If you feel like you have a fever, start coughing, and have breathing difficulties, you might get to a terrible conclusion: you’ve come down with the novel coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, which is spreading all over the world.
However, the chances are you’ve caught seasonal influenza or the common cold. The probability you’ve got the coronavirus is low unless you have recently traveled to China or been in close contact with another who has.
Tricks to Use and Mistakes to Avoid
“At this stage, there are somewhere between 10 and 15,000 people who have died in the United States during this season from influenza,” Ribner said. “We always try to put this into perspective. If you’re not worried about a flu outbreak, then you probably shouldn’t be worrying about a COVID-19 outbreak. Right now, the average American has zero risks of anything occurring to them [from COVID-19].”
Wash your hands
An important method to avoid getting infected with the new coronavirus or the flu is to wash your hands. According to a report released by CBS News, about 95 percent of people wash their hands in an improper way, not scrubbing enough to kill the germs and bacteria that can cause an infection.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends washing hands before, during, and after preparing food, eating, using the toilet, caring for a sick person, touching animals and garbage, dealing with a wound, or changing a diaper. Cleaning your hands for at least 20 seconds, with soap, as often as possible, is one of the most crucial methods of keeping the bacteria to a minimum and staying healthy.
Clean your phone
Our smartphones are covered win gems, and numerous reports show that they are dirtier than a toilet. A good way to avoid the getting sick is to clean and disinfect your phone.
“If you get your hands contaminated and then you don’t use an alcohol gel or wash your hands before you use your phone, then your phone becomes a vector, and the virus can persist on it for several hours,” Ribner explains.
Apply an alcohol solution or spray on a cotton pad to avoid destroying your screen.
Wipe down surfaces
Besides disinfecting your phone, you should also sanitize surfaces, such as the kitchen sinks and counters, doorknobs, and desks, more so in public areas like an airplane or train seat.
“If you happen to use a phone or something in a common area, then assume that the person who used it before you had either influenza or a COVID-19 infection and wipe down that surface with some sort of disinfecting wipe.”
Previous research shows that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for a few hours, varying on temperature and moisture scales.
“Between 60 to 70 degrees, Fahrenheit is where viruses are happiest. And viruses, much like bacteria, hate to be dry,” Ribner says.
Be wary of at-home solutions that do not work
All over social media networks, people often share all types of remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, supplements, and the ‘silver solution,’ claiming to enhance immune function and protect against the novel pathogen.
“There are alternative treatments and approaches for a reason, and that’s because they haven’t demonstrated to be effective,” Ribner says. “The bottom line is for the great majority of them, there is no data that they offer any benefit, and some of them could be detrimental.”
Ribner recommends that if you are going to use some of those remedies, to thoroughly research them.
The Risk of Contacting COVID-19 is Low in the U.S.
In the end, Americans’ risk of getting COVID-19 is overshadowed by their risk of developing seasonal influenza. Yes, this could change as the novel coronavirus could end up becoming a pandemic.
“We’re kind of at the tipping point. If it gets much broader in China, I am not sure that it can be controlled,” Ribner cautions.
If the virus takes flight, some say, public health officials may be swamped and unable to contain it, apparently… although they’ve had so much time to prepare for it, under current circumstances and as much as they could. *eye-roll*
“At this point, it’s tough to know which direction this virus is going to take. Now, it’s still more or less what SARS was in 2002- 2003, and good public health measures could potentially control it,” Ribner says.
Paula is an outstanding reporter for Henri Le Chat Noir, always finding new and interesting topics to bring to the portal. She mostly crafts Science and Technology news articles, covering everything one needs to know about those niches. Paula studied at Concordia University.