Just as we near the end of flu season, we are faced with concerns over the respiratory illness – Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Although this virus may seem scary, Coronaviruses have been around for some time, and the majority of them are the cause of most cases of the common cold. Most who get COVID-19, specifically, see symptoms within 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19 has been shown to cause more severe health issues, however, among elderly and sick individuals.
With no vaccine currently available, the best prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus. In short, most of your prevention tactics are the same as they’d be for flu and other viruses. In order to keep you and your family as safe as possible, consider the following prevention tips:
Tweet This: During the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the best prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus. These tips will help keep you and your family as safe as possible: http://bit.ly/covid19prev via @brettblumenthal
1st Line of Defense:
- Wash hands frequently and immediately after you come home. The CDC recommends washing with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Tissues or Elbows for coughs or sneezes. Ideally, use a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and immediately throw the tissue away when you’re done and promptly wash your hands. If a tissue isn’t available, however, use your elbow – NOT your hand – to cover your mouth.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. This is especially important when you’re preparing food. If you do touch your face, wash your hands again.
- Hand Sanitizer as Back Up Plan. Although washing hands with soap and water kills the most germs, hand sanitizer is a good option for on the go. Look for one with at least 60 to 95% alcohol, and to use it effectively, rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds.
- Don’t Share. Keep your personal belongings – towels, linens and especially kitchenware, such as glasses, plates and dining utensils – to yourself. Consider changing linens and towels twice a week.
Boost Your Immune System:
- Get Sleep: Make sure you and your family are getting adequate sleep. Your immune system requires sufficient sleep to function properly.
- Boost Immune System with Supplements: There are a variety of immune boosting supplements on the market. Viracid, Astralagus, Vitamin C, Echinacea and Zinc are all-natural supplements that support immune function. If you feel like you’re coming down with something, take Umcka and Zicam. If you like garlic, you can also make garlic tea by crushing garlic cloves and steeping them in hot water.
- Increase Intake of Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants which naturally boost the immune system. Immune boosting fruit to incorporate into your diet include berries, pink grapefruit, and blueberries. While virus fighting vegetables include tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Finally, yellow-orange fruits and dark green vegetables, such as apricots, carrots, pumpkin, kale, spinach, squash and mango, are also very helpful.
- Get Your Omega-3s: Omega 3 fats are also natural immune boosters. They increase the activity of macrophages, the white cells that eat up bacteria.
- Stay Clear of Sugar: Finally, avoid sugary foods or beverages. Studies have shown that too much sugar in one’s diet can have a dramatically negative impact on the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection.
Keep Home Germ Free:
- Choose effective disinfectants. Consult the EPA and CDC lists of recommended products to combat COVID-19. Refer to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to find effective disinfectants with fewer ingredients that may impact your health. If using a spray disinfectant, spray it into a cloth first to reduce accidental inhalation.
- Regularly use disinfectant products. Clean surfaces with disinfectants frequently, particularly door handles and knobs, kitchen and bath faucets and handles and toilet levers.
- Stay Home When Sick: This is probably the most important tip! If you or any family members are sick, with flu, cold or anything else, PLEASE stay home to prevent any spread of illnesses. Although the temptation to go to special events (Father Daughter Dances, Assemblies, etc.) may be strong when you’re sick, the greater good relies on you making the right decision. Please do the right thing and stay home.
- Avoid Large Groups: Many schools and universities, as well as public events and conferences are closing and shutting down to avoid the spread of the virus. Make wise decisions about where you choose to go. Avoid major public events, such as parades and conventions and expos, as these bring in lots of people who may or may not be sick.
- Bring into School. Consider donating extra tissue, paper towels, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers to your school.
- Sanitize. Make sure to carry hand sanitizer. Use it frequently, especially after you touch surfaces that are frequently touched by others, such as door handles.
Whether or not the coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., these habits will be helpful in keeping you and your family healthy during flu season or with other highly contagious illnesses.