The coronavirus is everywhere in the news today and you might be wondering how you can protect yourself. Experts are expecting that this virus will become a global pandemic. For that reason alone, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It is easy to get confused and even anxious amidst the flurry of news stories on the spread of the virus. That is why it is important to take a step back and make sure all of us are following trusted sources for information. It is also important we are fully informed on how the virus is spread, so that we are well prepared if it does arrive in your community, and you can act, not react.
Additionally, it is equally important to share messages about avoiding assumptions about who may have been in contact with the virus. No one should be harassed or discriminated against due to biased assumptions or overreactions about who may be in contact with the virus in our communities.
Finally, it is important to note that flu season is still ongoing, and more likely to affect your household than the coronavirus. Further, the information listed below is not a substitute for advice from a medical professional, and if you have concerns, you should reach out medical care.
What is the coronavirus?
The Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in in Wuhan, China. As of now, the virus has started spreading in other countries outside of China including the United States (Source: CDC). Read more about the virus.
How does the coronavirus spread?
Like the flu, the coronavirus spreads from person-to-person among close contacts and it depends upon exposure to an infected person in order to make someone sick. It is unclear if the virus is highly contagious between people and for this reason it is important to take preventive steps to avoid getting sick. (Source: CDC).
What should I do to prevent myself from getting sick with coronavirus?
We should take the same preventive measures for the flu virus—avoid contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If you do not have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus so the best way to reduce our risk of infection is to take these preventive steps. (Source: CDC).
What are the symptoms?
Patients with coronavirus disease experience mild respiratory illness with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is believed that most infected people will develop symptoms two to 14 days after they were exposed. Seek medical care if you think you might be infected with the virus. (Source: CDC). Read more about symptoms.
If I present symptoms or suspect that I am infected with coronavirus, what do I do?
-Stay home, except when you need to seek health care.
-Avoid contact with other people and pets.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
-Call your medical provider before you reach their office to let them know you might be infected with the virus.
-Wear a mask before going outside to avoid the spread of the disease.
-Watch your symptoms closely and call 911 if you have a medical emergency.
Call ahead to a health care professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your health care professional about your recent travel or contact. Your health care professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. (Source: CDC).
Share the below infographics with your friends and family. If we are all well-informed, we can stop coronavirus in its tracks.
What do you need to know about the coronavirus?
What do you do if you’re sick?
Stop the spread of germs.
Symptoms of the coronavirus 2019.
Information provided by UnidosUS and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control.
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