If you own a tv, radio, phone, or ears, chances are you’ve heard about coronavirus sweeping the world right now. Heartbreakingly, the virus has claimed thousands of lives worldwide, but its impact is also being felt economically, socially, and in countless other ways on a global scale.
The virus is a particularly serious public health concern in China, but the risk to most people outside China remains pretty low. That said, it’s never a bad idea to exercise caution to protect ourselves and stay healthy, no matter where we call home.
In this article, we’ll discuss what coronavirus is, how it’s transmitted, what its symptoms are, and how to effectively protect ourselves according to CDC guidelines.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses belong to a broad category of viruses that can infect animals as well as humans. Coronaviral infections in humans are largely respiratory-based and can range from a common cold to potentially life-threatening diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
How is Coronavirus Transmitted?
Much like the flu or a common cold, coronavirus is most commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, saliva, or nasal discharge from an infected person.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Coronavirus?
Symptoms of coronavirus can range from mild to very serious. Most commonly, an infected person can expect a fever, cough, runny nose, and sore throat. For some, the symptoms can be quite severe, such as difficulty breathing. In rare cases, coronavirus can be fatal. Usually, people with pre-existing medical conditions- heart disease, diabetes, or conditions that cause an immune deficiency are more at risk. Older people (80 and above) may also be more vulnerable.
What Should We Do to Stay Safe?
- The wash-your-hands mantra is very much applicable to preventing coronavirus, as it is with pretty much every other airborne virus. Wash with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene by sneezing and coughing into your elbow, NOT your hands. Using a tissue is also a good idea, be sure to throw it out right away, preferably into a closed bin.
- See a doctor right away if you begin to exhibit symptoms. Especially if you’ve recently traveled to the area of China most affected, or have come in close contact with someone who has recently been there. Even if none of these conditions apply, it’s never a bad idea to get to the doctor when you’ve got a fever, cough, etc. These can be symptoms of another, more common virus which should be treated anyway.
- Keep a respectable distance between yourself and others, especially those who are sneezing, coughing, and have a fever. These are very possibly the symptoms of a plain old cold- but it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution. I mean, we don’t want a cold either, right?
- Try to avoid touching your face, particularly the nose, mouth, and eyes. Touching your face after touching a contaminated surface significantly increases the risk of infection.
- Thoroughly cook animal products. Just as with basic sanitation, handle unpasteurized milk, raw eggs, raw meat, etc. with caution. Avoid cross-contamination while cooking.
You may have noticed we haven’t included wearing a mask on this list of precautions. This is because it is actually a misnomer that wearing an N-95 mask will protect someone from getting the virus.
That said, it’s completely understandable if you’re more comfortable wearing a mask to shield the nose and mouth- you certainly wouldn’t be in the minority. Not surprisingly, NCO has been sold out of masks for weeks (as has pretty much everyone else), and the manufacturers are back-ordered to the point that once the product is available again, they’ll be rationing how much we can purchase.
To remain proactive, we are selling individually wrapped hand sanitizing wipes, perfect for keeping in your purse, backpack, car, briefcase, or wherever they’ll come in handy. Be sure to wipe down door handles, light switches, hard surfaces, even your phone (maybe especially your phone…). These are some of the most frequently touched areas we come into contact with every day, and they could use a little extra attention.
Be sure to take precautions and stay healthy- eat right, drink lots of fluids, and wash your hands regularly. Chances are, coronavirus won’t hit close to home for you and your loved ones- but hey, do it anyway! Best case scenario: you might just be able to keep everyone in the house cold and flu-free this season. (fingers crossed)
*****This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.*****