Coronavirus is one of the major stories in the news over the past few weeks and deservedly so. It has global health authorities and the U.S. government on high alert. Indeed, President Trump has set up a special task force, led by HHS Secretary Azar to coordinate all methods to protect the American public against this virus. Last week, the U.S. Government issued its travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel to China.
Since it was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the virus has spread to several countries,and has sickened thousands of people and claimed the lives of hundreds.
Coronavirus: What It Is
Coronaviruses,are a large family of viruses that are common in many species of animals. There are also several coronaviruses that can infect people. These strains mostly cause cold like symptoms but can sometimes progress to more complicated lower respiratory tract illnesses, resulting in pneumonia or bronchitis.
The cause of the latest outbreak is still under investigation. Health experts suspect that the virus originated from an animal source at a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan and is now spreading from person to person.
Patients with coronavirus, AKA 2019-nCoV, report mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure.
Many patients with severe complications from the virus have pneumonia in both lungs; some have died as a result of the virus.
The CDC is asking all those with symptoms and a recent travel history to China to call their health care provider. The agency also has tips for what to do if you become infected with 2019-nCoV.
Senior Citizens At Great Risk
Older adults are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus, early data show. The majority of people who have died from the disease are over the age of 50, Bloomberg reports, citing information from China’s National Health Commission. And a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that analyzed the first 425 people with the virus found the median age of patients was 59 years old.
There are no vaccines or treatments available at this time. But, researchers are working on developing antiviral drugs, but realistically, medication is at least months away.
Coronavirus: Best Protection Methods
The fact that there are no current vaccines doesn’t mean you’re helpless.
Wash your hands often with soap and water (scrub for at least 20 seconds), and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not an option. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and steer clear of other sick people.
Also,stay home when you are sick, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Also, get a flu shot if you haven’t already. This will not protect you from the coronavirus, but it will increase your chances of staying healthy this winter.