How To Beat The Novel Coronavirus

Everyday hygiene and food safety practices to avoid falling victim to the mass outbreak

Naorem Anuja Published Jan 31, 2020 17:10:02 IST
How To Beat The Novel Coronavirus Medical staff at isolation ward where three suspect patients admitted in the doubt of Coronavirus who return from various areas of China in New Delhi. (Photo: ANI)

Declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020, the 2019-nCoV, commonly known as novel coronavirus, has claimed over 213 lives in its country of origin, China. The novel coronavirus is a new strain from a family of viruses which includes the one which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), and it is a strain that has not been previously detected in humans. With 9,800 confirmed infections in China and now reported to have spread across 18 countries, with no cure or vaccine in sight, prevention stands as the best cure for the 2019-nCoV.

Here are the everyday hygiene and food habits to keep in mind and ensure you keep the virus at bay:

1. Wash your hands frequently, using soap and running water. If soap and water aren’t easily accessible, frequently clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.

2. To prevent yourself from falling ill, ensure that you wash your hands after coughing and sneezing, after providing care for the sick, before handling food and after contact with animals or animal waste.

3. Avoid close contact with people running a fever or with a persistent cough. If you are sneezing or coughing, ensure that you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Make sure you get rid of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.

4. Seek immediate medical care if you catch a cold or fever, or have trouble breathing. Be sure to share your travel history with your health care provider. Also avoid interaction with those travelling from affected areas.

5. Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals, if you are visiting markets in novel coronavirus–affected areas.

6. Strictly avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Ensure stringent food safety practices while handling raw meat or other animal products such as dairy, to prevent cross-contamination with uncooked food. Avoid using the same knives and chopping boards for raw and cooked foods.

7. If you have cold-like symptoms, stay indoors. Avoid close contact with others and frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

Treatment Options

Since there are no specific treatments available for the virus, people admitted to the hospital due to 2019-nCoV infections are treated for the symptoms, while their immune systems rally to fight the virus off. In severe cases, where the virus results in pneumonia, respiratory support may be required and it can result in severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

A few things you can do if you start seeing mild symptoms of the disease, which range from respiratory difficult, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties are:

  • Take pain and fever medication
  • Take measures such as a hot shower or use a room humidifier to help ease a sore throat and cough
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Stay at home and get supportive care
  • Get medical help if your symptoms persist
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