With the number of confirmed cases increasing not only in China but in several countries across the globe, coronavirus (or 2019-nCoV) has truly become a serious global concern. The outbreak, which reportedly originated from the city of Wuhan, has now spread at an alarming rate, causing great panic among the general public.
Despite that, experts are taking the forefront in assuring people that while the illness is contagious, it can definitely be prevented – as long as certain precautionary measures are consistently observed.
Consider the following reminders:
#1. Wear gloves when heading outdoors.
In a ForeignPolicy article written by Pulitzer winner science writer Laurie Garrett, we read that wearing gloves is one of the ways we can avoid getting infected by the virus. Wear them at all times when going outside or when touching doorknobs and other objects that may have been touched by an ill person.
When you have to remove the gloves (such as dining), make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before putting them back on. Also, change gloves everyday and wash them well.
#2. Observe proper hand hygiene.
As mentioned above, hand washing can play a crucial role in preventing the spread of the virus. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water. You may also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. As much as possible, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose if you haven’t washed your hands yet.
#3. Wear masks – and do it right.
We’ve all heard about the importance of wearing masks but there’s one thing we need to keep in mind: masks often “deteriorate” after wearing them once or twice, Garrett pointed out.
Using the same mask over and over means “the contents of your mouth and nose eventually coat the inside of the mask with a smelly veneer that is attractive to bacteria,” the expert added.
Others even encourage wearing goggles after news circulated that Chinese doctor Wang Guangfa said he may have been infected by the virus for not having eye protection.
#4. Avoid crowded places.
Crowds are a big no-no, especially in areas where people are showing signs and symptoms of the virus.
As much as possible, keep a good distance from people for at least 1/2 meter or 1.5 feet. Otherwise, stay 3 feet away when someone is coughing or sneezing. Politely decline handshakes and hugs.
#5. Use serving spoons and don’t share utensils.
Avoid sharing utensils or chopsticks during meals. Have serving spoons for each dish. Additionally, remind your children to never use other people’s cups when drinking.
“Avoid restaurants that have poor hygiene practices,” Garrett also warned.
#6. Consume only well-cooked food.
As previously reported, coronavirus is suspected to have originated from the exotic wildlife market in Wuhan (bat soups, in particular) so doctors are advising against such foods. Additionally, you should refrain from consuming raw or undercooked meat.
Finally, consult your doctor if you notice any symptoms (such as cough, fever, headache, runny nose, shortness of breath, and sore throat), especially if you suspect you’ve been in close contact with an infected individual or if you’ve recently traveled to Wuhan and other areas in China.