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Staying Safe in the Coronavirus Outbreak

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  • Tip Bones

With China ordering the largest quarantine in modern history, it's tempting to think of the recent coronavirus cases as a terrifying threat. While there's still a lot of work to be done to contain and treat the virus, there are ways that you can stay safe.

First, understand that a coronavirus is just a blanket term for a family of similar viruses, not a particular disease. Even viruses like the common cold, or rhinovirus, function similarly, although the coronavirus seems to have originated in animals, specifically from seafood markets in Wuhan. The New York times has reported that, out of about 1,300 cases of the virus in China, 40 were fatal, which is about a 3% fatality in that region. Also bear in mind that the quarantine, as well as screening measures in international airports, and coninuing research on the virus, will help limit the spread. Only 2 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. so far, so it's not time to panic yet. The ways in which you can help limit the spread of the virus is very similar to how you'd stop the spread of cold and flu:

1. Wash your hands

Wash for 20 seconds (or two rounds of 'Happy Birthday,' if you prefer), with soap and warm water. Do this regularly, especially before eating and after using the bathroom.

2. Don't touch your face

Limit the amount of times that you touch your face, especially your mouth and nose. This will make it more difficult for the virus to enter your body.

3. Limit contact

If you can, try to avoid visiting infected areas, and avoid infected people. If you think you may be sick, especially if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, try to stay home from work or school, and get medical help if you are concerned.

Most importantly, stay calm. Transmission of the virus to others in the U.S. is extremely unlikely, given the recent travel closures and health precautions.

Photo:  Jacqueline Macou/ Pixabay

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