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Coronavirus: All You Need To Know About This New Outbreak & How You Can Protect Yourself

The outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has tormented us in the past months. It was initially detected in China and is now in other continents except Antarctica. In the United States, more than 2 million people are now infected, and there are over 100,000 deaths. Let’s now try to know more about this deadly virus and how we can keep ourselves from being part of the growing statistics.

Blood sample with respiratory coronavirus positive

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus, a family of viruses common in animals and humans, is responsible for illnesses that can range from common colds to severe pneumonia. It is spread from human to human by droplets released when the infected coughs or sneezes. You can get infected if the virus enters your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth. Experts also speculate that touching surfaces contaminated with virus-carrying droplets can infect you if you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

How do you know if you’ve been contaminated?

Within two to 14 days after you’ve been exposed, symptoms may arise ranging from:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes
  • Recent loss of either taste or smell

Most of those who catch the virus often have mild symptoms and can heal at home. However, those at the age of 50 above and those who have pre-existing illnesses seem to have a higher risk of getting seriously infected, leading to pneumonia and difficulty in breathing. Kids may also show symptoms, but their illness is typically mild.

Nonetheless, the best way to verify if somebody has the coronavirus is through a swab test. There have already been efforts to make testing readily available in U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities, so we can expect to see a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported.

Prevention is priority

To help alleviate symptoms, someone infected with the coronavirus should immediately get supportive care from rest, fluids, to fever control. In terms of critical cases, treatment must include care to maintain vital organ functions.

Still, the most helpful approach to protecting yourself against COVID-19 and other upper respiratory infections is to practice good hygiene. Just do the following:

  • Wash both hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Properly cover nose and mouth with either a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you don’t feel good.
  • Wear a cloth face mask in public places, primarily where it’s hard to keep about 6 feet of distance between you and other people because those with the virus could exhibit mild or no symptoms at all.
  • Sanitize surfaces that are commonly touched, like doorknobs.
  • Avoid close contact with the sick.
  • Avoid touching your face to limit the spread from your hands.
  • Follow travel guidelines from the CDC.

If you think you’ve caught the coronavirus, call your healthcare provider. They’ll inquire about your symptoms and recent travel. After that, they’ll be able to suggest the next steps you should take.

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