With our world being connected more than ever before, information about new diseases and outbreaks can spread even faster than the diseases themselves, leading to a lot of fear, panic and misinformation worldwide.
Such is the case with COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. Most nations are on high alert, and the disease has so far spread to six of the seven continents (Antarctica, which has no permanent residents, being the lone exception).
It’s important to remember that unless you’ve traveled to an area with one of the largest outbreaks, like Wuhan, China, or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has, you’re at very low risk at this time. However, some of the basic protection measures against the coronavirus are just good hygiene and common sense, especially as we’re still in the thick of the regular cold and flu season.
According to the World Health Organization, here are some ways you can help protect yourself not only from the coronavirus but also from more common conditions, as well.
- Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing: Keep at least three feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to avoid transferring any viruses that may be on your hands.
- Practice respiratory hygiene: This means covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away immediately. Make sure others around you do so as well.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. It would help to call in advance.
- Stay informed on the latest about the virus and follow the advice given by your health care provider.
According to the World Health Organization, it is safe to receive a letter or package from China or other heavily affected areas. Coronaviruses are not known to survive long on objects, the organization’s website says.
For more information on coronavirus, visit the websites of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control or other reliable organizations. Just don’t believe anything you see on social media without checking it out first.