According to CNN, the novel coronavirus is now a “public health emergency of international concern,” killing more than 3,000 people and infecting more than 88,000 worldwide. As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, what are the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family?
First, let’s look at what are the symptoms?
Fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and trouble breathing are some of the most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus. “It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties,” the World Health Organization says. “More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”
So, how can you protect yourself?
Top tip: Wash your hands!
Why? Viruses can spread from person to person via respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, close contacts can be infected. In addition, the virus can end up on doorknobs, elevator buttons, and other surfaces. If you touch those surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can become infected.
It is recommended to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Don’t forget to also wash the backs of your hands and under your nails too. The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.
If you’re the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don’t use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.
Here’s what you can do:
- Keep your hands clean and keep your distance from sick people.
- Unless you are already infected, face masks won’t help you.
- Prepare your plan if you were to be infected.
- Most importantly – Take a deep breath and keep calm.
- About to go on vacation? Consider your destination and how you feel about risk.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.