The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the COVID-19 outbreak a global public health emergency. According to the most recent reports, over 76,700 people have been infected with the virus and another 2,249 have died. To ensure your health and well-being, it’s important to understand what coronaviruses are and how to protect yourself.
According to the CDC, coronaviruses are common in animal species. And while most don’t affect humans, the most recent strain, COVID-19, does and can be spread from person to person. Coronaviruses typically cause mild upper respiratory tract illnesses, and those affected exhibit cold-like symptoms (e.g., headache, cough, fever, sore throat and runny nose).
Some coronaviruses, like COVID-19, can be more severe, and individuals may experience lower-respiratory tract illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. For the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems, COVID-19 can be deadly.
While the most recent outbreak began in China, more than two dozen countries—including the United States—have confirmed cases of COVID-19. According to the CDC, individuals should take the following precautions to avoid spreading or contracting coronavirus:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Individuals that develop symptoms of the coronavirus within 14 days of visiting China or other areas where the virus has been reported should call their health care provider before receiving medical treatment. This allows medical professionals to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. For more information and updates on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website
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