According to health officials, the coronavirus has and will likely continue to appear in communities in the United States. What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
Most of what you’ll hear will be common sense and not a whole lot different from what you may do to escape the flu or any other viruses for that matter…but the coronavirus is a moderately infectious virus and can be transmitted pretty easily.
What exactly is the coronavirus? It’s a virus named for its crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. It can infect both people and animals and cause a range of respiratory illnesses from a common cold to more dangerous illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Symptoms will emerge within 2-14 days and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus, which originated in China has spread to every continent except Antarctica.
What should you do? The virus is probably transmitted through sneezing, coughs and contaminated surfaces, droplets in the air from the cough or sneeze can land in the mouth or nose of a person nearby, within 6 feet…so…WASH YOUR HANDS…A LOT!
Scientists are estimating that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures. During the SARS epidemic, hand-washing reduced the risk of transmission by 30-50%. Contain your germs…if you need to cough or sneeze, do so in your elbow to avoid germs on your hands which can transfer to other surfaces quickly. The C.D.C. also does not recommend face masks for a healthy person… most of these masks (unless you are a health professional) are not fitted tight enough to prevent inhaling the virus.
Of course, if you are sick, the masks will help prevent the spread of a virus. Recently the surgeon general urged the public to stop buying masks to avoid a shortage for health care professionals. Alcohol is a good disinfectant for the coronavirus (and other viruses) so make sure to keep surfaces clean, emptying your trash with used tissues often, wiping down highly touched surfaces, such as phones, remotes, etc.
What if I’m traveling? Currently, travel within the United States is currently safe. But, this could change in an instant. If you are traveling outside the United States, check the C.D.C. Travel Warnings. These warnings are constantly evolving and changing by the day.