Association of Reflexologists Coronavirus (Covid-19) –
Information and Practice Guidance
What is Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they can transfer from animals to humans.
The newest strain to be identified is Covid-19 and this is different to MERS and SARS as the spectrum of disease is broad. Currently around 80% of cases have mild symptoms, 20% have severe symptoms – but there are also those who display no symptoms which makes it harder to control.
Why is Covid-19 such a concern?
Covid-19 appears to be highly infectious and is thought to have spread to nearly every country in the world. Since it emerged in China approximately 5 months ago more than 4 million people are known to have been infected and with over 285,000 deaths as of the 12th May 2020. As a result we have seen most countries entering periods of ‘Lockdown’ to try control the spread of the disease and prevent excess strain being placed on the healthcare systems.
Governments are worried about this as it’s a new virus that appears to be unpredictable. Also viruses can mutate and change quickly so they need to be treated with respect and caution.
What are the symptoms?
Common signs of infection include:
- respiratory symptoms
- shortness of breath
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste and breathing difficulties
- New marks, rashes, spots, bumps, or other lesions on your skin
Most people infected with Covid-19 will experience mild symptoms and will recover without hospital treatment, some show no symptoms and others may have more severe symptoms including pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How is Coronavirus spread
This virus spreads via droplets so when a person coughs or sneezes this can be directly transferred into the mouths, eyes or noses of people who are nearby -within 2m of an infected person. If the droplets land on surfaces these can also be picked up on the hands of others and can cause infection if the person touches their mouth, nose or eyes.
Basic measures to protect yourself
The goal is to minimise the risk of cross infection; us picking up infection from others and us passing anything to others.
The WHO states ‘standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.’
Simple measures include:
Transitional handwashing – This is washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before you leave home and then as soon as you arrive at your destination. If handwashing is not available then Hand sanitising gel (with a minimum of 60% alcohol) should be used.
This limits the risk of transferring anything from one environment to another.
Wiping down hard surfaces with multipurpose disinfectant spray before you use them especially if using communal spaces like offices, shared computers and rented treatment rooms.
Wipe down doorknobs of make sure that you open and close the door not your clients.
Social distancing – where possible – Maintain a 2m gap between people, if this is not possible the current advice is that people should wear a face covering
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth – as these are ways the virus can enter the body
Good respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or use the inside of your elbow) when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread virus
Follow your government guidance on staying home in the area where you live– this will be changing over the coming months and may vary throughout the UK.
Handwashing technique is key
Wash hands for at least 20 seconds this can be timed by humming 2 rounds of Happy Birthday as you wash and use a good handwashing technique.
Useful NHS videos here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAwS0UslEDs
& WHO one here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IisgnbMfKvI
All our AoR members will be following this advice.
As a practitioner, you will always need to consider your own health and vulnerability as well as that of those around you:
- If you, or someone in your household, are showing symptoms of the Coronavirus such as a dry cough, fever or loss of smell or taste, follow the government guidelines for self-isolation. You will not be able to treat clients until fully recovered and all members of your household are out of the quarantine period.
- If you have come in to contact with someone who has tested positive for the Coronavirus, please also follow the government guidelines for self-isolation. You will not be able to treat clients at this time.
- In line with these government guidelines, review your own health, your family’s health and consider if you fall in to the vulnerable category – e.g. over 70 years of age, pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant, or immune compromised due to underlying health conditions. If you do, you need to be following the social distancing guidelines set out by the government. You may not be able to treat clients at this time.If you are in a position to personally re-open your practice then consider the health and vulnerability of your clients. Information on this is provided in the ‘Can I Treat’ infographic.
The AoR works very closely with our recommended insurance broker, Alan Boswell. If your insurance is with Alan Boswell you are covered to work, once Government advises that we can, as long as you follow the AoR Guidelines and complete a Risk Assessment before each treatment. If you are insured elsewhere please check you are insured to return to work and whether there are any additional requirements.
Risk Assessment forms are available to download for free from the Members’ Area of the AoR website, or pads of risk assessment forms are on sale in the AoR shop: www.aor.uk.
As a member of the AoR you can access much more information in the member’s area of the website. For example, downloadable materials and infographics, and a checklist to help you think about changes that you may need to make to your practice to be Covid-19 Secure which covers:
- Restoration of therapy businesses in the light of Covid-19 Government advice
- Extra hygiene steps required under Covid-19 considerations.
The following 2 sections give concise examples of those materials:
Place of Practice:
Before treating any clients, you will need to consider:
- Travel implications – Both yours and your client’s journey to the treatment space – does it put either of you at risk?
- Hand washing* – Do you have access for your clients to wash their hands before treatment starts? If not you will need to provide sanitiser gel in a pump dispenser (minimum 60% alcohol).
- Maximise space – Can you arrange your treatment space to increase the minimum distance between you and your client?
- Anti-viral wipes or spray – Do you have enough to clean any hard surfaces between each client?
- Cleaning time – Are you able to allow 15 minutes between clients to clean all surfaces and open a window (if available)?
- Uniforms – Have you enough uniforms for frequent change? You should consider whether you wish to change your uniform more frequently, especially if you feel there is a greater risk of contamination eg if someone were to sneeze near you.
- Facial coverings – Have you enough facial coverings to be able to use one per treatments if the government guidelines continue to recommend facial covering for close contact?
- NHS Covid-19 QR Poster – You, or your clinic must display this.
- Remove any non-essential items from your treatment room – we advise that you remove any non-essential items such as ornaments, leaflets, and magazines to keep your work area as easy to clean as possible.
What you will need to consider prior to treatments:
- AoR Risk assessments – Until further notice, for each client, you will need to contact them and perform the AoR Risk assessment before agreeing to treat.
- Facial coverings** – at this time Government advice recommends facial coverings, so you may wish to stipulate that they provide their own face covering.
- Payment – it might be easier to set up contactless or on-line payment in advance rather than taking payment after treatment.
- NHS Covid-19 Tracker App – Encourage each client to sign up for the app and use the QR code in your clinic.
What you will need to consider for when clients arrive:
- Maintain social distancing – no hand-shakes or hugs.
- Check if their health situation has changed (i.e. since you performed the risk assessment, have they had any Covid-19 symptoms, or been in contact with anyone with symptoms).
- Hand washing* – Ask them to wash their hands when they arrive (or use a hand sanitiser with a minimum of 60% alcohol)
- Hygiene – Go through your normal hygiene routine (taking particular care to wash your own hands thoroughly).
- Protective equipment requirements – these differ for the devolved Governments; please check the country you work in and abide by their requirements.
What you will need to consider for the end of the treatment:
- Hand washing* – Offer them the opportunity to wash their hands before leaving the treatment space and wash your own hands.
- Payment – If been made in advance then use contactless credit/debit card if possible, rather than cash.
- Re-booking – For a follow-up appointment confirm that you will call them beforehand to perform the AoR Risk Assessment.
- Water – ask your clients to bring their own bottle of water and if possible only remove mask to drink when they have left.
- Cleaning – Wipe down any hard surfaces your client may have touched with anti-viral wipes or spray.
- Ventilation – Open the door and window (if there is one) to allow air circulation.
- Facial covering** will need to be changed in preparation for your next client.
- Uniform – do you need to change your uniform before the next client?
*Hand soap and hand sanitiser should be from a pump dispenser.
MAR Reflexologists – taking hygiene seriously
The Association of Reflexologists have provided information and materials to our members to ensure that when we are allowed to work, we work safely. We have AoR Covid-19 Secure Hygiene Guidelines, risk assessments and much more.
Look for our Covid-19 Secure Workplace Logo – ensure you are in safe hands