It’s been a heck of a start for the new year. On the last day of 2019, Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters attacked the United States embassy in Baghdad. US president Donald Trump then ordered a drone attack, which killed Major General Qasem Soleimani among others. The whole world was at a standstill as fears of World War III were hanging over our heads like a dark cloud. With everyone feeling jittery, someone in Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane killing 176 innocent people.
In Jakarta, at least 66 people died and 60,000 were displaced by a January 1 flash flood. Over in the Philippines, thousands of people are coping with a volcanic eruption. Floods and mudslides in Brazil took 50 lives. Then there’s the Australian bushfire that’s been raging since the middle of the previous year.
Back in the United States, the crazy political climate saw the House of Representatives impeaching Trump while the Senate impeachment trial is currently on-going. In Utah, a 16-year-old teenager shot and killed his three younger siblings and their mother while injuring their father in what is the worst case of mass shooting in the state in the past 13 years.
On January 26, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others died in an unfortunate helicopter crash. The horrific accident has affected people all around the globe leading many to hug their loved ones tight.
Perhaps the most alarming of all right now is the threat of a pandemic. As of this writing, 132 people have died and 6,171 have been infected by a new novel coronavirus some have taken to calling the 2019-nCoV or the Wuhan coronavirus.
It all started when several people in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China, came down with pneumonia. Experts believe the new coronavirus originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan where different animal meats like fish, bats, snakes, and rabbits are sold
The World Health Organization (WHO) was first alerted by the Chinese government on December 31, 2019. The following day, the Huanan market was closed after more than 40 people came down with pneumonia.
A 61-year-old man who bought goods from the market succumbed to the infection on January 9 while a woman who arrived in Thailand from Wuhan became the first person to be infected outside of China. Since then, the coronavirus outbreak spread to 20 total countries including the United States where 5 cases have been confirmed.
With the rapid rate of people getting infected, it’s vital that everyone is aware of the dangers and the ways to avoid the coronavirus.
What is A Coronavirus
The best way to deal with a new disease or virus is to know everything about it. As the 1980s cartoon series G.I Joe put it, “knowing is half the battle.”
Coronaviruses are surprisingly quite common. They are a group of viruses that are named such because of their crown-like spikes. These viruses originate from animals like bats and camels. When these viruses evolve, they can infect humans like what happened with the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).These viruses manifest themselves as infections like the common cold or the more severe bronchitis and pneumonia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MERS was identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and reached 25 other countries while SARS originated in Guangdong Province in Southern China in 2002 but hasn’t been heard of since 2004.
The Wuhan coronavirus or 2019-nCov currently spreading rapidly in China and has reached foreign shores can also cause pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Coronaviruses can easily be transmitted from person to person through coughing, sneezing, touching, shaking hands, or touching something with the virus on it.
Some of the symptoms of the common cold caused by a coronavirus include headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. Symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia brought about by the coronavirus are cough with mucus, chest pain, shortness of breath, and fever.
If you think you‘re infected with the coronavirus, quarantine yourself immediately. Avoid going out for at least two weeks and be careful while interacting with other people in your home. Inform the proper authorities of your situation.
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How to Avoid the Coronavirus
Going back to the battle cry of the Joes after each episode, it is not enough to just know. That’s why it’s only half the battle. Once you know what you need to know, it’s time to act. You need to protect yourself from the new coronavirus outbreak. The question is, do you know how?
First of all, avoid traveling to China, particularly to Wuhan, and other places where there are confirmed cases of the coronavirus. So far the coronavirus has reached Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, France, Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Germany, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Canada.
In the U.S., there are five confirmed cases. Two patients are in California while the other three are in Arizona, Illinois, and Washington, respectively. It’s best to cancel any plans to go to these states and the countries listed above while we’re still dealing with this virus.
Those who live in places not affected by the coronavirus shouldn’t sit on their arses, however. This is the perfect opportunity to prepare and take the necessary precautions to avoid the coronavirus.
Wash Your Hands Properly
If you love watching Grey’s Anatomy and other films or shows set in hospitals, you often hear them say “scrubbing in.” That’s medical slang for joining a procedure. Before entering the operation room, the doctors are required to wash their hands thoroughly. And by thoroughly we mean removing all jewelry then scrubbing their hands and arms with liquid soap and rinsing with water that’s not too hot and not too cold.
The reason why liquid soap is recommended over bar soap is that germs can grow on the latter. You risk contamination when you use a bar of soap filled with germs. This is why you should avoid soap bars in public restrooms and wash areas.
Liquid soap, like the Softsoap Fresh Breeze Liquid Hand Soap, comes in a pump bottle which you don’t have to touch that much compared to a bar of soap. That greatly reduces the risk of germs spreading. Liquid soap also creates a rich lather, which helps thoroughly get rid of germs.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soaps are cruelty free hand soaps with essential oils, olive oil, and aloe vera as the main ingredients. The soap is free of paraben, phthalates, and artificial colors.
Avoid hot water in washing your hands for obvious reasons. You can hurt yourself from water that’s too hot. Cold water, meanwhile, doesn’t let soap lather. This may cause germs to remain on the skin.
