This week the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued a situation update on the Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. Here’s what you should know about the Coronavirus Update:
What Is It?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus (a large family of viruses common in many animals.)
How It Spreads
According to the CDC, though COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus, and there is much to learn about how it spreads, it is believed to spread mainly from person to person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 ft).
- Through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- It is also possible that touching a surface with the virus on it and subsequently touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth may cause a person to become infected.
Based on confirmed cases of the virus, symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
As of February 28, 2020, the CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Prevention & Treatment
As with any virus spread from person to person, it is important to do your part. The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- This last one cannot be stressed enough: Wash your hands. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash before eating, after going to the bathroom, after blowing your nose, after coughing, and after sneezing.
There are currently no vaccines to protect against COVID-19 and no approved medicines to treat it.
Read More: 5 Tips for Cold and Flu Season to Keep Kids Healthy
Should I Wear a Face Mask?
Don’t run out to buy a pack of face masks. If you aren’t sick, you don’t need a face mask. Odds are, the face masks readily available at stores aren’t the kind that create a seal around your entire mouth and nose area anyway. A face mask won’t protect you from touching your eyes either. Here’s what the CDC says about face masks in light of the coronavirus update:
“CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. ”
What if I am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
There is no information to determine whether pregnant or breastfeeding women are especially susceptible or at risk of adverse effects due to COVID-19.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.
The CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with respiratory viruses as is the case with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Read More: Safe Medications While Breastfeeding
Cases in the United States
During the week of February 23, CDC reported community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in California (in two places), Oregon, Washington, and Florida. As the situation continues to develop, you can check the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S page for updates on location spread.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in communities in the United States. It’s likely that at some point, the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.”
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
Can I Travel?
You might not have to cancel your Spring Break family cruise, but you may want to considering the region where you’ll be traveling. Along with the coronavirus update, the CDC has issued several travel guidelines to help prevent further spread of the disease.
- Consider rescheduling cruise ship voyages into or within Asia.
- Avoid nonessential travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
In addition to the CDC’c travel guidelines, several major airlines have suspended flights to certain areas as well. American Airlines, Delta, and United in addition to other international airlines have all suspended flights to Hong Kong.
Be sure to check with your travel agent, carrier or vendor for travel restrictions, rescheduling, and cancellations.
What Else Can I Do?
Aside from diligent hand-washing, avoiding travel to infected areas, and covering your cough, what else can you do? Keep yourself informed. Pay attention to official Coronavirus Updates such as those issued from the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the NIH (The National Institutes of Health).
Help stop the spread of false information. Fact check sources providing information on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) and be sure you share reliably sourced information.
Cheers to all the mamas singing the ABC’s to themselves to ensure they’ve washed their hands for at least 20 seconds.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Tips for Prepping Your House for Cold and Flu Season.
Sources: CDC.gov | NIH.gov | Reuters.com