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Coronavirus Threat: How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones Against It

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Day after day for the past couple of months, we wake up to news updates about an international threat: the novel Coronavirus, dubbed as COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared COVID-19 disease to be a pandemic, which means that it has officially spread around the world. This also indicates WHO's concern on the alarming level of the spread of coronavirus and the expectation that the number of cases, deaths, and affected countries will continue to climb.

The world is facing an unprecedented threat. Flights have now been canceled, businesses closed, and classes suspended. As of writing, China, Italy, El Salvador, New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, and France have implemented the world's largest and most rigid mass quarantines. Other countries have imposed community quarantine in several cities. Meanwhile, Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared, has been in total lockdown for almost two months.

Governments have been working closely with medical experts and have started to implement drastic measures to prevent the virus from spreading further. But we should do our part too.

It's now every individual's responsibility to not only protect oneself but to keep others safe as well. Here are some ways how:

Boost your immune system.

  • Improve your diet by eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce stress and get enough sleep.
  • Exercise but don't go overboard. Be well rested and attend to muscle pains.
  • Avoid smoking.

Maintain good hand and personal hygiene.

  • Constantly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or sing “Happy Birthday” to time yourself) especially if you have been out in a public place or after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  • Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when water and soap are not readily available.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Social Distancing

  • If possible, stay at home and avoid crowded places.
  • If you must indeed go out to work or run errands, keep distance between yourself and others, 1-meter distance ideally.
  • Completely avoid handshakes, hugs, and other physical contacts.

Protect others when you're sick

  • Wear a protective face-mask if you are sick and need to be around other people. If you are not sick, you don't need to wear a face-mask, unless you're a healthcare worker in the frontline.
  • Except when you go out to get medical care, opt to stay at home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Make sure to throw that tissue away.

Clean and disinfect

  • At home and in the office, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including door knobs, light switches, desks, countertops, toilets, and faucets.
  • Keep in mind to also clean everyday items like cellphones, laptops, and other gadgets. As well, avoid touching ones that are not your own.

Be educated and keep updated

  • According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Be educated on the symptoms as shared only by official organizations.
  • Stay informed to learn about local and international updates. CDC's COVID-19 Situation Summary will be updated regularly.
  • Verify your news sources and stop spreading fake news.

In these trying times, it's important to stay vigilant and not panic (that includes avoid hoarding). Take good care of yourself but at the same time, think about the safety of others. Being prepared is necessary but acting based on emotions may keep you from thinking logically.

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