Coronavirus prevention is very similar to flu virus prevention.
Americans grew a little nervous after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that the coronavirus has spread for the first time within the U.S.
Health agency officials and doctors have a simple message for Americans: keep doing what you’re doing to stay healthy.
“The best things you can do for coronavirus prevention are the things we generally recommend at this time of year to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a Jan. 30, 2020 call with reporters.
“Wash your hands, cover your cough, take care of yourself and keep alert to the information we’re providing, We’ll provide new information as it becomes available.”
LISTEN TO THE CDC CONFERENCE CALL regarding Coronavirus in the United States and what is being done on an extreme strong chance of an outbreak – 2/25/2020 – Important and worth the listen.
In Asia, the novel coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV is spreading rapidly and has reached far enough to warrant being designated a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.
As of noon Friday, the coronavirus has infected nearly 10,000 people, most of them in mainland China, and killed 213.
Coronavirus symptoms and how it spreads
Public health officials say coronavirus risk to America remains low.
As of this writing, there are cases of the coronavirus reported in Chicago, Washington and California.
While 2019-nCoV coronavirus has never been seen before, it’s part of a family of viruses that are well-known to doctors and the public; the common cold. The common cold can be caused by certain coronaviruses.
While influenza (the flu) is not a coronavirus, it isn’t much different from 2019-nCoV in how it is spread.
Both the flu and coronavirus result in symptoms including cough and fever, and from what scientists can tell so far, both seem to spread mainly via projected respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing) and close person-to-person contact.
Experts are recommending coronavirus prevention measures be the same as for flu virus during a normal flu season. The CDC has not recommended that Americans wear protective masks or take dramatic measures against coronavirus yet.
Doctors say that people who have been in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated, or spent time around people who have traveled from that area should monitor themselves for symptoms of coronavirus more closely.
Coronavirus symptoms are much like flu symptoms and include cough, fever and respiratory distress. These people should call their health care provider and stay home from work or school if any symptoms develop.
“Good hand-washing helps. Staying healthy and eating healthy will also help,” says Dr. Sharon Nachman, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at New York’s Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “The things we take for granted actually do work. It doesn’t matter what the virus is. The routine things work.”
Flu shots won’t protect against coronavirus. There’s no vaccine for coronavirus yet.
What are coronavirus infections?
Coronaviruses are a group of common viruses. They are named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. Some coronaviruses only affect animals, but others can also affect humans.
Most people get infected with human coronaviruses at some time in their life. This usually causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory infections, like the common cold. Coronaviruses can also cause more severe illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
How are coronavirus infections spread?
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, feces (poop)
Who is at risk for coronavirus infections?
Anyone can get a coronavirus infection, but young children are most likely to get infected. In the United States, infections are more common in the fall and winter.
Symptoms of coronavirus infections
Coronavirus symptoms depend on the type of coronavirus and how serious the infection is. If you have a mild to moderate upper-respiratory infection such as the common cold, your symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Not feeling well overall
- Body aches
Some coronaviruses can cause severe symptoms. The infections may turn into bronchitis and pneumonia, which cause symptoms such as:
- Fever, which may be quite high if you have pneumonia
- Cough with mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness when you breathe and cough
Severe infections are more common in people with heart or lung diseases, people with weakened immune systems, infants and older adults.
How are coronavirus infections diagnosed? Your doctor will:
- Take your medical history, including asking about your symptoms
- Do a physical exam
- May do blood tests
- May do lab tests of sputum, a sample from a throat swab, or other respiratory specimens
What are the treatments for coronavirus infections?
There are no specific treatments for coronavirus infections. Most people will get better on their own. However, you can relieve your symptoms by
- Taking over-the-counter medicines for pain, fever and cough. Do not give aspirin to children. Do not give cough medicine to children under four.
- Using a room humidifier or taking a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough. A hot shower will also loosen phlegm in your bronchial (lungs) so you can spit it out.
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking lots of fluids (water and hot tea with honey are best)
Can coronavirus infections be prevented?
Currently there aren’t any vaccines to prevent human coronavirus infections. You may able to reduce your risk of getting or spreading an infection by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you frequently touch
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
- Staying home when sick
At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can be conducted only at CDC.
Coronavirus is getting worse!
What is CDC doing about 2019-nCoV?
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. CDC works 24/7 to protect people’s health. It is CDC’s job to be concerned and move quickly whenever there is a potential public health problem. More information about CDC’s response to 2019-nCoV is available online.
Is the Coronavirus in the United States?
Yes. As of this writing, there are cases of the coronavirus in Washington, Chicago, New York and California. The first infection with 2019-nCoV in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The first confirmed instance of person-person-spread with this virus in the U.S. was reported on January 30, 2020. See the current U.S. case count of infection with 2019-nCoV.
What about packages that come from China?
There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and how it spreads. Because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of 2019-nCoV associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States associated with imported goods.
Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak. Notices will be updated as more information becomes available.
If you were in China and got sick…
A: If you were in China and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Don’t travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. CDC recommends that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead.
Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with 2019-nCoV, several types of coronaviruses can cause illness in animals and spread between animals and people.
Fever may not be present in some patients, such as those who are very young, elderly, immunosuppressed, or taking certain fever-lowering medications. Clinical judgment should be used to guide testing of patients in such situations.
Coronavirus prevention is much like flu virus prevention. With a lot of common sense and healthy practices you can avoid this spreading virus.
I am not a doctor. I am reporting to my readers what I have found in my search on coronavirus symptoms and prevention. If you are worried about your symptoms or have question on the coronavirus, contact your health care provider.
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