How To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus

Here's everything you need to know.

With the virus spreading worldwide, we need to know how to protect ourselves.

What is the coronavirus and how dangerous is it?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause infections, from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars). This "new" coronavirus is unusual for a few reasons:

1. It is believed that it jumped from animals to humans, which is unusual.

2. It became transmissible from human to human, which is even more unusual.

3. Someone infected might not show any symptoms for up to 14 days (some experts say 24 days!) after exposure, and in this period the infected person is very contagious.

4. It's spread very fast, with over 79,000 registered cases and over 2,600 deaths until now.

The virus affects the respiratory system, causing lung lesions similar to pneumonia.

Coronavirus symptoms

Here are the most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus:

1. Fever

2. Cough

3. Runny nose

4. Sore throat

5. Headache

6. Shortness of breath

7. Chills

8. Body aches

In other words, the symptoms are very similar to the common cold, and in most cases, you won't even know if you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus. According to the Worl Health Organization, "It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties."

The disease can be fatal, but this is rare.

"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."

Currently, there is no vaccine for coronavirus, but you can protect yourself by maintaining proper hygiene and avoiding crowded spaces.

How does it spread?

The virus is thought to spread

1. Between people who are in close contact,

2. Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

3. By touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

As this virus is a 'new' one, medical experts don't know everything about it just yet. It is believed that this virus might be killed by high temperatures, but this isn't a certainty yet. We know it can be deadly, but the fatalities registered by now have been older people or people with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, or heart disease.

Is there a cure for novel coronavirus?

More than 25,000 people have recovered from coronavirus until now. There is no known cure, but the symptoms are treated and patients can recover.

Here's what you should do to protect yourself from the coronavirus.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS

Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty. Do it frequently. You can't wash your hands too often. After being in a public place, after touching objects and surfaces that have been touched by others, before you eat, after you use the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, after being around sick people, before - during - and after you prepare food, when your hands are dirty, after handling animal waste. When in doubt, wash your hands.

2. Maintain social distance.

Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. If possible, avoid crowded places.

3. Avoid touching your face.

Make sure you wash your hands before touching your nose, mouth, eyes. Hands touch many surfaces that can be contaminated with the virus.

4. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

However, don't panic. If you haven't traveled in areas where the virus has been reported, or you haven't been in contact with others who might have, don't go running to the ER. If you have mild symptoms and no travel history to China or other areas where outbreaks have been reported, practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered.

5. As a general precaution, practice general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets

Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands; and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.

6. Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products

Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

7. STAY HOME if you feel sick.

AND WASH YOUR HANDS. That's our best weapon against coronavirus and many other viruses. Stay safe!

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