Winter is always the cold and flu season and this year it is made worse with the onslaught of the Coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV. Some common symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to any other upper respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
It appears that this version of the Coronavirus, also known as Wuhan virus, originated in Wuhan, China, and on Jan. 23 the CDC escalated its health warning regarding travel there. According to the CDC Chinese officials have closed transport in and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains and the international airport. Additionally, vehicles are banned from taking passengers out of Wuhan and measures including body temperature monitoring of drivers and vehicle disinfection are being implemented.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted the following prevention advice on their website:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The World Health Organization also has info on the Coronavirus on their website as follows:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2019-nCoV is a novel coronavirus that was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and was not previously identified in humans. There is currently evidence that pets like cats or dogs have been infected by or have spread 2019-nCoV however it can be spread from person to person. To reduce your risk of coronavirus infection, WHO has several recommendations. Keep your hands clean with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub. Specifically, when your hands are visibly dirty, wash with soap and running water. If they are not visibly dirty, frequently clean your hands with an alcohol based hand rub or soap and water. Use a tissue or flexed elbow to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. Do not come in close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms. Make sure to cook meat and eggs thoroughly. Use appropriate protection if in contact with live farm or wild animals.
WHO does not advise alternate remedies against 2019-nCoV like taking vitamin C, smoking, drinking traditional herbal teas, wearing multiple masks, or self medicating (with antibiotics), as these methods are not effective and could be risky.
CDC.gov website reports that previous strains of Coronavirus show that mammals, like camels and civet cats CAN get Coronavirus and infect humans. However, there doesn’t appear to be any cases of humans carrying Coronavirus infecting their pets.
Good hygiene practices should always be your first defense – wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you sneeze, and use hand sanitizer frequently. For your dog – try to keep him from eating poop, pick up after him immediately when he does his business, and bathe him regularly.
It is considered safe to receive a letter or package from China without risk of contracting the new coronavirus, since other coronaviruses have not survived for long on inanimate objects.
Hand sanitizer is a great way to keep your hands clean when soap and water is not available. Many companies like to hand out sanitizer with their company name and logo on it when they attend trade shows, or other events where people are frequently shaking hands or coming into contact with others. Sanitizer comes in many different varieties such as individual wipes that can be carried for convenience, sprays, small bottles with gel, and even alcohol-free for those with sensitive skin. Sanitizer is one of the most popular trade show giveaways right now and is a cost effective way to promote a company.