The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has reached Washington state, and because it is a novel virus, there is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease. For this reason, taking preventative measures is the best way to avoid contracting the virus and experiencing its effects.
Many of the preventative measures that can be taken are the same as for any other type of contagious illness, however, they become more important in the face of a novel virus.
What You Can Do
- Wash your hands frequently, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If this is not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it away and wash your hands. If tissues aren’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not into your hands
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces at home and at work, such as disinfecting your phone and computer keyboard
- Stay home if you are sick
- Avoid putting yourself in situations where there will be a large amount of people in close proximity, such as public transportation
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose, as these are all susceptible routes for the virus to enter the body
- Avoid travel while sick
If You Experience Symptoms
If you do begin to experience cough, fever, shortness of breath, and symptoms of Coronavirus, it is necessary to seek medical attention and possible testing. However, it is very important to call in to the medical facility first to be informed on how to proceed, in order to avoid spreading a virus to other patients.
Know How to Relieve Stress
It is common to feel some level of stress and anxiety over an outbreak, however it is important to keep things in perspective and understand that stress will only weaken the immune system and could counteract preventative measures taken. Ways to relieve the stress brought on by thoughts of Coronavirus include:
- Set limits on how much time you spend reading or watching news about the outbreak. You can keep up to date, but be sure to take quality time away from the news to focus on positive aspects of your life
- Do your research by finding sources with reliable and accurate information that you can depend on. Examples include the Washington Department of Health coronavirus webpage and information on outbreak preparedness, and the CDC’s coronavirus website.
- Keep yourself healthy by drinking water, getting enough sleep and exercise, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol
- Relax your mind by making time for reading, resting, and engaging in meditation or hobbies that help to take your mind off of stressful events
To learn more about how to prepare and take action, visit the CDC page that details preventative measures at home, church, work, and at universities.