- Scientists suspect it might’ve originated in bats and first infected humans in a Chinese animal market in the city of Wuhan.
- It’s now being transmitted among people via close contact.
How to Prevent Coronavirus
With recent outbreaks reported all over the news, you may be worried about contracting coronavirus. Coronavirus is a potentially life-threatening family of viruses that cause conditions like the common cold, MERS, SARS, and other respiratory conditions, including new strains of the virus. While coronavirus can be serious, taking preventative measures can help you protect your health in public, at home, and while caring for a sick person. If you suspect you have the virus, contact your doctor immediately.
Method 1: Protecting Yourself Against Coronavirus
1. Wash your hands with soap and water to minimize your infection risk. The best way to prevent coronavirus is to wash your hands as often as possible. Wet your hands with warm water, then apply a mild soap. Work the soap into a lather for 20-30 seconds, then rinse your hands clean under warm running water.
- Always wash your hands before you eat or drink anything. However, it’s also best to wash your hands anytime you’re out in public or after you’re around someone you suspect may be sick.
2. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. You may come into contact with the coronavirus on a surface, like a doorknob or countertop. When this happens, the germs can linger on your hands, so you can easily infect yourself if you touch your face with dirty hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth in case the virus is on your skin.
- If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first so you’re less likely to infect yourself.
3. Stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing. Since coronavirus is a respiratory infection, coughing and sneezing are common symptoms. Additionally, coughing and sneezing both release the virus into the air, so they may increase your risk of infection. Keep your distance from people who appear to have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.
- If it’s appropriate, ask the person to stay away from you. You could say, “I noticed you were coughing. I hope you feel better soon, but please keep your distance so I don’t get sick.”
4. Disinfect high-touch surfaces daily using a product that kills viruses. Unfortunately, coronavirus can linger on surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, and faucets. Use a spray disinfectant or bleach wipes to clean these surfaces daily. Make sure the surface stays wet for about 10 minutes so it effectively kills the virus. This limits the risk of the virus lingering on the surfaces and potentially causing an infection.
- In your home, disinfect your front doorknob, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, and faucets.
- At work, clean surfaces that people tend to touch, such as doorknobs, stair railings, tables, and surface counters.
- You can also make disinfectant by mixing 1 cup (240 ml) of bleach with 1 gallon (3.8 L) of warm water.
5. Wear a disposable face mask while in public. Since coronavirus spreads through the air, it’s possible to breathe it in. Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable face mask to limit your risk of contracting the virus. Don’t reuse your masks because that can increase your risk of contracting coronavirus.
- Always wash your hands after you remove your mask in case you encountered coronavirus. If you take off your mask and then immediately touch your face, you could become ill if the germs are present.
- If you’re at high risk for respiratory infections or have lung disorders like asthma or COPD, and you’re traveling internationally, wear a disposable mask on the plane to help prevent the spread of infection.
Method 2: Caring for a Sick Person
1. Wear disposable protective gear while providing care. Put on disposable gloves, a face mask, and a paper gown before you care for the sick person. When you leave their room, take off your personal protective gear and throw it in a plastic trash bag. Don’t reuse your protective clothing because you may accidentally come into contact with the virus.
- Coronavirus spreads through the air and can linger on your clothing, so protect yourself as best you can.
2. Don’t share household items with the infected person. Coronavirus can linger on items like cups, plates, utensils, and towels. Use separate items for each member of the household while someone is sick. Otherwise, you might accidentally spread the infection.
- Play it safe! When in doubt, wash the item before you use it or get another one.
3. Wash all laundry on hot to disinfect it. Clothing, bedding, and towels can all hold coronavirus, so it’s important to wash them thoroughly. Set your washing machine on the hottest setting and measure out the recommended amount of detergent for the load size. Then, wash your laundry on the normal or heavy-duty setting, depending on your model.
- If it’s safe for your fabrics, add a cap full of bleach or color-safe bleach to sanitize the laundry.
4. Open a window to ventilate the room if weather permits. Since coronavirus is airborne, you’re at a greater risk of infection while you’re sharing a space with a sick person. Ventilating the room may help clear out the air, which can minimize your risk of contracting the virus. Open a window or turn on an air conditioner if you can.
- Don’t open a window if it’s raining or the temperature is uncomfortably cold or hot.
Method 3: Avoiding Transmission from Animals
1. Cook meat and eggs thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection. Coronaviruses can transmit from animals to humans, so it’s important to cook animal products thoroughly to kill any germs. Follow the instructions for the type of meat or eggs you’re cooking, and check the internal temperature of your food using a food thermometer before you eat. Heat your foods to the following temperatures:
- Chicken and turkey should be 165 °F (74 °C).
- Cook beef or pork to 145 °F (63 °C).
- Heat ground meat to 160 °F (71 °C).
- Eggs need to reach 160 °F (71 °C).
2. Limit your contact with live animals to lower the risk of transmission. Don’t risk handling an animal that might be ill. Avoid handling live animals unless you work with animals or are caring for pets. If you must handle an animal other than your pet, touch it as little as possible.
- Farm animals and bats are the most likely sources of infection.
3. Wash your hands immediately after handling live animals if you must. You don’t want germs from the animals to linger on your skin. Wet your hands and apply a mild soap. Lather the soap on your hands for 30 seconds, then rinse it off with warm water. Dry your hands on a clean, dry towel.
- If you’re handling multiple animals, wash your hands between animals in case one animal is ill. This way you won’t accidentally infect the other animals.
Method 4: Dealing with a Possible Infection
1. Contact your doctor if you suspect you have coronavirus. If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, you might have coronavirus. Call your doctor to tell them about your symptoms and ask if you need to come in for an exam. Your doctor may ask you to come in for lab testing but could recommend you stay home to avoid spreading the infection. Watch for the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches and fatigue
- If you go into your doctor’s office, be sure to wear a facemask to prevent spreading the infection to those with weakened immune systems. Notify your provider about any new symptoms of fever or difficulty breathing.
2. Stay home if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection. Aside from going to the doctor, don’t leave your home if you’re sick. You may be contagious and don’t want to spread the virus to anyone else. Focus on resting and giving your body time to recover.
- If you go to the doctor, wear a disposable face mask if you have one. This will prevent germs from spreading.
3. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. You’ll likely cough and sneeze a lot if you have coronavirus. Protect others from your germs by covering your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve. This will prevent your germs from becoming airborne.
- Try to keep a box of tissues near you at all times. However, it’s also okay to sneeze into your bent elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
There are NO specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness may recover on their own.
However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms
- take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
- use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
If you are mildly sick, you should
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.
Note: The above is for informational and educational use only, In case of an emergency, please seek medication attention immediately.