HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE CORONAVIRUS
Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

TRAVELERS

Travelers to China should:

  • Avoid non-essential travel to Hubei, including the province’s capital, Wuhan.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Discuss travel to China with their health care provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • If you traveled to China recently and feel sick with fever or a cough or have difficulty breathing, 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 symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
SHOULD AMERICANS WORRY?

According to Moorcroft, “This isn’t something you should lose sleep over right now.”

There is no confirmed human-to-human transmission in the US, and the CDC and World Health Organization are working tirelessly to ensure it stays that way. The investigation and protection efforts are full-force, from airport entry screenings and travel restrictions to keeping patients in isolation.

Combined with Wuhan’s quarantine of its nearly 11 million citizens, the risk to people in the US remains low.

“Don’t roll the dice just because you live in the US,” said Moorcroft. “Could [coronavirus] spread here? Yes, absolutely. Stay aware. But right now there are only five confirmed cases in the US and we have infectious control here.”

HOW TO STAY INFORMED

Even though the risk is low right now, Moorcroft encourages everyone to stay armed with the facts. You shouldn’t discount or disregard the virus completely just because you live in the US, but don’t get overly stressed or anxious about it either.

And if you really want to know what’s going on, Moorcroft recommends monitoring the CDC website, where officials regularly post updates on coronavirus happenings. It’s easy to get swept up in the ever-increasing amount of information available online, as well as the fear factor and misinformation from social media, and your best bet is to get your information from the actual health organizations that are investigating the issue firsthand.

“I hope that people will feel empowered by knowing the facts,” Moorcroft says, “and say, ‘I have access to the information, I know how to take care of my body and I can keep myself safe.'”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.