The outbreak of the 2019-nCov novel coronavirus has caused panic and much confusion. The best thing to do now is to remain calm, be informed by subscribing to reliable and legitimate news outlets and know about the illness and the safety measures you and your family can take to avoid it.
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According to Philippine Star, 23 Filipinos are already under investigation for possible infection of the 2019-nCov as of January 29, 2020. The Department of Health (DOH) is still waiting for the results of laboratory samples for 18 patients from the local Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, while others are still being confirmed by Australian laboratories.
But while this report declares zero confirmed cases in the country, many Filipino families are yet to be informed. Now, how do you protect your family against the threat of coronavirus in the Philippines? Here’s what you need to know:
What is coronavirus?
The coronaviruses (CoV) are a group of viruses that cause illnesses that range from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). However, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the CoV is “not as deadly” as SARS since the latter has recorded a higher mortality rate. The 2019-nCoV is the seventh coronavirus known to affect humans.
In simpler terms, coronavirus infects humans in the upper respiratory, which can be spread through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching an object or surface contaminated.
Who can get coronavirus?
Based on the latest news, anyone can get this virus. The risk is still dependent on the exposure to people who are sick with the common colds, fever, cough, and flu; those who have been in contact with people who returned from countries with confirmed coronavirus cases; and those people who are working in hospitals with suspected cases of the 2019-nCoV. Ultimately, infants and young children are most likely to get infected as they are the most vulnerable to diseases.
Where did the coronavirus originate?
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Multiple reports have claimed the origin of the coronavirus was located at a wholesale animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where infected wild animals were sold and traded.
According to the Chinese Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC), 31 out of the 33 positive samples collected from the market suggest that the trading of wild animals contributed to the outbreak. Since then, the market has been closed down and is closely monitored by the CDC for further research and investigation.
When did the coronavirus start?
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There is no exact date as to when the 2019-nCoV started, but China alerted the WHO to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan on December 31, 2019.
After discovering that most of the people infected worked at the Wuhan Market, the place has been shut down since January 1. After careful research and investigation, Chinese officials announced the newly identified virus, according to the WHO, on January 7, 2020.
For more information, Aljazeera has a complete nCoV timeline from the beginning stages of the virus up to the present situation.
Why is coronavirus spreading?
There are a growing number of reasons why the coronavirus is fast-spreading, but here are some of the most notable facts that you and your family must know:
1. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they are transmitted between animals and people. In rare circumstances like this one, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread among humans.
2. The coronavirus hit a huge country, which is China. The toll from China’s viral epidemic spiked on Monday, January 27, to 80 dead with hundreds of new infections despite extraordinary quarantines and travel bans, as foreign governments struggle to help their trapped citizens.
3. The coronavirus can quickly spread. According to NBC reports, the human coronavirus can spread from one infected person to another through the following means:
- Air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Where has the Coronavirus spread?
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The spread of coronavirus is no longer China’s national concern, but an international one as well. The Washington Post has live reports of the countries that have confirmed cases of Coronavirus:
- United States
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- Ivory Coast
The Philippines has quarantined suspected patients, but no official confirmation from the Department of Health and the World Health Organization has been released yet.
How to prevent coronavirus transmission?
While the country remains to have zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Philippine government has now increased its preventive measures to keep the 2019-nCoV from crossing our border. Along with government officials, health institutions and medical experts are urging Filipinos always to practice good hygiene, as it could help them stay healthy and free from any sickness, particularly the flu-like symptoms of the coronavirus. You can protect yourself and your family from novel coronavirus by regularly practicing the following:
1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
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Take the age-old handwashing advice of the Department of Health (DOH) to wash hands with soap and water for at least 40 to 60 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you may also use a hand sanitizer or 70% alcohol.
2. Avoid eating raw food
Make sure to cook eggs and meat and prepare your food correctly and thoroughly. Also, be reminded to practice safe food preparation to minimize bacterial growth.
3. Clean your gadgets and mobile devices
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After using your mobile phones and other gadgets, immediately wash your hands or use alcohol. Also, make it a habit to regularly clean your mobile devices since bacteria and microbes can easily stick to your gadgets.
4. Minimize close contact with people who are sick
As much as possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick. On the other hand, if you’re sick, it is better to stay home to recover first before proceeding to go to school or work. It’s also best to schedule a check-up with your physician and get a professional opinion on the matter.
5. Practice cough etiquette
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Always cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper when coughing and sneezing. Then throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands or sanitize. Whether you’re sick or not, you can opt to wear a surgical mask to prevent others from catching your colds and vice versa.
6. Take vitamins
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If you’re already taking multivitamins, good; keep it up. If not, you should have a regular intake of multivitamins every day to boost your immunity to fight off common illnesses. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true: prevention is always better than cure.
7. Drink lots of water
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Increasing your fluid intake, particularly water, helps keep your body temperature regular, and it also helps get rid of waste. It is highly recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water every day to keep yourself hydrated.
8. Travel abstinence
Other than very important trips, it is best for you and your family to postpone your international travels at this time since the pneumonia-like coronavirus has already landed in other countries, as mentioned above.
9. Consult your doctor if feeling unwell
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It is not too difficult to go to the nearest health clinic and consult your doctor, especially if you have a common cold, fever, and cough. It is best to seek your doctor’s advice at the first instance of these flu-like symptoms and get properly assessed. Monitoring your health regularly and getting proper treatment will protect not only yourself but also your family from catching the new coronavirus.