With rising cases of novel coronavirus around the globe, fear among the people continue to intensify. Learn about these 4 tips on how to protect yourself from coronavirus.
The outbreak of respiratory illness caused by novel coronavirus (virus called SARS-CoV-2 and disease called COVID-19) is causing concern and global panic because of steady increase in number of cases worldwide.
While we are aware that chances of getting the flu in the United States is higher than that of Covid-19, asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 like other virus MERS-CoV is what troubling me the most. Person infected with novel coronavirus could be shedding virus before showing symptoms up to two weeks.
Recent cases of novel coronavirus in the United states with no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected person indicates the evidence of community transmission.
The extent at which virus is circulating is still not clear, but above cases clearly shows community transmission is already started. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, also mentioned that “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness”
Although not pandemic yet, the WHO has called it a global health emergency. What does it mean to public? Should we prepared for it or wait until declaration?
SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory system causing symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. More than 80 percent of people infected recovered without serious complication (Source). Major concern associated with this outbreak is, SARS-CoV-2 can progress and manifests symptoms similar to pneumonia and bronchitis in the elderly or those with existing health problem like heart problem or diabetes.
SARS-CoV-2 is novel virus and there is not enough information yet to develop an antiviral therapy. While we are still waiting for coronavirus vaccination to be available, the best approach to address the concern about SARS-CoV-2 is prevention and getting ready to ward-off coronavirus should it come to that.
Here’s are our 4 tips on how to protect yourself from coronavirus;
TIP # 1. Prevention:
When it comes to preventing viral infection, prevention is key, and it starts with personal hygiene.
One of the most impactful way to stop a coronavirus outbreak, we all know it and still it is hard to put into practice.
Wash Your hands One of the most impactful way to stop a coronavirus outbreak, we all know it and still it is hard to put into practice.
- Wash your hand often with soap and water at least 20 seconds with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with people who are sick. Also, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently
touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. There are two ways the Coronavirus appears to spread — by droplets and contaminated surfaces when in close contact with someone who is ill. Disinfects highly assessed surfaces like toilet seat, doorknobs, counter tops, elevator button etc to keep you safe.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; because hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses.
Avoid Shaking Hands
Handshake is a great way to transfer different microbes like viruses and bacteria from one person to another (Source). So, while we are standing in pre-pandemic state of current coronavirus outbreak, lets make an attempt to avoid contracting or spreading infection by avoiding shaking hands.
Instead, try The Footshake, new trend appeared on social media because of coronavirus outbreak.
— Andrew Backhouse (@Andytwit123) March 2, 2020
Do not wear mask if you are not sick. Mask is for people who are ill to protect others from contracting virus.
TIP # 2. Stock up on Essentials
“This is not the time to panic, but it is a time to prepare — good old-fashioned preparedness planning for your family,” said Rebecca katz, Director of Global Health science and Security.
We need to start thinking about widespread community transmission. Know the facts, order a few supplies and you will be set in case situation get worst. Prepare for the worst but always hope for the best.
Stockpiling extra goods is good idea in case we are stuck inside our homes for long period. Shelf-stable foods is good choice. Also think about freezing vegetables, cooked grains and bread. We should have enough food and water to last us a few weeks.
Here is list of Non-perishable food item that you should consider purchasing.
- Pasta and pasta sauces
- Granola Bars
- Energy Bars
- Ginger ale
- Frozen food
- Fruit Snacks
- Electrolytes solution
- Electrolytes in powder form
- Energy Drinks
Ensure your medical cabinet is well stocked. In case of coronavirus pandemic, these are the things that will fly off first from the shelves. If you or someone else needs a prescription medication in your family, its time to refill NOW. Ensure you have enough medication to last for 3 weeks.
Here’s is the list that will get you covered;
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Relieves mild-to-moderate pain and reduces fever specially if you have kids
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin): Ibuprofen is highly effective as an anti-inflammatory
- Saline nasal spray: Provides natural relief for nasal congestion due to allergies or colds.
- Pepto-Bismol: Treats indigestion, heartburn and the occasional bout of diarrhea
- Bandages and gauze pads: Keep a box of assorted size bandages and a box of gauze pads to cover cuts, scrapes, and burns.
- Antibacterial cream ointment (Neosporin): Use after cleaning minor cuts and burns.
- Stay hydrated items: Such as electrolyte solution, powdered versions are great as you can save unused for a later use
Household items specially disinfectants are needed to clean the contaminated surfaces thoroughly in case it is contaminated by someone who is ill. Highly assessed area of the house such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, counter top, railing of the stairs needs to be cleaned with EPA-approved disinfectant that are effective against COVID-19.
Here is the list of EPA-approved list of disinfectant:
- Bleach: Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruse when properly diluted.
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Clorox Commercial Solutions
- Clorox Disinfecting Spray
- Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
- Klercide 70/30
- Lonza Formulation
- Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
- Lysol Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate
- Oxycide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner
- Peak Disinfectant Wipes
- Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant
- Peroxide Disinfectant and Glass Cleaner
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
- Sani-Prime Germicidal Disposable Wipe
- Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray
Tip # 3. Be Smart About Travel
The most basic way to avoid coronavirus is to avoid airports, hospitals and public places where infected travelers have been. The SARS-Cov-2 has spread to many countries and almost every continent. The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising people not to visit China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The CDC also recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to South Korea, Italy and Iran because of higher chances of getting infected with the virus (Source).
