The COVID-19 pandemic has been a part of our daily lives since March 2020, but with vaccines still in development, more than 160,000 new cases a day in the United States, and the U.S. death toll at more than 240,000, it remains as important as ever to stay vigilant and know how to protect yourself from coronavirus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” The official name of the coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by this virus is called COVID-19. The virus originated in the wet markets of Wuhan, China and made its way to at least 77 other countries. The most number of cases have been registered in China. So far, 29 COVID-19 cases have been registered in India. Most patients have shown mild symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing, and 3,221 deaths have been recorded worldwide, at the time of writing. COVID-19 is contagious and spreads from person to person. There is no cure for the disease yet, and prevention is our best option
Best Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Coronavirus Infection
Wear a mask
Face masks have become essential accessories in protecting yourself and others from contracting COVID-19. The CDC recommends that people wear face coverings in public settings, especially since studies have shown that individuals with the novel coronavirus could be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. (Face masks, however, do not replace social distancing recommendations.)
“Face masks are designed to provide a barrier between your airway and the outside world,” says Dr.Ole Vielemeyer, medical director of Weill Cornell ID Associates and Travel Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine. “By wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose, you will reduce the risk of serving as the source of disease spread by trapping your own droplets in the mask, and also reduce the risk of getting sick via droplets that contain the coronavirus by blocking access to your own airways.”
Watch for symptoms
The symptoms of infection for the coronavirus are often similar to those of other respiratory virus infections, such as influenza. Symptoms can include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
With the COVID-19 pandemic now coinciding with flu season, it’s important to recognize the differences in symptoms — as well as get a flu shot. “The medical community is concerned that if we have an increased number of influenza cases, it will strain the hospital system on top of what’s already going on with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Ting Ting Wong, an attending physician and infectious disease specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
Practice social distancing
Since close person-to-person contact appears to be the main source of transmission, social distancing remains a key way to mitigate spread. The CDC recommends maintaining a distance of approximately 6feet from others in public places. This distance will help you avoid direct contact with respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.
In addition, studies have found that outdoor settings with enough space to distance and good ventilation will reduce risk of exposure. “There is up to 80% less transmission of the virus happening outdoors versus indoors,” says Dr. Ashwin Vasan, an assistant attending physician in the Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and an assistant professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “One study found that of 318 outbreaks that accounted for 1,245 confirmed cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outdoors. That’s significant. I recommend spending time with others outside. We’re not talking about going to a sporting event or a concert. We’re talking about going for a walk or going to the park, or even having a conversation at a safe distance with someone outside.”
Stay Informed and Updated
Keep a check on Coronavirus updates in your locality. Avoid parts of the city that have confirmed cases of the disease. Gather information through reliable sources like the World Health Organization (and not WhatsApp videos) about current prevention methods that have been put in place and follow them. National and local authorities have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your locality.
Carry A Sanitizer
Alcoholic hand rubs or sanitizers are the most convenient hygiene measure you can take. It is an effective and practical way to keep your hands clean in public places without getting your hands wet. Buy sanitizers that contain 60 to 95% alcohol