We’ve all heard of the coronavirus by now. But what is the truth? How bad is it? Is there anything we can do about preventing the contraction of this virus? There are a lot of questions, and we’ll attempt to help based on the information available to us.
Let’s start at the very beginning…
What the Heck is the Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late 2019. This virus is deadly and spreading rapidly. It has also not been previously identified. This virus is not the same as other coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Because this is such a large category of viruses, it’s become difficult to tell where it came from. Some say it jumped from animals to humans, but researchers have so far failed to produce conclusive evidence to support that hypothesis, although it does make sense. Many viruses have adapted and mutated to jump to humans in the past causing immense harm to humanity (think AIDS/HIV which scientists say “officially” came from monkeys).
This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Do You Catch the Coronavirus?
Unfortunately, this is yet another “nonanswer.” Scientists and health officials don’t really know how or why it’s spreading so quickly. But, what they do know, is that coronaviruses, in general, are spread in the same manner as the common cold – through infected water droplets from a sneeze, cough, or the breath. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum (meaning just because you have had the virus, doesn’t mean you won’t get again). The antibodies produced from this particular virus are weak and often do not provide and immunity to further infections.
Also, some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.
What Can I Do For Myself or Family to Prevent Infection?
Right now, the best advice we can give you is to mindfully prepare with a well-rounded preparedness approach listed in The Coronavirus Handbook and to cautiously wait.
Currently, the CDC, the government’s arm of “health authority” does not recommend wearing a face mask, yet most other countries experiencing the outbreak are suggesting it could help. Nothing is 100% effective, especially because no one really knows how it’s transmitted, but considering most other coronaviruses spread from infected water droplets, we can assume a mask that seals to the face would be more effective than no measure taken at all.
Unfortunately, face masks have been selling out. But if you are going to an airport/flying on an airplane, you’ll be among people in tight quarters that could make the usage of, at the bare minimum, a surgical mask, a good one.
You are going to want to teach your children (and learn yourself) proper hand washing techniques too. Viruses have a difficult time surviving the scrubbing with soap and hot water. If you can’t do this frequently, at least do it before you touch your face, eyes, or mouth and before you eat. You also want to make sure that this goes for applying lip balms, etc. Wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds to make sure you kill as many microbes as you can.
You could also send your kids to school with hand sanitizer. This is better than nothing, as kids aren’t the best hand washers, but I’ve found that if you give your kids something, they will use it up! It’s a small price to pay for the comfort of knowing your kids are actually using it.
You should also make every effort to boost your immune system by getting some exercise, eating properly, and sleeping enough. Ready Nutrition has touched on all of these subjects, so check out our related articles here:
In conclusion, you should be concerned about this virus. Should you fear death? Nol absolutely not. But not enough is known yet and the spread is very rapid. This virus can also mutate causing so many more problems, including making the virus more deadly. Care should be taken to prevent the infection in the first place!
Just take care of yourself and family, and if you need to quarantine, please do so! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you do get sick, try to not pass it on. Do unto others…