinking water source is essential – whether you have a water cooler in an office, or a public drinking fountain.
- Periodic and complete sanitisation of the system, (the Water Cooler & Hydration Association (WH) recommends 3-months for bottled water coolers, and 6-months for point-of-use (POU) machines.
- Replacement of filters
- Daily cleaning of the dispensing spouts/taps and the drip tray
- Instant boiling/sparkling taps, like the nozzles of the water dispensers, are critical points, particularly exposed to microbial contamination. Very often cleaning is carried out with normal kitchen sponges which can be loaded with germs, which can go up the pipes and pollute the water at the point of use (called retro-contamination). To prevent this from happening, it is essential to use sanitising products with suitable sponges or tea towels and always keep the entire tap area clean.
In addition to these good hygiene procedures, in times of heightened need for good hygiene like in the current Covid-19 crisis, attention should be paid to further simple behavioural guidelines to help avoid coronavirus infection:
- Try and avoid sharing glasses, bottles and flasks with others;
- If you are sharing a water dispenser or fountain/filler, continue to maintain a safe distance of 2 metres from others;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based gel;
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;
- Clean surfaces with alcohol-based/ antibacterial disinfectants.
Good machine maintenance and sensible behaviour using any dispenser or fountain continues to be important, as does staying healthy and hydrated.
If you wish to know more about hygiene for water coolers & fountains or speak with us about our hygiene range of drinking water products contact us.