Tips To Protect Yourself & Your Loved Ones From The COVID-19 Outbreak

What Is COVID-19?

A New Flu-like Virus has been reported in several cities around the world in recent weeks. 

What Are The Symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), symptoms of COVID-19 are usually as follows:
1.     Feeling tired
2.     Difficulty breathing
3.     High temperature
4.     Cough or sore throat
These symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. Symptoms are believed to occur between two and ten days after getting the virus. The incubation period during which a person has the disease but has no symptoms can last from one day to two weeks. The person with the coronavirus can pass it on to others during this time before they start to show symptoms.

When To Get Medical Care?

According to the Public Health Agency, if you have recently traveled to one of the most affected regions or have been in contact with people who have gone there or who have in particular:
1.     Visited an Animal Market;
2.     Been in contact with live or dead animals (including raw or undercooked animal products);
3.     Been in contact with a sick person who has a fever coughs, or has difficulty breathing;
4.     You believe you may have been in contact with COVID-19.
If you have
  • Fever
  • A Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing
within the next 14 days, call your health care provider or local public health authority. To protect those around you, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

How To Avoid Getting COVID-19

Hand hygiene is the first, and most important, line of defense. WHO recommends:
a)    Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
b)    To carry handkerchiefs, to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and to dispose of handkerchiefs well.
c)    Avoid unnecessary physical contact with wild animals.

If you have been in contact with wild animals, the WHO recommends that you wash your hands immediately. It is also essential to cook the meat well before eating it.
Other Tips:

  • Have hand sanitizer on hand to clean your hands frequently and easily.
  • Always wash your hands before eating.
  • Be especially careful at busy airports and public transportation, and avoid touching anything and then touching your face.
  • Do not take snacks from sachets or bowls in which other people have put their fingers.
  • Clean surfaces and devices that you touch or handle regularly, not just your hands.
Are certain groups of people more at risk than others?
How To Protect Your Family & Especially, Your Children?
  • You can significantly reduce the risk of children contracting or spreading viruses by
  • explaining how germs spread and the importance of washing your hands and face thoroughly
  • ensuring the cleanliness of household surfaces, especially the kitchen, bathroom and door handles
  • using clean rags to wipe surfaces, so as not to transport germs from one surface to another
  • giving everyone their own towel and making sure no one is sharing their toothbrush, etc.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the situation is changing quickly and the risk assessment may change daily. You can get updates depending on your region. Among the sites that provide accurate information include that of the World Health Organization, the Control Centers and Disease Prevention (CDC) of the United States, the Chief Health Officer of Australia (in English only) and the Government of the United Kingdom (in English only).

What To Do If You Are Stressed By The News?

If COVID-19 makes you nervous, you are not alone. It is normal to be concerned and empathetic because of this outbreak. However, you may experience discomfort that affects your focus, productivity, and even sleep.

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

  • Stick to the facts from public health agencies and health care professionals. Instead of reading each article and visiting each website, perhaps you should avoid the Internet. If you are concerned, there are websites that provide accurate information, including that of the World Health Organization, the control centers, and disease prevention ( CDC) from the United States.
  • Try to put things into perspective. Social media can amplify misinformation and lies. Remember that there are concerted efforts worldwide to contain the virus, and WHO maintains a web page that provides answers to common questions.
  • And, of course, take care of your health. Washing your hands thoroughly and often is the most effective way to stop the progression of the disease.

Where Can I Get More Information?

At this time, it is unclear how easily and effectively the virus is passed from person to person. The World Health Organization is coordinating the global response to this situation and provides more information  here
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