6 Precautions To Help Prevent Catching Coronavirus
We’re all getting inundated with news of the coronavirus epidemic, and with starting to see a handful of cases in the greater Houston area, I thought a little practical summary of what to do would be helpful. At the end of this paragraph, there will be some links to authoritative websites for further reading.
This is an RNA type virus, called a Novel coronavirus SARS-C0V-2, and is the virus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus can be transmitted both from animals to people, and people to people. Usually, to catch this, there has to be close contact with an infected person (less than 6 feet distance) for some time, or exposure to respiratory secretions (cough droplets or saliva) that land on furniture or other objects.
Who should get tested?
Persons with fever and or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (cough, trouble breathing) AND who have either traveled within the preceding 2 weeks to affected countries (China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran,) or have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.
What precautions can an individual take to help prevent catching coronavirus?
- Avoid shaking hands, instead, use a fist bump or some other greeting
- Use your knuckle to touch a light switch, elevator button, use a paper towel or napkin to lift gasoline dispenser, use a napkin to open doors or open with a hip or closed fist (especially high traffic areas.) The virus is transmitted from hand to mouth and nose, so keep the fingers and palm as germ-free as possible. People touch their face, nose, and mouth at least 3.5 times per hour, basically self-inoculating. Use a tissue and avoid this habit.
- Wash hands with soap and water a good 20 seconds, and use sanitizer everywhere elsewhere that’s not possible, especially upon return from public areas with high human traffic. Use the sanitizers provided at supermarkets. Keep sanitizers in the car and purse.
- Always cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard; sneezing into the sleeve area would keep germs there for a week.
- Use disinfectants such as Lysol, to clean surfaces where others have been, think of judicious use of nitrile or latex gloves for cleaning purposes. A mask (N-95) is useful to put on if you are the one coughing, does not do too much to prevent catching the virus in general (although useful if you are a health care worker exposed to lots of folks who are coughing.)
- Keep your immune system strong. The people who get into trouble with any infection, are the very young, the very old and the very sick. Tips: stay warm in cold weather, sleep enough, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Keep stress levels as low as possible and keep exercising. There may be a small benefit, although of questionable significance, from taking Vitamin C and Zinc supplement in terms of shortening the duration of a cold, but if you do, do not use the intranasal form of zinc as it can cause subsequent problems with the sense of smell.