How to Protect Yourself and Your Family From the Coronavirus
The coronavirus definitely threw the world off-balance. The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a public health emergency, and it sweeps from one location to another, spreading like wildfire, forcing countries to go on total lockdowns. International events like the Olympics itself has been postponed until next year.
The best method to protect one’s self is social distancing, hence the quarantines, but that’s not the only thing that you can do. There are other ways to protect you and your family from this deadly virus.
The Origin of the Virus
Before anything else, however, it is important to trace the origin of the virus. After all, knowing its roots provides insight into how the virus spreads and mutates that can possibly hint at how to come up with a cure.
The point of origin is not a mystery. The first confirmed human cases of 2019-nCoV infection are stallholders from the South China Seafood Market in Wuhan at Hubei province. The question, how did they get it? Apparently, one study points out that coronaviruses can be found in bats, and it is very possible that this one came from bats as well. Coincidentally, wild animals are also sold in the market where this virus’s first victims were claimed.
People who have been infected with the 2019-nCoV show three common symptoms: fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. New data suggests that the loss of one’s sense of smell and taste can also be a symptom. What’s worrisome, however, is that there are asymptomatic cases as well. These are cases where the patients show mild to almost no symptoms at all, making the infection harder to catch and all the more likely to spread. In the end, the best way to determine whether you are infected or not is to get tested. In the meantime, you can focus on preventive measures instead.
How to Stay Safe
Just keep in mind, though, that there are not a lot of studies published about the novel coronavirus yet so proven information on the best preventive measures against 2019-nCoV is severely limited. Hence, the steps that this article will recommend below are based on what is known so far in regards to the other strains of coronavirus.
Regular Hand Washing
This one is already a given. Proper and frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water is an efficient way of dealing with any harmful microorganisms that might be lurking on your hands—coronaviruses included. You don’t even need antibacterial soap. Regular soap is more than enough to get rid of these microbes.
Using High-Level Disinfection Products
For times when hand-washing is simply not possible, you can opt to clean your hands-free from deadly viruses by using alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. You can continue your efforts by cleaning surfaces and commonly-used objects at home as well. Disinfecting wipes are convenient to use, but there are a lot of other high-level disinfection products that you can also choose from.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces
Apart from disinfecting your hands, you should also take care of the frequently touched items and surfaces. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently those surfaces. Such items are door handles, light switches, counters, and bathroom and kitchen areas. Also do not forget to disinfect your smartphone as it is frequently in contact with your hand and face. Do this every day. Use a disinfectant or household detergent.
Maintain Social Distancing
As mentioned above, one of the preventive measures that a lot of government agencies and health facilities suggest is to maintain social distancing. This is to prevent getting infected through respiratory droplet transmission. When you are out in public try to avoid close contact with people who are sick. The optimal distance is 6 feet (approximately 1.8 meters) between the person who is sick and others.
Avoid Touching, Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
It is also highly suggested to avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth if you don’t have your hands properly disinfected yet. This will prevent you from accidentally infecting yourself with the virus by accident. In fact, avoid touching your face altogether. People can spread coronaviruses to others even if you do not feel sick. That is why wearing a mask is crucial.
It is meant to protect other people from those who are infected. Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household. Masks are especially important when it is crowded and other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Please keep in mind that the mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
Practice General Hygiene Measures in Markets Selling Animals and Animal Products
And since the 2019-nCoV is suspected to have come from animals, there are two theories on how the virus got transferred to humans. First, it must have been due to the improper handling of the infected animal which can be prevented by practicing general hygiene measures. Start by avoiding touching public surfaces that come in contact with a lot of people, or try to wipe them with a disinfecting wipe, at the very least.
Avoid the Consumption of Raw or Uncooked Animal Products
Second, it could have been consumed raw or uncooked that can also have been easily avoided by simply practicing proper food preparation procedures. Thus, it is suggested to avoid consuming your animal products in this way, for now.
In the end, we all just want to do what we can to protect our family from this pandemic. Who doesn’t? And while information is still lacking, this shouldn’t stop us from practicing the healthy habits that we already know and stay strong as our nation’s best minds come up with a cure.