There’s also a debate whether antimicrobial soaps are better than regular ones. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is not enough scientific evidence that prove over-the-counter antimicrobial soap is more effective in preventing diseases than plain soap.
Make sure you wash your hands frequently, especially before and after handling food. There is a proper way of washing your hands. Check out the video below to learn how. Also, never touch your eyes, nose and, mouth with unwashed hands.
Use Hand Sanitizer
In the absence of running water and soap, you can clean your hand with an alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer instead. Make sure you have one with you at all times.
The Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer boasts of being able to kills 99.99% of common germs and bacteria in just 15 seconds. The powerful formula contains vitamin E so your hands will still feel soft and smooth. The hand sanitizer comes in a pump bottle for less exposure to harmful bacteria.
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel is another brand you can try. It claims to have a sanitizing strength that’s two times more effective than other popular brands. It can also kill up to 99.99% of illness causing germs while still leaving your hands moisturized.
Cover When You Sneeze or Cough
Aside from not washing the hands thoroughly, another reason why viruses are easily spread is people’s lack of knowledge on how to cough and sneeze properly. Remember, viruses are spread through droplets in the air so every time you cough or sneeze, you risk spreading germs and viruses if you’re infected.
Cover your mouth and nose with tissue whenever you cough or sneeze. Once done, throw the tissue in the wastebasket. Use thick tissue. Thin ones easily break or tear apart, which adds to the risk.
You can buy Kleenex Ultra Soft Facial Tissues by bulk over at Amazon. They offer 8 flat boxes of 120 tissues in one purchase, which gives you a total of 960 pieces of tissue. Each piece is 3 ply yet still pretty soft so you don’t scratch your nose or face when you use it.
Another option is the Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissues. This one puts premium on protecting your nose from getting all dried up and flaky from all that sneezing and runny noses. The lotion part makes the tissue extra soft thanks to the extra moisture locked in. Each purchase gets you 10 cube boxes with 52 tissues each for a total of 520 tissues.
If you don’t have a tissue or you’re too slow to get it from your pocket or bag, avoid using your hands. Most people’s instinct is to cup their hands and cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. This is actually better than those who don’t cover at all. These are the worst kind. If you coughed or sneezed into your hands, wash them immediately and thoroughly.
Your best option is to use your arm instead. Simply lift up an arm and cover your mouth and nose with the front of your elbow or the antecubital region if you wish to be a bit more scientific.
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Whenever you’re out, you have to take extra precautions. Wear face masks at all times and make sure you wear them properly. This is particularly important if you live in a state or country where a case of coronavirus infection has been officially identified.
Medical experts and scientists are still looking at the new coronavirus closely hoping to know everything about it. While we’re still in the dark, authorities advise treating it as an airborne pathogen, which means the germs can travel as droplets in the air.
Your best defense to avoid the coronavirus is to wear a face mask. The simplest and most readily available is the surgical mask. Surgical masks are not your best option but they will do as long as you wear them the right way. Watch the video below to learn how.
Another common kind of face mask is the N95 respirator. N95 masks, like the 3M Particulate N95 Respirator 8210, can filter up to 95% of particulate matter in the air. Like surgical masks, you need to wear N95 respirators properly to avoid contamination.
N99 masks are even better since they filter up to 99% of the bad stuff. The Base Camp Dustproof Mask comes with carbon N99 filters, which will prove handy especially when you have to go outside and brave the crowd.
Keep Household Surfaces Clean
Coronavirus or not, you should always keep your home clean. This will lessen the risk of germs, bacteria and viruses making a mess of your lives. Clean and disinfect surfaces like floors, tabletops, countertops, tub, sinks, and the toilet regularly. Make sure you also disinfect things that are often touched like doorknobs, light switches, faucets, remote control, computer keyboard, and the refrigerator handle.
Use an antibacterial cleaner like Lysol’s all-purpose cleaner, which can kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. You can also use a solution of bleach and water.
Designate cleaning cloths for each part of the house. You’ll only risk spreading germs if you re-use one rag for the whole house. Also, don’t forget to disinfect your mop after using it.
Use a Hazmat Suit
In case things get out of hand and you can’t avoid the coronavirus anymore, you’ll need a hazmat suit. This will protect your whole body from contamination. Of course, you still have to protect your face. Invest on high quality goggles aside from your N95 respirators or other face masks.
DuPont makes quality protective coveralls that come with attached hood, elastic cuffs, and boots. Check out the video below to learn how to properly wear one.
With 6,000 infected and “only” 132 casualties so far, the percentage of surviving the coronavirus seems high. In fact, the case fatality rate as of January 29 is only 2.2%. Still, that’s 132 more dead people than we want.
What’s even more alarming is the fact that there is no vaccine or cure just yet. However, scientists are working hard right now to help put an end to the coronavirus before it becomes a full pledge pandemic. In the meantime, everyone is advised to do what you can to avoid the coronavirus and to know what to do in case it reaches your neighborhood.
Follow Gentleman Pirate Club to learn more tips on avoiding and surviving viruses and other diseases.