You undoubtedly know about the COVID-19 pandemic, or more commonly, “the coronavirus,” as news of its global spread is featured on every news outlet, radio station, and media platform. With all of the coverage, it’s easy to feel anxious or helpless about what you can do to protect yourself and your family from contracting the virus, but we’re here to offer some insight.
About the Virus
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the group of viruses called “coronaviruses” are a “large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).”
This most recently discovered strain of coronavirus called COVID-19, began its outbreak in December of 2019, in Wuhan China, and despite efforts to contain its spread, has been making its way around the world.
Because of the highly contagious nature of the virus, and our lack of complete understanding of how it functions, taking precautions to protect yourself against its spread is essential.
Similar to other viruses like the flu, common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, tiredness, aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat, and diarrhea. More specifically to this virus, however, are some symptoms including dry coughing, and in more serious cases, prominent illness and difficulty breathing.
The WHO describes, “Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.”
Protecting Yourself from Viruses
The coronavirus spreads in many ways, as it is a disease that’s contracted by contact, direct and indirect, with an infected person to an uninfected person. Specifically, if droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person are touched and ingested or breathed in, the virus is capable of infiltrating a healthy system.
But, because we understand how viruses spread, we can take practical steps to better prevent this contraction from occurring. The World Health Organization recommends:
- Practice regular and thorough handwashing with soap and water, multiple times a day. With frequent washes, you can kill the virus on your hands, picked up by touching a person or object already carrying the strain.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. If any of the virus remains on your hands between regular washing, you can further stop transmission by keeping your hands away from the most susceptible areas of our bodies.
- Keep a safe distance, at least 6 feet, between yourself and anyone coughing or sneezing. Prevent viral droplets of others from reaching your body by creating physical space between yourself and an infected person.
- Practice considerate respiratory hygiene. If you are coughing or sneezing, make sure to cover your nose and mouth effectively, using the crook of your elbow or a tissue immediately discarded in a closed trash receptacle.
- If you’re feeling unwell, stay home. Even if you are experiencing mild symptoms, prevent the spread to susceptible populations by simply staying home.
- If you are experiencing virus-related symptoms, seek medical attention. Call ahead to receive specific instructions on your provider’s preferred way to go in for care.
Additional tips from Hopkins Medical Group:
- Surgical masks can act as a mechanical barrier for airborne transmission, but only if they are well-fitting and high quality. If you are going to invest in a mask, make sure you find one that fits snugly around your nose and mouth.
- Help support your immune system by incorporating herbals into your routine. We’re restocking some of the most effective herbals on supporting the immune system’s response to viruses. These include Viranon (a combination of Licorice Root and St. John’s Wort), Epi Immune (containing Maitake mushroom extract), Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, and an herbal throat spray by Standard Process.
Through following practical steps, making healthy choices, and staying informed, you can promote your immune system and help protect yourself and your family against the spread of viruses.