Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause various illnesses from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrom (MERS). The newest strain of coronavirus, (COVID-19), was discovered in 2019 and hasn’t been previously identified in humans. The disease, which originated in Wuhan City, China, has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness across the world. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, however, it is now spreading from person-to-person. COVID-19 spreads mainly through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes and through droplets of saliva and discharge from the nose. As of March 20, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there have been 234,073 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,840 confirmed deaths.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the elderly and people who have serious underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes people with diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease as well as people with HIV, pregnant women, and people with asthma. Healthy kids and adults who don’t fit into any of these categories are at low risk for severe illness related to the coronavirus. Be aware that even though young people aren’t at high risk, there have still been some reported deaths of younger people from the virus.
After being exposed to the virus, you may not experience symptoms until 14 days later. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the coronavirus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.
Prevention The World Health Organization recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water and use an alcohol-based hand rub. Try to avoid touching your face and always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, sleeve, or a flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze. Refrain from shaking hands with others and avoid unprotected close contact with anyone developing cold or flu-like symptoms. As always, Dr. Sass recommends to continue eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. You may also benefit from taking immune support and vitamin C supplements. When cooking meat, make sure to cook it thoroughly. Because the coronavirus can live on a wet surface for up to 8-9 days, it’s vital that you wipe down all surfaces with a solution of at least 70% alcohol. If you are currently experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing you should contact your doctor or health care professional. For more information and the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit CDC.gov.