Coronavirus: All You Need To Know
The first case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Nigeria. The patient traveled from Italy to Lagos and is now being actively managed by health authorities. The authorities are also tracing all others who may have been in contact with him before he took ill. However, you don’t need to panic. Read on for how you and your loved ones can stay safe.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause not only the common cold but also more serious respiratory illnesses. A novel coronavirus was identified as the source of the illnesses on January 7, with the infection traced to a Wuhan seafood market that also sold live animals in China. The death toll in China alone has exceeded 1000 and the number of infected cases exceeds 45000. The world is one huge global village and China is Africa’s biggest trading partner so Nigeria is understandably concerned. The Nigerian government says health authorities at points of entry are on high alert for cases of coronavirus arriving in Africa’s most populous country. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has asked travelers coming from Wuhan and other affected parts of China to report to a medical facility and the center if they feel ill.
- The novel coronavirus is transmitted through contact with infected animals
- It is also transmitted through coughing and sneezing
- The novel coronavirus is also transmitted through contact with infected people or the things they’ve touched.
The symptoms of the novel coronavirus include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Severe cough
- Most victims of the novel coronavirus die from complications including pneumonia and from swelling in the lungs.
- Also, severe Pneumonia can kill by causing the individual to drown in the fluid flooding their lungs.
- In the case of swelling of the lungs, the swelling makes it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream, this leads to organ failure and death.
The novel coronavirus has no vaccine, but practice the same prevention tips for a common cold.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water
- Cover your mouth and nose properly with a handkerchief, tissue paper or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus
- Keep hydrated – drink a lot of water
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands
- Get plenty of rest.
- Avoid self-medication, report to a medical facility as soon as you feel any symptom of flu.
If You Have Symptoms of flu, please do The following:
Stay at home except you are going out to get medical care
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people in your home
As much as possible, you should stay in a different room from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
Before you go to the hospital, call the healthcare provider and tell them your symptoms and fears for a novel coronavirus infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.
Wear a facemask
You should wear a facemask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room as you.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds.
Wash your hands
It is very important to always wash your hands and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
Monitor your symptoms
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
Prevention Steps for Caregivers and Household Members
If you live with or provide care at home for, a person confirmed to have or being evaluated for, novel coronavirus infection, you should:
- Make sure that you understand and can help the person follow the healthcare provider’s instructions for medication and care. You should help the person with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
- Have only people in the home who are essential for providing care for the person.
- Other household members should stay in another home or place of residence. If this is not possible, they should stay in another room, or be separated from the person as much as possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Restrict visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
- Keep elderly people and those who have compromised immune systems or certain health conditions away from the person. This includes people with chronic heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.
- Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflows, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear a disposable facemask, gown, and gloves when you touch or have contact with the person’s blood, body fluids and/or secretions, such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea.
- Throw out disposable facemasks, gowns, and gloves after using them. Do not reuse it.
- Wash your hands immediately after removing your facemask, gown, and gloves.
- Avoid sharing household items. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with a person who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, MERS-CoV infection. After the person uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”).
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.
- Read the label of cleaning products and follow recommendations provided on product labels. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves or aprons and making sure you have good ventilation during the use of the product.
- Use a diluted bleach solution or a household disinfectant with a label that says “EPA-approved.” To make a bleach solution at home, add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
- Wash laundry thoroughly.
- Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.
- Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items. Wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
- Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, wash and dry with the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
- Place all used gloves, gowns, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Wash your hands immediately after handling these items.
- Monitor the person’s symptoms. If they are getting sicker, call his or her medical provider and tell him or her that the person has, or is being evaluated for, MERS-CoV infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected. Ask the healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
- Caregivers and household members who do not follow precautions when in close contact2 with a person who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, MERS-CoV infection, are considered “close contacts” and should monitor their health. Follow the prevention steps for close contacts below.
Prevention Steps for Close Contacts
If you have had close contact2 with someone who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, novel coronavirus infection, you should:
- Monitor your health starting from the day you were first exposed to the person and continue for 14 days after you were last exposed to the person. Watch for these signs and symptoms:
- Fever3. Take your temperature twice a day.
- Shortness of breath.
- Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.
- If you develop symptoms, follow the prevention steps described above, and call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Before going to get medical attention, call the healthcare provider and tell him or her about your possible exposure to novel coronavirus. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
- If you do not have any symptoms, you can continue with your daily activities, such as going to work, school, or other public areas.
You are not considered to be at risk for novel coronavirus infection if you have not had close contact2 with someone who is confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, novel coronavirus infection. We advise that people follow prevention steps to help reduce their risk of getting infected with respiratory viruses, like novel coronavirus.
- For this guidance, a person being evaluated for novel coronavirus (considered a person under investigation) is someone with the following characteristics:
- Fever3 AND pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (based on clinical or radiologic evidence) AND EITHER:
– history of travel from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula4 within 14 days before symptom onset, OR
– close contact2 with a symptomatic traveler who developed a fever and acute respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia) within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula4, OR
– a member of a cluster of patients with severe acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever3 and pneumonia requiring hospitalization) of unknown etiology in which novel coronavirus is being evaluated, in consultation with state and local health departments,
- Fever3 AND symptoms of respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia; e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) within 14 days before symptom onset in a country or territory in or near the Arabian Peninsula4 in which recent healthcare-associated cases of novel coronavirus have been identified.
- Fever3 OR symptoms of respiratory illness (not necessarily pneumonia; e.g. cough, shortness of breath) AND close contact2 with a confirmed novel coronavirus case while the case was ill.
- Close contact is defined as a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters), or within the room or care area, of a confirmed novel coronavirus case for a prolonged period of time (such as caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with, a confirmed novel coronavirus case) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirator, eye protection); or b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a confirmed novel coronavirus case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment. Data to inform the definition of close contact are limited; considerations when assessing close contact include the duration of exposure (e.g., longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk) and the clinical symptoms of the person with the novel coronavirus (e.g., coughing likely increases exposure risk). Special consideration should be given to those exposed in healthcare settings.
Transient interactions, such as walking by a person with novel coronavirus, are not thought to constitute an exposure; however, the final determination should be made in consultation with public health authorities.
- Fever may not be present in some patients, such as those who are very young, elderly, immunosuppressed, or taking certain medications. Clinical judgment should be used to guide the testing of patients in such situations.
- Countries considered in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring include Bahrain; Iraq; Iran; Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and Yemen.