coronavirus

How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus

Here's what the CDC, WHO and Illinois Department of Public Health recommend to protect yourself from the spread of coronavirus

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to start preparing for a possible pandemic outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, noting it's not a question of "if" the outbreak will happen but "when."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to start preparing for a possible pandemic outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, noting it’s not a question of “if” the outbreak will happen but “when.”

While the CDC outlined what that level of preparation should look like in U.S. schools and businesses, the warning left Americans wondering how to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Regular surgical face masks are not effective in protecting against the coronavirus. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are fitted to a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.

Here's what the CDC recommends:

"It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed."

The World Health Organization said protecting yourself from coronavirus is similar to preventing other types of infections:

"Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs," the WHO said. "Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing."

The virus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, has infected more than 79,000 people globally, and caused more than 2,600 deaths, most of them in China.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also weighed in with specific ways to "help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself from becoming infected":

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

"There are currently no vaccines to protect against human coronavirus infection," the IDPH wrote online. There also are no specific treatments. To help relieve symptoms, the IDPH recommends:

  • Take pain and fever medications
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Stay home and rest
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