Practical advice we all need: The Telegraph (UK) on the 2019 new corona virus

Research Cooperative
31/01/20 08:57:40PM
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The following advice is excerpted from:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-symptoms-treatment-latest-advice/

(Internet 31st January, without permission, for the common good; copyright of the authors and/or The Telegraph; please see the full article at the source link, especially if you live in the UK or are traveling to the UK).

Symptoms of coronavirus: what to look for, who to contact if you get sick and how to treat it

Authors:


Excerpted text

How is the new conornavirus spread and how can I protect myself ?


H and hygiene is the first and most important line of defence.

Like cold and flu bugs, the new virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.  The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.

It follows that the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.

Also try to avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands – something we all do unconsciously on average about 15 times an hour .

Other tips include:

  • Carry a hand sanitiser with you to make frequent cleaning of hands easy
  • Always wash your hands before you eat
  • Be especially careful in busy airports and other public transport systems about touching things and then touching your face
  • Carry disposable tissues with you, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue carefully (catch it, bin it, kill it)
  • Do not share snacks from packets or bowls that others are dipping their fingers into
  • Avoid shaking hands or cheek kissing if you suspect viruses are circulating
  • Regularly clean, not just your hands, but commonly used surfaces and devices you touch or handle 

Is it just droplets from the nose and mouth that spread the new virus?


Probably not, but they are by far the most common risk.




T he NHS is advising doctors that the virus is also likely to be contained in other bodily secretions including in blood, faeces and urine. 

Here again, hand and surface hygiene is the key.

How can I protect my family, especially children?


Children are a major vector for the spread of droplet-based viruses because they interact physically so much with each other and are not the best at keeping themselves clean.

However, you can greatly lower the risk that children pose of spreading or catching viruses by:

  • Explaining to them how germs spread and the importance of good hand and face hygiene
  • Keeping household surfaces clean, especially kitchens, bathrooms and door handles
  • Using clean cloths to wipe surfaces, so you don't transfer germs from one surface to another
  • Giving everyone their own towel and making sure they know not to share toothbrushes etc
  • Keep your home dry and airy (bugs thrive in musty environments)

What about face masks, do they work?


Paper face masks are not generally recommended by the NHS for ordinary citizens – with good reason. 

They are ill-fitting and what protection they might initially provide soon expires. Worse, they quickly become moist inside providing the perfect environment for germs to thrive in. They also become a hazard for others if carelessly discarded.

However, an exception to this would be if you were displaying symptoms such as coughing or sneezing – then a mask may help prevent you spreading the virus to others in busy locations.

In hospitals, healthcare workers treating patients with the virus will wear masks but these are specialist devices and there are strict protocols they must follow to ensure they remain safe and effective.




Can the new coronavirus be treated?


T here is no simple cure for the new coronaviruses – just as there is no cure for the common cold.

In more severe cases, the virus causes pneumonia, an infection that inflames the lungs and causes breathing difficulty. This is where the main danger lies.

Viral pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics and, for the moment at least, there are no antivirals specific to this particular virus.

Instead doctors focus on supporting patients' lung function as best they can. They may be given oxygen or placed on a breathing machine (ventilator) in the most severe cases.

Other symptoms such as fever and discomfort will be treated using drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Secondary infections may be treated with antibiotics.

Are some groups of people more at risk than others?

Data from China suggests that people of all ages are at risk of contracting the virus .

However, as with most respiratory illnesses, it is likely to be the young and old who are most at risk once infected. People with a reduced chance of surviving pneumonia include:

Those over age 65

Children under the age of two 

People with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system

As data accumulates, a much clearer picture of the particular risk groups for the new virus will emerge and will be updated here:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/coronavirus-symptoms-treatment-latest-advice/

Is there a vaccine for the new coronavirus?


There is currently no vaccine but researchers in the US, UK and China have already begun working on one, thanks to China's prompt sharing of the virus's genetic code. 

However, any potential vaccine will not be available for up to a year and would most likely be given to health workers most at risk of contracting the virus first.

For now, it is a case of containment. China has started building several  1,000-bed hospitals to treat patients which it hopes to finish within days.

Capacity to treat patients who require both ventilation and isolation will also be the biggest challenge for the NHS if the virus takes hold in the UK.

BOX:

Coronaviruses | How to reduce your risk of infection




  • ​Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • No unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals

Source: WHO

See also:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019