By now, you may have already heard about the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. This outbreak continues to dominate headlines since late December 2019, when it first emerged in China. In a month’s time, the coronavirus type has already spread to several countries—the Philippines included. The number of confirmed cases and casualties continue to rise as health care organizations around the world are imposing preventative measures to contain the outbreak.
On January 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency. Here’s what you need to know about this new coronavirus type, and how you can help protect yourself from it.
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Coronavirus (COV) is a group of viruses that cause a range of illnesses, including the common cold to more severe cases such as pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and kidney failure.
There are 6 coronaviruses that affect humans. Some of the more commonly known ones include the MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS) and SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS). More recently, a new coronavirus type has been identified as the Wuhan coronavirus or 2019 nCoV.
WHERE DID THE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS/2019 nCoV COME FROM?
It is believed to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, China. On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities alerted World Health Organization (WHO) of several cases of pneumonia that originated from an unknown virus. One week later, it was confirmed that it came from a new type of coronavirus—and that it can be transmitted from one person to another.
As of this date, there are over 7,000 confirmed cases in China alone with the death toll rising to more than 100. Unfortunately, the numbers still continue to rise.
There are already confirmed cases in 22 other countries including United States, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and Thailand. On January 30, Philippines announced its 1st case of the novel coronavirus. The patient is a 38-year old woman who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS?
While the symptoms are quite similar to the common cold, the coronaviruses like 2019-nCoV are particularly dangerous for people who have weaker immune systems, like young children and older adults.
The incubation period is estimated to be around 14 days, which means that it takes roughly around that time for symptoms to show up after the person is infected. It is reported that some people who are infected may not experience any of the common symptoms at first.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
The coronavirus is highly contagious through droplet transmission. This occurs through close contact with someone who is infected through coughing and sneezing, or touching or shaking hands.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is no specific cure for the coronavirus. Just like the common cold, however, doctors can treat the symptoms. Once someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus, the patient must be quarantined from the general population so the virus won’t spread. In more severe cases, patients will be given oxygen support if they have respiratory problems.
While there is one confirmed case in the Philippines so far, it is important to take preventative measures as early as now. Here are 7 ways that can help protect yourself from the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan coronavirus.
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing symptoms, please alert your healthcare provider about any recent travel or contact with animals.
1. STOCK UP ON VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body ward off infection. It also strengthens your body’s natural defenses, aka your immune system. Since our bodies cannot produce the vitamin by itself, it’s important to incorporate vitamin C into your daily routine.
For adults, the average daily recommended amount is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. The recommended amount is slightly higher if you are pregnant (80-85mg) or breastfeeding (115-120mg).
Aside from supplements, other rich sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits include oranges and grapefruits and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. Look for food and drinks that are fortified with vitamin C, too.
TRY: Huga Nutrition Vitamin C Immunity Gummy Vitamins Orange Flavor (60 Gummies), now on sale at P349 (limited time only), Easy Cures VitaGreen-C, now on sale at P616 (limited time only)
2. TAKE A DAILY MULTIVITAMIN
Further improve your body’s resistance by taking a daily multivitamin. Look for ones that have vitamin A and vitamin D, two vitamins that also help boost your immunity. Taking a multivitamin certainly does not replace a proper diet, so it’s equally important to supplement it with a well-balanced diet, good sleeping habits, and proper hygiene.
TRY: Herbs of the Earth Complete Multivitamin Adult Gummies (90 Gummies), now on sale at P1,199 (limited time only), Herbs of the Earth Organic Greens and Fruits Superfood & Multivitamins, now on sale at P1,299 (limited time only)
3. WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY
Hand washing is one of the most efficient ways of protecting yourself as clean hands can prevent germs from spreading. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the proper way to wash your hands is rinsing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands as the virus is highly contagious.
TRY: Livstore Greened Liquid Hand Soap now on sale at P150 (limited time only)
4. USE HAND SANITIZER
Using alcohol-based sanitizer is also ideal for situations when hand-washing is not readily available. Sanitizers are not only effective in preventing the transmission of coronavirus, but also other vital infections as well. Stash one on your desk, in your bag or car. Don’t forget to apply frequently, especially after touching something that other people have touched (doors, elevator buttons, etc).
TRY: W.DRESSROOM Perfumed Sanitizer now on sale at P495 (limited time only)
5. WEAR A FACE MASK
Health care experts are divided on whether face masks are effective in protecting people against the coronavirus. Some experts mention that using N95 masks are recommended only for those in a healthcare setting. People should only wear a face mask when they are sick with flu-like symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing, and for those who live with and care for the ones who have been infected. Face masks are still a physical barrier, but often they are loosely fit. This means germs and airborne particles can still enter through.
Still, there is no harm in wearing a face mask when you are out in the public, especially in crowded places. Another benefit of wearing a face mask is that it can help prevent the wearer from directly touching your mouth and nose with dirty hands.
Always make sure to practice proper habits when wearing a mask. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting one on. The mask should also cover the nose, mouth, and chin. As much as possible, avoid touching the mask throughout the day. And if you’re wearing the surgical mask, the colored side must be faced outwards. Dispose a used mask properly, and always use a new one the following day.
TRY: Perfect Care Face Mask (1 Piece), P6
6. INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE
As advised by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to CNN Philippines, a dry throat makes it easier for virus to enter one’s system. Make sure that you stay hydrated and drink enough H20. Health authorities recommend about 2 liters or half a gallon per day.
And if you’re not a fan of plain water, try infusing it with fruits or even making a cup of matcha. Matcha can help boost the immune system thanks to its high antioxidant content.
TRY: BKR Big Water Bottle (1L), now on sale at P1,520 (limited time only), The Superfood Grocer Matcha Green Tea Powder (50g), now on sale at P356 (limited time only)
7. EAT IMMUNE-BOOSTING SNACKS
Reach for healthier, nutrient-dense snacks that can boost your immune system. Goji berries and acai berries, for example, contains healthy antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals and inflammation. There has been studies that almonds, which are loaded with vitamin E, can help fight off viruses.
TRY: The Green Tummy Organic Dried Goji Berries (50g), now on sale at P102 (limited time only, Philippine Pure Raw Almonds (500g Jar), now on sale at P488 (limited time only, Roarganics Acai Berry Powder (250g), now on sale at P2,100 (limited time only
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