The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is now a global scare owing to a rapid outbreak. The number of confirmed cases has crossed 109,000 across 95 countries. 34 states in the U.S. have confirmed cases with the largest counts coming from New York, California, and Washington. The Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases has warned that a domestic outbreak is just a matter of time.
With the rising tide, it’s time we start taking protective measures. Given below are some easy steps.
Identify the signs
There is no protection without awareness. The Centre for Disease Control has pointed out that coughing, fever, and shortness of breath are symptoms of coronavirus. The symptoms might show any time between 2 days to 2 weeks since exposure. According to experts, the virus is probably spreading mainly through coughing and sneezing. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, the persons nearby are also getting infected.
The major factor that is accelerating the spread is that if the symptoms are not clear, we are confusing it with common flu and the treatment is getting delayed. And with the time to identify the symptoms even taking over 2 weeks at times, it gets all the more difficult to find the patients.
Wash hands properly
The foremost way to safeguard yourself is by decisively washing your hands. Take your time, rinse with cold or warm water and soap and lather, scrub and clean them as effectively as possible. If feasible, carry a sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol content.
Hand washing is a must before you eat or after blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing.
Try not to touch your face
Try to keep your hands away from your face, even if clean. Your hands feed your eyes, nose, and mouth, and the virus would also like to take that route. Suppose an infected person coughed on a surface and you have touched that unknowingly. Now the virus gets to travel to all your facial mucous membranes via your hands. So, a hands-off policy would suit just fine!
Think before buying a mask
Buying masks has become a rage. But remember that it is the infected populace that needs the masks to stop spreading the virus. The CDC has already recommended that masks be used only by the infected and it is not very helpful as a preventive tool. Doctors, nurses, and infected people must have masks on them at all times.
If you are already not feeling well due to cold or flu, it’s best you stay at home. When we are ill, our immunity power is already down and the virus can attack us easier. If you notice any symptoms, immediately seek medical help.
Even if you are not sick, best to avoid gatherings and be spared of the spread from those not responsible enough. CDC recommends a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals.
Keep essential supplies in stock
If in lockdown mode, ensure that you are adequately stocked up. As per the New York Times, experts suggest keeping supplies of essential medicines, household items, and staples you will need for at least a month.
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t travel. With Coronavirus emerging a pandemic, countries all across are closing their doors. CDC has already advised against traveling to countries like China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Japan should be avoided too if you are especially susceptible to infections. While the CDC mentions that the risk of the virus spreading in airplanes is low, it is better to avoid travel altogether.
A word of caution for pregnant women and the sick or elderly. As their immunity is already below par, they are particularly vulnerable to the spread.
Remember, prevention always trumps cure. So be cautious, spread awareness, and stay healthy.