A deadly coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, commonly called the Wuhan flu, originating from Wuhan, China, has reached the United States, with multiple confirmed cases and many more suspected. This outbreak is noted as being similar to the 2002 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic, of which nearly 800 of the over 8,000 infected died. Preventing another epidemic like this starts with basic hygiene. Here’s how to protect yourself from illness this spring season:
- Wear a mask.
- Wuhan flu is contagious, and can easily spread from person-to-person, even as much as touching an infected person can spread the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing a mask if infected or near infected persons.
- Clean surfaces with an effective, germ-killing disinfectant.
- Make sure you get a high-grade disinfectant to kill potentially deadly bacteria. Bleach is a good disinfectant. Disinfectant wipes typically also get the job done by removing the bacteria, but may not exactly kill germs.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve. Throw used tissues into a bagged trash can, and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if unavailable. If you do not know how to correctly wash your hands, please see a public health authority’s website for more information. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and others with unwashed hands.
- Do not share food, tableware, drinkware, bedding, towels, etc. with others.
- Sharing personal items may spread illness around your home. Avoid sharing, and thoroughly wash items with hot, soapy water.
- If pandemic-like illness is detected in your area, stay home.
- Avoid leaving home and limit outside exposure. Only leave for essentials, and for medical care. Avoid public transit and shared vehicles.
- If you have flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms and suspect it may be coronavirus, do not hesitate to obtain help.
- Call a doctor if you suspect you have coronavirus. Mention any recent travel or animal contact. The virus can only be confirmed through testing, so if and when you arrive to a clinic, alert the staff so they can take the proper precautions in case you are infected.
This coronavirus is currently ranked as low-threat by the CDC, as it is currently not spreading within the United States at this time of writing. Despite this, it’s always good to take proper precautions against disease in the interest of personal hygiene and public health.
*information from https://www.cdc.gov/"Sick Season Precautions",