As of writing this article, there are over 1 lakh cases of COVID-19 reported across the world, with over 80,000 of these in China alone. Some 3,800 people have died as a result of the disease. The virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is called COVID-19. Let’s understand a little more about the virus and the disease it causes, and also look at some of the coronavirus preventative measures and safety tips.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Where did the SARS-CoV-2 virus come from?
The COVID-19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes it was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019. On 23 January 2020, the central government of the People’s Republic of China imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province in an effort to quarantine the epicenter of the outbreak.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 disease
The typical symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people suffer from aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The symptoms are usually mild in the beginning.
It’s also possible to get infected but not develop any symptoms. It’s been found that about 80% of people recover without needing special treatment. 1 out of 6 people become seriously unwell and can have difficulty breathing. The most vulnerable people are senior citizens and those who have underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes.
COVID-19 is not like the Flu
There has been fake news comparing COVID-19 coronavirus to the flu. There are significant differences between the two.
|Mortality is 10-50 times higher||CFR 2%-10%||CFR 0.1%-0.2%|
|Serious and critical are >10 times as frequent.||15% – 20% serious
|3 to 12 times as many people get infected||Up to 60% of the world’s population||5% to 20% of the world’s population|
|One person will infect up to 4 others||RO 3.0-6.0||RO 1.3|
|Without lockdowns it multiples twice as fast||Ca. 3 days doubling time||Ca. 7 days doubling time|
|Takes 2-4 weeks for symptoms to show||2-27 days incubation (5.5 days average||2 days incubation|
|People are infectious for longer||Infectious for 2-4 weeks||Infectious for about a week|
|1 in 7 have a recurrence after being cured||14% tested positive again after recovery||Immediate recurrence is rare|
The outbreak has spread across the world and several countries have issued public health warnings, taken measures to contain the virus and even imposed lockdowns. It can be very stressful to hear about the news of the spread of the virus and it is natural to worry about the safety of yourself and your loved ones. That is why we are going to explore some of the coronavirus preventative measures and safety tips. If you follow these, you will be able to prevent the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus Preventative Measures And Safety Tips
Here are some everyday health safety and preparedness steps that you can take now to keep yourself and your family safe from the new coronavirus.
How To Limit The Spread Of Germs And Prevent Infection
There are common-sense steps we can all take to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus:
- Stay away from people who are showing any of the symptoms like fever, tiredness, and dry cough. If you find that you have the symptoms, stay at home and avoid contact with others.
- While coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw it away safely after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hands.
- The best coronavirus preventative measure is washing your hands. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure you do this after going to the toilet; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is easier said than done, so practice it consciously.
- Cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of water and eat clean food.
- Disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace. These include doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys, etc.
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), people who are healthy do not need to wear a facemask to protect themselves from the coronavirus. But facemasks should be used by people sick. This will prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- If you are a health worker or are taking care of someone who is sick, then wearing a facemask is mandatory.
Getting Yourself And Your Family Ready
It is quite possible that your city or neighborhood might get locked down if the coronavirus cases are high. There are certain steps to take to be ready for such an emergency. Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself and your family:
- Keep a stock of food staples and household supplies ready. Bathroom items and diapers if you have infants at home.
- Ensure that you have at least 30-days of prescription medication and health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough, and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
- Find out how your local public health agency will be handling the situations and what they are advising people to do.
- Find out how your workplace or your children’s school is planning to handle a possible outbreak. Plan ahead in case of any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
- If you are responsible for the care of older adults or children, prepare to care for them should they or you become sick.
- Help your family and neighborhood get prepared. Share the information on how to be prepared. But keep an eye out for fake information and only rely on trusted sources.
According to the CDC, people who suffer from COVID-19 will have mild to severe respiratory illness. The actual symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure.
If you find that you or anyone around you is exhibiting symptoms, then call your healthcare professional. If you have been in close contact with someone who is infected or if you have recently traveled from an area where coronavirus has been prevalent, then quarantine yourself.
Natural Remedies and Supplements for Coronavirus
Although there are no medicines that have been proven to cure the disease, there are some natural remedies and supplements for coronavirus that have possible limited benefits. Here are some of them:
Zinc has come up as a popular recommendation for reducing symptoms of coronavirus. Zinc has anti-viral properties and has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds, which are caused by viruses. Zinc has also been shown to inhibit the replication of coronaviruses in cells (te Velthuis, PLoS Pathog 2010). However, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that using zinc lozenges can prevent or treat COVID-19.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to the function of white blood cells that help to fight infections and immune system health. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, and if your body is lacking in Vitamin C, you will become more vulnerable to infections in general. However, there is no evidence that taking a vitamin C supplement can prevent infection from coronaviruses. Also, high doses of Vitamin C can be dangerous to health. So we recommended taking a small dose to boost your immunity.
Garlic helps to restrain certain flu and cold viruses, and studies suggest that garlic may help prevent colds. However, there is no current evidence that eating garlic or taking a garlic supplement can help prevent or treat COVID-19.
There is some evidence that elderberry extract inhibits human flu viruses, including Influenza A and B, and H1N1. Some studies suggest that if taken on the first day of experiencing symptoms of flu, elderberry shortens the duration of the flu. However, there is no evidence that elderberry extract can prevent COVID-19 or reduce symptoms in people who have been infected.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements in small doses may reduce the risk of respiratory infections and viruses in people who are deficient in vitamin D. Maintaining a good amount of Vitamin D in your system by getting enough sunlight and consuming Vitamin D rich foods or supplements is a good way to keep yourself fortified against respiratory infections in general. There is no evidence, however, to show that Vitamin D can prevent COVID-19.
It is worth noting once again that while these supplements and natural remedies may help to boost your immunity or reduce symptoms of a cold or flu, none can prevent infection with coronavirus or any other virus. So taking these supplements and living a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise and sleep can help your body be prepared to fight off a potential infection.
The important thing to remember is — don’t panic! If you follow the coronavirus precautionary measures and safety tips, you will be okay.