MORE; best ways to protect yourself..

Recently, a new corona virus disease, COVID-19, was detected in China and spread to many other countries. 

As the pandemic moves closer to home and the news get even more worrying, you may wonder what this means for you, your family and our society. 

Steven Gordon, Head of Infectious Diseases, calls this “like any other new infection, it is definitely a public health issue”. And there is much to learn about this new coronavirus disease.

As the situation gets more severe, infectious diseases specialist Dr. Frank Esper urges people to be informed and to practice common sense to wash hands, etc. to reduce the spread of the virus. 

“This virus is very interesting because it can cause a very severe disease – but it is not seen in 80% of the people who contracted the virus.”  .

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a virus family common to people and animals. It may cause various diseases from common cold to sever pneumonia.

Coronavirus is spread among people via droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These infected droplets may reach people’s eyes, nose, mouth or body and infect them.

So, if you are in close contact with a person who coughs or sneezes, you get the COVID virus. Experts also suspect you can get infected by touching a surface contaminated with infected droplets.

Therefore, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge people who have or may have COVID-19, or those caring for a person with this virus to wear face masks to prevent the spread of this virus. However, if you are not ill, you do not need to wear a face mask. 

How can I tell if I have COVID-19?

Symptoms are no different than a typical upper respiratory infection, including cough and fever. Some people also have other flu-like symptoms such as muscle pain and throat aches. 

Dr. Esper says “Unfortunately this coronavirus has no definitive properties to differentiate it from other viruses. Most people who are infected have mild symptoms and may get better at home on their own. However, people over 50 and those with heart or lung disease or people with weak immune system may have pneumonia and shortness of breath.” .

The only way to confirm someone as COVID-19 positive is to test with a swab. Efforts are on the way to ensure all hospitals and healthcare institutions around the world do these tests. Therefore Dr. Esper states that he expects an increase in cases diagnosed with COVID-19.

Priority: Preventing the virus

Gordon says, despite the lack of a treatment, the best way of protection from COVID-19 and other upper respiratory infections is to practice flu and seasonal cold hygiene.

Actions that prevent spread of viruses:

*Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand disinfectant. 

*Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a napkin when you cough or sneeze.

*If you don’t feel well, try to stay at home and away from school or work, no matter if you are infectious or not. If you are ill, wear a mask. 

* Disinfect surfaces such as door handles.

*Try to avoid contact with people who are ill.

*Refrain from touching your face if you do not want the virus to spread from your hands.

*Follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel instructions. If you think you may be infected with coronavirus, call your healthcare provider. You will be asked your symptoms and last time you traveled and then you will be guided regarding the steps to take.