News of Coronavirus spreading from China to other countries has many Americans worried about how they can protect themselves. Here’s the short answer: wash your hands with soap and warm water, don’t touch your face and avoid people who are coughing or sneezing. Look after your basic personal hygiene, and stay on top of developments. The best sources of information are the health organizations that are fighting the disease.
“Risk depends on exposure. Right now, we have a handful of patients with this new virus here in the U.S., however, at this time the virus is not spreading in the community,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier during a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention briefing in early February. “For that reason, we continue to believe that the immediate risk is low to the American public.” Messonnier is director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).
CDC recommends against trips to China.
Health officials say the risk is low especially for those who have not recently traveled to China. The CDC has recommended avoiding nonessential travel to China.
A global effort focuses on quarantines to keep patients in isolation, travel restrictions and airport screenings to slow the spread of the contagious illness. Chinese officials have closed travel to and from Wuhan and other Hubei Province cities. Scientists are working to understand the contagious illness, while researchers continue efforts to develop a vaccine.
The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), also known as the Wuhan coronavirus, causes pneumonia-like symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. The coronavirus spreads when someone sneezes or coughs into the air around you. The ways you protect yourself from flu viruses and common cold viruses are your best defense against the 2019-nCoV.
Strengthen your immune system.
In addition to taking basic daily steps to prevent illness, you can build your defenses to fight off disease by making sure your immune system is strong. It’s really the best way to avoid getting sick. Stay hydrated, get enough quality sleep at night, limit eating overly processed foods and concentrate on a nutritious diet.
The CDC offers this advice to avoid coronavirus as well as other respiratory diseases.
Wash your hands.
Making a habit of washing your hands as soon as you come home will go a long way to keep you healthy. You encounter all kinds of germs every day, especially if you work in an office or commute to your job on public transportation. Use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
Avoid sick people.
Stay away from people who are sick, those who show respiratory symptoms or a fever.
Avoid touching your face.
Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands. Wash your hands right away if you sneeze or cough on your skin.
Disinfect your home and workspace.
Disinfect surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs with a regular and thorough cleaning. The same goes for your desk at work.
Sneeze and cough into tissues or the crook of your elbow. Stay home when you are sick.