I do not want you to think my head is in the sand – yes I am following the CDC and new’s headlines chockfull of frightful words on this new virus that ‘jumped’ from animals to humans. However, you might have seen the number of deaths from the flu during this season is much more than from the novel coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of influenza-related deaths for the 2019-2020 season is on the rise. At the end of Week 51 (ending Dec. 21), the CDC reported 2,100 deaths in the US. Perspective is crucial.
Basic common hygiene practices (regretfully not taught in schools) can prevent almost all contagious diseases. Knowing that a sneeze and cough can travel 6 feet, also that different virus can live on surfaces for prolonged periods of time. A 2011 study, found that after nine hours, viable viruses were no longer found on most non-porous metal and plastic surfaces, such as aluminum and computer keyboards. On porous items, like soft toys, clothes and wooden surfaces, viable viruses disappeared after four hours. Remember a virus is not alive unless it is in a living organism, it is ‘code’ that is activated once in living cells.
Stay informed as the specific infectiousness of this new virus is determined – it has not been at this posting. An excellent source is the CDC website.
CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 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.