The Outbreak of Coronavirus: Preventive Measures

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Coronaviruses (CoV) which can be transmitted between animals and people are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A new strain that has not been previously identified in humans known as the novel coronavirus (nCoV) has spread to more than 110 countries and claimed more than 4,600 lives with common signs including respiratory symptoms, fever, aches, pains, nasal congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and other forms of breathing difficulties. These symptoms begin gradually and are usually mild. Some persons may also become asymptomatic. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Geriatrics with underlying comorbidities like hypertension, cardiovascular problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection include regular and thorough cleaning of the hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water, practice good respiratory hygiene by properly coughing and sneezing into the elbow and then, disposing the tissue used immediately, maintaining a social distance of at least 3 feet for anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth as contaminated hands can transfer the virus. When any of the above symptoms present, seek medical attention and call in advance. People do consider canceling their travel plans due to the accompanying fear but practicing the above recommendations would help anyone stay safe.

Various protection measures for individuals who are in contact or have recently visited areas where COVID-19 is spreading within the past 14 days are to stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical help and call in advance. Inform your healthcare provider of any recent travel or contact with others. This will help your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility and prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to several changes in approaching public facilities and crowded environments. The key goal is for everyone to protect themselves first. Organizations are usually encouraged to make readily available water and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to ensure that preventive measures are optimally kept. The Austrian government has banned all indoor activity with more than 100 persons and outdoor events with more than 1,000 persons. Closing of public facilities, universities and other educational institutions is an aggressive means of lessening the impact of COVID-19 and reducing the burden of such a pandemic disease. More public health decisions are expected in the coming days to ensure the total victory over COVID-19.

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