An Individual's Guide to Preparing for the Coronavirus
In the last month, the world has collectively braced for the impact of COVID-19, a highly infectious respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. This virus exhibits similar symptoms to the flu: fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, and occasional vomiting or diarrhea. In those who are immunocompromised, such as the young and elderly, the risks can even be fatal. With confirmed coronavirus cases growing across the bay area, it is important to build and maintain clean habits to avoid catching and spreading the virus. Here are a couple of preventative actions and best safety practices that we recommend implementing.
1. After touching new surfaces, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends this hand washing method:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
2. Avoid touching your face. Face masks only prevent you from spreading the diseases and not catching them. It is important to only minimize facial contact by reducing the exposure.
3. Use hand sanitizer/hand wipes as needed. Hand washing is the most effective and recommended way to prevent illness contraction. However, hand washing may not be possible at times and sanitizer may be the best option in that scenario. It is important to recognize that sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs. Additionally, hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
4. Avoid going to crowded areas. At the moment, it is currently unknown and unverified if the coronavirus is transmissible by air. It may be possible that the virus droplets can remain in the air long after. Until the CDC and other health institutions can better understand the virus, it would be best to limit contact with areas frequented by people who are infected.
5. Get your flu shot. Although the flu and coronavirus have many similarities in their symptoms, there is one critical difference: availability of a vaccine. According to the CDC, as of March 6th, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. In comparison, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths. By getting a flu shot, you will effectively reduce your chance of catching some of the most dangerous types and reduce the severity of the flu. While this may not help directly prevent your chances from catching the coronavirus, it will help prevent your immune system from being weakened by the flu and make you less susceptible to getting sick.
6. Get enough sleep/maintain a healthy diet. Studies from the MayoClinic have shown that people with low quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Additionally, vitamin deficiencies from eating a poor diet are likely to increase your chances of getting sick.
7. Call your doctor. If you suspect you may have the coronavirus, please follow these steps advised by the CDC. It is impertinent that you call ahead and let your medical provider so that they can take the necessary steps to keep others from getting sick.
Stay tuned for our next thought piece on how the coronavirus may impact your business and what business continuity measures you should consider.