Coronavirus: Be Smart
As news about the 2019 novel coronavirus continues to make headlines, you may be concerned about your risk of exposure or how to protect your loved ones. With massive amounts of information circulating widely and unchecked on social media, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction at first glance – but the best way to protect yourself and your family is to stay informed, and take basic preventative actions that are always recommended to avoid the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Check your sources. Perhaps you have heard that coronavirus is a man-made bio-weapon, or that sesame oil blocks the virus – claims that are provably and patently false. In the age of Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, lies spread faster than the truth, and this misinformation can put communities at higher risk. To stay safe and sane, get your coronavirus information from trusted public health sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Always think twice before liking or sharing unverified claims on social media, and double-check your sources .
- Don’t overreact to rumors. The CDC has published easily-accessible tips for common-sense actions we can all take to avoid unnecessary anxiety about the coronavirus. If you are healthy, a facemask is not recommended. News about the virus is not an excuse to engage in harmful xenophobic stereotypes. Be aware of the risks for exposure to coronavirus, and be smart about protecting yourself and others.
- Feel sick? Stay home. Use common-sense solutions to avoid infecting others if you are under the weather – whether it’s a common cold, the flu, or something else. Staying home and limiting contact with others is a smart way to prevent to potential spread of germs to immune-compromised people and to speeding your own recovery.
- Call the doctor. If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. If you are sick and believe you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, call ahead to speak to your medical provider, and follow any instructions given by a health care professional.
- Take steps to avoid exposure. Like many other viruses, novel coronavirus can spread through contact with respiratory droplets. You can take measures to lower your risk of infection; as a bonus, guarding against coronavirus will also decrease your likely exposure to other common illnesses. If you are healthy, take care to wash your hands with soap often, or use alcohol-based wipes and gels. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands – now is a great time to kick your fingernail-biting habit.
Local, state, and national public health experts are closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus, and are your best sources for reliable information about your community’s risk level and response measures. Be smart about your level of risk for exposure, only follow trusted sources, and do your part to prevent the spread of this an other viruses.