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Coronavirus- What You Should Know

As concerns regarding the Novel Coronavirus continue to rise, many are taking action to equip themselves with what they feel may protect them. Face masks are flying off the shelves in stores and are rapidly being put on backorder from suppliers like Amazon. While this may offer many peace of mind, the widespread use of masks does not offer much more than that and may only create additional problems in addressing supply and demand issues of the masks. N95 masks are required for healthcare workers that are caring for patients with Coronavirus, but require special testing to assure the right fit and effectiveness of the mask. General use of masks by people who are well will not likely prevent becoming infected with a respiratory illness, but the use of masks by those who are ill may prevent them from spreading their illness to others.

While the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization do not recommend that the general public use facemasks, they do offer other suggestions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick-Try to keep a distance of at least three to six feet between yourself and those around you who may be coughing/sneezing frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-Hands are known to harbor infectious microorganisms and when transferred to the face a portal of entry into the body is offered
  • Stay home when sick-To prevent spreading the illness to others
  • Practice respiratory etiquette-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue into the trash. If tissue is not available cough/sneeze into the elbow crease
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces on a regular basis-Many general household cleaning supplies are effective against coronavirus and other disease causing organisms
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water-Wash for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or nose blowing. If soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer may be used, but if visible soiling is present always use soap and water.

The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 32 million flu illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations, and 18,000 deaths from the flu while the Coronavirus has had 83,869 total confirmed cases and 2,871 deaths.

 Jessica Garcia is the Infection Prevention Practitioner at SLV Health