The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has lately taken the world by storm. Understandably, this is a stressful time and people want to know how they can protect themselves and their families.
What is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
Recently, an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease now named COVID-19 was identified. Coronaviruses are a diverse family of viruses that cause illnesses that appear much like the common cold. The most recent diseases caused by coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Where did COVID-19 come from?
COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It has since then spread to other parts of the world including India.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, coughing, and difficulty in breathing.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Just like the flu, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted from one person to another. Scientific evidence confirms that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may issue droplets containing the virus. These droplets are too large to stay in the air for long, so they fall on surrounding surfaces. These surfaces are now infected with the virus and can easily be spread by contact and then travel when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
The following article helps highlight some everyday steps that people in the country can take now. In addition, we request you to stay informed about what is happening in your local community.
The following steps to help prevent the spread of germs during this situation:
- Stay home if you can and avoid gatherings of more than those people you stay with. If in public restrict yourself to no more than 3 – 4 people.
- Practice social distancing by keeping a distance of about six feet from others if you are forced to go out in public. If at a mart or complex with a larger gathering avoid contact with items you otherwise do not wish to purchase. Also, avoid contact with people. Keep your hugs and hellos to yourself.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after returning from a public place. Certainly clean thoroughly after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You can also use vinegar to clean.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. In case you are sick, stay home and get stock of basic medical care. Wear a facemask if you are sick. You do not want to infect or extend your unhealthy factors even to your loved ones.
- Wear a facemask when you are around other people especially while sharing a room or vehicle. You should be covered and protected from infection and from infecting others before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and directly throw used tissues into the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve and not into your hands. Do not use a handkerchief, it spreads the infection and multiplies the same after every use.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, switches, workplace, phones, keyboards, etc.
Who are the higher risks?
Studies show that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this virus. This mostly includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or a serious medical condition, it is extra important for you to take action to avoid getting sick.
Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home. So be sure you have over-the-counter medicines to treat fever and other symptoms. Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home.
NOTE: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.
Together this COVID-19 War will be fought and won, so remember its unity and it all starts from one!
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