Corona viruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). It is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
1. Regular hand washing: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty.
2. Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing: When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
3. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs: Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
4. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
5. Practice respiratory hygiene
6. Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
7. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
8. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Whenever you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing it’s important to seek medical attention promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Respiratory symptoms with fever can have a range of causes, and depending on your personal travel history and circumstances, 2019-nCoV could be one of them.
9. Practice general hygiene measures when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets: Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands; and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.
10. Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory disease: However, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections and should be combined with other prevention measures including hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding close contact – at least (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people.
SOME POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
1. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the virus.
2. UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
3. Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new corona virus. However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
4. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.
5. It is safe to receive packages from China as they are not at risk of contracting the new corona virus. From previous analysis, we know corona viruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
6. At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new corona virus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
7. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Homophiles influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new corona virus.
8. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new corona virus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
9. Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new corona virus.
10. Sesame oil does not kill the new corona virus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, per acetic acid and chloroform. However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.