Feb 13, 2020
The news is full, these days, of reports about the Coronavirus, now called COVID-19. There is a sense of panic in the reports, as we hear about more and more people getting infected. But what is it, and what are the risks? Well, apparently, there are many coronaviruses which are similar to the cold or flu viruses. Most people in the United States, for example, will have had a coronavirus at one time in their lives. These viruses are spread from person to person by inhaling droplets that someone has coughed or sneezed, or by touching a doorknob or a tap that an infected person has touched. Once the germs have been touched, they can enter the body if that person rubs his eyes, or touches his mouth or nose. The symptoms you get from COVID-19 affect your upper respiratory area: your nose and throat, and usually the infected person will have a fever. As with other viruses, rest, lots of fluids, and anti-viral medications which can shorten the duration of the virus, are all recommended. The best way, of course, to prevent viral symptoms is to get the vaccine if it is available. The flu is a good example of this. However, at the moment, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, there is not yet a vaccine. So what has become an epidemic in China, is beginning to look like a pandemic, which means that it has spread to other countries and other continents. The fatalities have occurred when the virus infects the lungs in particular, causing pneumonia. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to get the worst symptoms. So, for those of us who are wondering what we should do to stay protected, basic anti-virus hygiene is recommended. This is mainly:
1. Stay away from sick people, or those who have recently travelled to areas of infection.
2. Wash your hands often during the day with soap and plenty of water.
3. If you are around a lot of people, feel free to wear a face mask to cover your nose and mouth, to protect yourself.
Of course, if you have a cold or flu virus, stay at home, and that way you will reduce the risk of spreading that particular virus to others. There are some encouraging statistics about COVID-19 believe it or not: out of the more than 60,000 reported cases, 84% are only mild conditions, and of the 7,300 who now no longer have it, 81% made a full recovery and were discharged.
So, let's protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community by being careful, hygienic, and proactive.