by Keri Ashkenazy
Holistic Health Coach | Mindfulness Meditation Teacher | M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology
Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that this flu season we are facing an exceptional threat. The latest figures (as of March 8, 2020) show more than 106,000 reported cases of COVID-19 (aka, the coronavirus) in at least 70 countries, with more than 3,600 deaths globally, including 19 in the U.S., officially surpassing the death toll during the 2002 SARS epidemic.
America is one of more than 70 countries where the virus — which causes fever and dry cough —has appeared, but with 449 confirmed cases as of March 8, the U.S, remains less affected than the major hotspots in China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.
According to the latest data for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of the cases here in the U.S. have been contracted by travelers coming from abroad, although the number of community transmitted cases, which means cases spread on U.S. soil, is rising.
It is prudent for people to think about how to avoid face-to-face contact with others if the coronavirus comes to your neighborhood. Here's how we can protect ourselves from contracting the virus and spreading it to others:
● Wash your Hands! You don’t want to spread your highly contagious virus, so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, especially around mealtimes and after bathroom breaks. Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from any activity that involves locations where other people have been. (Here is more information from the CDC on when and how to wash your hands properly.)
● Don’t shake hands. Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
● Don’t touch anything. Use only your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etcetera. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove. Open doors with your closed fist or hip. Do not grasp the door handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door, especially bathroom doors.
● Disinfect. When available, use disinfectant wipes at the stores and wipe the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
● Sanitize. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home's entrances and in your car to use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can't immediately wash your hands.
● Get some extra zinc. Zinc lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day if you begin to feel any "cold-like" symptoms. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat.
● Catch your sneeze! If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard it immediately after. Use the inside of your elbow as an alternative, but please note the clothing on your elbow will contain your germs for approximately 9 days, so wash that shirt right away.
● Don’t Guess...Test! If you feel sick, keep away from others and immediately seek medical attention. Here is more information from the CDC of how to keep others safe, in the case you become sick
Check out the CDC’s website to stay updated on the latest COVID-19 updates and for more information on the virus and how to keep yourself and others safe.