Wash your hands people. You should be doing this anyway, but you can skip reading the rest of this article because that is about the best advice we can give you right now. The increasing hype about the spread of COVID-19 and new cases appearing in the US daily has medical masks, bottled water, hand sanitizer and soap disappearing from most retail shelves (and moon pies soon enough). And along with the news of the coronavirus, is also a lot of misinformation. Although a virus doesn’t really care, it’s got one job (to find a host and make you sick) and knows all our dirty habits.

Advice for prevention from the CDC:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 

A cough, rubbing one’s eyes, picking your nose, a virus can be transmitted onto the hands without much trouble. What happens once it’s on our hands? It really depends. If not washed off, it travels with you and will multiply and go wherever you do. Another way a respiratory virus spreads is if an infected person sneezes or coughs close to you, and you breathe in some of those viral particulates. The disposable medical masks won’t do it. In truth, surgical masks were designed to protect patients from the doctors, and could possibly prevent the spread of a virus once you have been diagnosed.

As of March 3, 2020, in Utah of the 17 people tested for COVID-19, fifteen have been reported as negative, and two are still pending. The report is that “The deadliest outbreak of the virus in the U.S. has been in Washington state, where six patients had died as of Monday afternoon. More than 3,000 had died worldwide, with nearly 90,000 confirmed cases.” That’s considerably less drastic than the percentage of those who died from the Ebola outbreak (90%) in 2014-16 and the COVID-19 death rate is estimated at around 3.4%, but still, wash those hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also provided us a global map of all the confirmed COVID-19 cases and information such as traveling, prevention, symptoms and treatment.

Just for kicks, I’ll pass along some advice from my 83-year old father, and while he’s not a doctor has been around enough to know a thing or two about life. My dad says we should have a stockpile of ibuprofen for fever and those “aches and pains” flu-symptoms, enough food and provisions for a few weeks and of course a few treats on hand, you know, the stuff you like to snack on when you’re not feeling good (ginger ale, chicken soup, or moon pies).

If we catch it or if we avoid it, it never hurts to have extra of what you’ll need. Let’s not get too crazy (yet) about the COVID-19, because chances are we’ll survive it.