Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus Infection
The newly discovered strain of coronavirus is responsible for the death of more than 560 individuals. What’s worse is that it has infected over 28,000, the vast majority being from China and has spread to over 25 countries outside of China.
In the United States, there are twelve confirmed cases, and multiple patients awaiting the results of their tests.
So far, Texas has no reported cases of the deadly virus; however, we have had multiple scares, which is why we must be vigilant and proactive to prevent the spread of the illness.
What is Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a family of viruses that can spread from animals to humans and cause severe respiratory illness.
The coronavirus was responsible for the deadly outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) which infected thousands and killed hundreds around the world.
The latest strain, which was a previously unknown one, is called 2019-nCoV. This coronavirus spreads more quickly but seems to be less deadly than SARS, which is good news. However, it is still life-threatening.
How does the Disease Spread?
The Texas Department of State Health Services, reports that the human coronavirus can be spread from one person to another through:
- Bodily fluids released into the air as droplets when coughing or sneezing
- Shaking hands, or kissing an infected person
- Contact with the virus when touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose
- In rare instances, fecal contamination
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Infections resemble a cold, causing mild to moderate upper respiratory problems such as a runny nose and sore throat.
Additionally, other common coronavirus symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
The 2019-nCoV is a new strain of the virus and there is still a lot we don’t know about it. However, the CDC believes symptoms manifest between 2-14 days after exposure.
What Can You Do to Prevent Infection?
There are no vaccines available to prevent human coronavirus infection. Therefore, we must be proactive and try to lower our risk of contagion.
Many of the preventive measures are the same used to avoid the spread of the common cold and influenza viruses, including:
- Regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoiding contact with people known to carry the virus
- Not touching our mouth, nose, or eyes with dirty hands
- Isolating ourselves when sick. Don’t go to the office or send your kids to school if they have mild respiratory symptoms
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to prevent droplets from becoming airborne. Remember to throw away the tissue and wash your hands afterward
- Frequently clean and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces
What to Do If You Believe You Have Coronavirus?
The only way to determine if your respiratory symptoms are due to the coronavirus is to get tested for the disease.
If you recently traveled or been with someone who went to China and you develop a fever, trouble breathing, or a cough, come to Prestige ER for an evaluation.
To safeguard our other patients, we request you call ahead so we can prepare an isolated examing room for you where you will be comfortable while our physicians evaluate your symptoms.
Prestige ER urges the members of our community to stay vigilant and take measures to avoid infection from the coronavirus. We remain at your service for any respiratory illnesses and other emergencies.