In case you have no choice but to engage in air travel, or you work in an environment where your chances of exposing to infected people or environment is higher, use your conventional wisdom to avoid getting infected with Coronavirus.
How to avoid getting coronavirus from public places:
- Avoid touching stuff. Avoid touching elevator buttons, doorknobs, handrails and places where many other hands have touched. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you and clean hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Hard to do but it is extremely important to avoid contracting COVID 19.
- Cover your mouth when sneezes and coughs. To avoid spreading droplets to people near you, cover your mouth when you sneeze or coughs.
Is there anything else that we can do other that applying common sense to avoid contracting Covid-19? See below!!
Tip # 4. Keep your Immune System Operating Optimally
So far virus has infected nearly 100,000 people globally and killed around 3,500 but if you look at the pattern, elderly and people with compromised immune system are the victims of the COVID-19.
The first large study conducted in China (published at MedRxiv) calculated how co-morbidity affected the risk of being admitted to intensive care, being put on ventilator, or dying in 1,590 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The result from the study showed that 399 patients with at least one additional disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis B, chronic kidney disease, COPD and cancer had a grater chances of requiring intensive care, ventilator or of dying after taking into account the patient’s age and other factors.
Results from the study suggests that being elderly and having compromised immune system, increases your chance of developing serious respiratory infection so it is important to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
As we age, our immune response weakens, which in turn contributes to more infections. Although the immune system can decline with age, there are steps people can take throughout their lives to keep their immune system going strong.
The immune system’s role is to defend your body against disease by fighting infection. For immune system to function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is no single “pill” or “supplement” that can boost your immune system because it is -a system, not a single entity.
To keep your immune system functioning well, protect it from environmental insults and strengthen it by healthy living strategies like:
Eating good healthy food does not only please your taste bud but also helps boost your immune system. Including colorful -fruits and vegetables- balanced diet including protein, vitamins A, C and E, zinc, iron and selenium are helpful for boosting your immunity.
Include following fruits and vegetables in your diet to get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals;
- Green vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Red papers
- Sweet potatoes
- Nut butter
- Lean meat
- Whole wheat
With our lifestyle, many of us think that we are not getting all micronutrient that our body needs. Some of us does not like vegetables, some are picky eaters, some only likes pizza, in this situation taking daily multivitamins and mineral supplement may provide you with your daily needs of micronutrients but does not have beneficial effects on the immune system. Taking mega dose of these supplements may not work to boost your immune system because as stated earlier immune system is- a system- not a single entity.
Since coronavirus outbreak news, people on internet are suggesting Vitamin A, Vitamin D or Zink supplement and herbs to boost the immune system. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to show its effect on boosting your immunity.
Including regular, moderate exercise in your daily routine can help your immune system function well. People who don’t exercise regularly are more likely to get colds than someone who does (Source). Exercise improves the cardiovascular system, your feel-good factor and helps you sleep better. All of these helps keep your immune system happy and healthy.
On average, a healthy adult need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep helps your immunity by reducing stress. Lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to illnesses you are exposed to.
How to Protect your Kids for COVID-19?
While the number of COVID-19 patients increases, concerns about the kids may be weighing on parents’ minds.
Fortunately, as of today, there have been few hospitalizations and no know deaths reported for 0 to 9-year-old kids. As stated earlier, elderly and those with compromised immune system are victim of COVID-19.
If you think your kids been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive case or have a high fever, severe cough, call your pediatrician. Although there is no available therapy yet, good news is that children contracting COVID-19 are getting a milder version of the disease (Source)
“Again, the virus appears to be mild in children, and there are no available therapies today. Care for the infection is directed toward the symptoms: Tylenol, ibuprofen, and hydration with fluids, like chicken soup” says Dr. Murray, medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
As a parent, we are still worried, and I think the best solution to protect our kids is to take a precaution.
Here is what I am doing to keep my kids safe,
- Reminding them constantly to “wash your hands” and encouraging them to wash their hands with soap and water while singing A, B, C song.
- Encorage your kids to change cloths after school
- Keep kids away from people who are sick, especially if they have respiratory symptoms.
- Avoid public place as much as you can. I am avoiding trip to grocery store or library with kids for time being.
- If kids are sick, keep them home to avoid infecting others.
- Cleaning surfaces frequently touched by kids with EPA approved disinfectant listed above.
While there is potential for COVID-19 pandemic, it may not be as severe as the flu. All we can do is prepare and not panic.
We can all contribute to keep the COVID-19 under control by being vigilant. Let’s all make sure to
- wash hand with soap and water frequently
- Stay home if sick to stop spreading the infection
- Stay away from sick people
- Avoid crowded places
- Avoid all non-essential long-distance travel
- Adopt healthy lifestyle
Information is quickly changing. So, ensure to check reliable resources to keep yourself acquainted with COVID-19 as it evolves.
How About You?
What are you doing to protect your family for coronavirus ? Leave your comment below.