Like everyone I have been carefully watching the Coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan China and has now spread to other countries including the United States.
There were some initial brave Chinese medical personnel who tried to raise the alarm about the virus. One such health worker, an ophthalmologist named Li Wenliang who later died from the virus, reported on his social media his concern for a flu-like virus that had emerged in the hospital where he worked. According to the Guardian he may have been targeted by Chinese police for spreading false rumors about a mysterious illness that later turned out to be the "Coronavirus."
Now the virus has continued to spread and has caused terrific loss of life and hardship across Asia, parts of Europe, and now the U.S. While there is still a chance that the American people can for the most part remain untouched by the virus the future is uncertain and now is the time to prepare.
While information about the virus is still sketchy I will attempt to sum up some information that is out there so you can get prepared.
My first piece of advice is to remain calm and don't panic. Getting into panic mode will only decrease your ability to think rationally and paralyze you when action is needed to be taken.
Secondly, the virus has tended to cause a much higher mortality rate among elderly individuals that are in nursing homes or are immunosuppressed. While this is not good news for those individuals who fit that description it does mean that mortality rates are not as high for most people. I have seen estimates of mortality of about 2% when patients have access to advanced medical care in first-world countries. Hopefully, this will mean that there will be a lot less loss of life then originally feared.
If the virus does reach pandemic proportions and becomes widespread it is important to know what to look for. The virus seems to present with symptoms slightly different than many respiratory viruses. The most common symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath with significant involvement of the lower respiratory system (ie. the lungs). The lungs of infected individuals can sometimes be so significantly damaged by the virus or by the immune system response to the virus that individuals can develop viral pneumonia or even acute respiratory distress syndrome which is even more ominous. These diagnoses can be detected with a CT scan.
The virus appears to be spread both through direct contact and respiratory droplets and the incubation period may be as long as 15 days. That means that a person could be a carrier of the virus for sometime before symptoms develop. The virus spreads easily and has proven to be very difficult to stop once it gains a foothold.
The most common strategies recommended for preventing the spread of this virus include using proper hygiene, proper hand washing, and limiting exposure to respiratory droplets through use of masks. One strategy that doesn't get a lot of attention but is very important is to simply not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. The virus can only cause an illness if it can get inside you.
Unfortunately, the treatment for Coronavirus is mostly supportive at this juncture and no medication has been proven to be effective although many different antiviral agents are being tried. A vaccine is reportedly being targeted for development although vaccine development is typically not a short process.
Despite the lack of specific proven treatments it probably makes sense to make sure your physical health and diet are the best they can be. Since the virus appears to affect people that are immune compromised the most, making sure that your immune system is in good working order is critical. This includes making sure you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need and that you have low inflammation in your body in general. Some of the biggest contributors to inflammation include high stress, poor sleep, obesity, and poor diet. Decreasing your blood sugar and increasing your insulin sensitivity is very important as diabetics are far more susceptible to illness.
Finally, it stands to reason that everyone should be prepared with basic medical supplies and access to food and water should shortages develop. This is a time for Americans to come together to help each other instead of becoming more divided. The virus is no respecter of persons. It doesn't care who you are and neither should we care.
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