Right now just about anything anyone can talk about is COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. Its rapid spread and drastic changes it’s made to our lives have been unprecedented. But to ensure you and your family stay safe, the most important thing you can do is be informed. And, if you think that you may have COVID-19, there are certain precautions to take.
COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization, is zoonotic which means the virus can be spread between animals and humans. In fact, some believe contaminated meat in Wuhan, China was how the virus was first introduced to people. However, this is only one strand of coronavirus; several other strands circulate between animals but have yet to affect people.
Coronavirus has several cold and flu-like symptoms. Some common symptoms of the sickness include cough, difficulty breathing and a fever. Regardless of your past health, it’s imperative to call your physician or go to the hospital for proper testing if you being to have these symptoms. But in an NPR article, Jeffrey Shaman says that people who carry the virus can also be asymptomatic. The professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University says that the virus lives in the nasal passages of people who are infected but show no symptoms. This can contribute to the quiet spread of the virus to others who might actually get sick.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges those who are sick or believe they are sick to follow certain guidelines to help them and stop the spread of the virus to their community. A few of these suggestions are to avoid public transportation, staying home and staying in close contact with your doctor. Especially when living in a multi-person household you must practice in-home isolation. The CDC suggests setting up a specific “sick-room” or anything that will limit contact with your family and pets.
For those who are sick or want to steer clear of the virus, practicing excellent hygiene can be a good first step. The CDC outlines proper handwashing techniques as well as suggestions on cleaning “high-touch” surfaces (like the bathroom and kitchen) and only wear facemasks if you are infected or dealing with someone who is.
Although it may feel like you are doing little, if we all practice these suggestions, we can do our part in minimizing the COVID-19 outbreak.