Coronavirus: How to Prevent and Prepare for the Worst
While national news headlines and local stations blast the growing fear about a new deadly virus, it is first and foremost important to stay calm. Although it is easy to get swept up in the commotion, you should first understand what the virus is before becoming alarmed. Once you know what it is and how it spreads, you can better prepare yourself for a disaster.
This is not the first time the world has seen a superbug like the coronavirus—also known as COVID-19—and it will not be the last. Rest assured knowing the world has united before and will continue to do so to prevent the spread of germs as much as possible. If you are looking to understand where this virus came from, how it spreads and how you can protect yourself for long-term survival, read on as we detail these important facts.
Where Did the Coronavirus Come From?
While it is not the most pleasant topic to talk about, it is important to understand how this virus came to be. And although you might have heard rumors about lab testing, it is likely that not everything you have heard is true. Scientists all over the world have joined forces to research this unique virus and came to one common conclusion: COVID-19 closely resembles a known coronavirus harbored in horseshoe bats.
The ambiguity begins when discussing how this virus was transferred to humans. Scientists know that the virus found in bats is not transferable to humans, meaning the virus must have infected an intermediate animal. So, while there is no certainty how the virus spread—a wet market being a very likely possibility—it is extremely unlikely that it originated from testing done in a lab.
Steps to Prevent Getting COVID-19
The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to take additional steps to prevent contracting the virus and spreading it to others. Now more than ever, it is so important to wash your hands effectively and be conscious of touching your eyes and mouth. While you may be healthy enough to beat the virus, others around you may not be. So as a courtesy to your friends, family members and community, participate in these easy daily preventative tasks.
Supplied with a bit of background knowledge and the top steps you can take to prevent the spread of germs, you should lower your chances of getting COVID-19, But, keep in mind, this virus currently has a fatality rate of less than 4%. While this is not as small of a number as other flu strains, most of the population should recover if they contract the virus. Those with additional health problems, or are younger and older than the average population, should take more precautions as their risk is higher. Here are the top preventative steps to take to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
Step 1: Wash, wash and then wash again.
It is sometimes hard to understand just how effective washing your hands is as there is no visible proof. And while keeping hand sanitizer handy is helpful, it does not kill germs and bacteria as effectively as actually washing your hands. It is also important to ensure you are washing your hands for the appropriate amount of time to kill all of the bacteria. It may be an age-old saying, but singing the Happy Birthday song is a good way to measure your washing time. If you only take one thing away from this article, this should be it. Washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day is a great preventative step.
Step 2: Avoid close contact with people.
Everyone’s schedule is busy and your life does not stop because of the flu—we get it—but if you are serious about preventing the spread of this virus, it is best to stay out of congested places. Malls, grocery stores, airports and public transportation are just a few of the many common places large groups of people congregate. If you can’t reschedule a trip you have been planning or a work convention, be sure to wash your hands periodically and bring sanitizer wipes with you to wipe down surfaces.
Step 3: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
You may not realize how frequently you touch these areas of your face until it is too late. The coronavirus can live on surfaces for weeks at a time, meaning if an infected person touches a countertop or table, that surface is now infected. If the bacteria transfer to your hands and you happen to touch your eye or habitually bite your nails, you are out of luck. But, say if you touch an infected surface and stay clear of touching your face, you may not get sick if you wash the bacteria away at some point in the day.
Step 4: Clean and disinfect everyday items.
Those with children may already disinfect toys and surfaces daily, but those without children should also participate in this activity. Everything from your laptop to your cell phone collects bacteria and grime throughout the day, so wiping it down can help prevent the spread of germs. Like mentioned earlier, germs can live on surfaces for weeks at a time. Cleaning your work desk and tables at home or surfaces in your car is an important preventative step.
While these four steps may seem like no-brainers, in reality, they are hard to stick with. The hustle and bustle of daily events can cause forgetfulness, so be sure to practice good hygiene no matter how busy your day gets. Remember, it is not just about you. It is also about those around you with weak immune systems who could become extremely ill from this harsh virus.
In Case of a Quarantine: Prepping for Disaster
As the spread of the coronavirus continues to take out communities around the world, it is a good idea to prepare for the worst. In case of a quarantine in your area, you should be stocked with the right essentials to get you through weeks at a time. And while your area may not put a quarantine into effect, you may still want to be cautious by staying in your home and away from congested areas.
Before your community gets hit with the virus, make sure you are stocked with these important survival essentials.
Essential Supplies to Stock Up On:
Water: Although you most likely have water readily available at your home, in some instances you may need to drink from bottled water. While it is very uncommon that your water would be turned off, it is best to be as prepared as possible and stock up on gallons of water just to be safe. It is smart to stock a gallon of water per person per day, which should be enough to get each person in your family by. Be sure to store your water supply in a cool, dark place so that it will be ready to drink when the time comes and unaltered from the sun.
Non-Perishables: It is important to choose emergency food with health needs in mind. Never stock up on just one type of food—your body needs a variety of nutrients daily to remain healthy. Consider the main food groups: grains, meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy. Supply yourself with plenty of granola, canned tuna or other fish and dried jerky, a variety of canned vegetables (anything from corn to kidney beans), dried fruit and canned juices as well as powdered milk. You should also calculate how many of each item to buy to ensure your supplies last a few weeks for each member of your family. If you have young children or infants, you should also stock up on baby foods or other particular items they may need.
First-Aid Kit: While you may have a box of Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment laying around, you should stock up on additional items in case of more serious injuries. Supply yourself with gauze wrap, adhesive cloth tape, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, a cold compress, gloves, a thermometer and tweezers. These basic supplies should get you through most injuries until you are able to see a doctor.
Blankets: No matter what season it is, blankets are essential for any quarantine. And above the average blankets you have laying around, it is important to choose one that does not require as much maintenance. This makes wool blankets an excellent choice for such an occasion. Not only are they antibacterial so they don’t need to be washed as frequently as the average blanket, but they are also excellent at trapping heat and can protect you from extremely cold temperatures.
While this new virus may be frightening, practicing the top preventative steps and stocking up on essential supplies can alleviate some of the stress surrounding it. While it may very well stay clear of your area, there is a chance that the virus will continue to spread until the majority of the population has come in close contact. If you do end up getting it, wear a mask to prevent the spread of germs. While those taking preventative steps may also elect to wear a mask, it is less effective at preventing you from becoming sick. The biggest thing to remember is to stay calm, wait for any quarantine directions from your community and follow the above steps to keep you and your family healthy.