The potential spread of the coronavirus, which first surfaced in China, has become a concern in Canada after two confirmed cases in Toronto.
The virus, which is being described as presenting with severe flu symptoms, can be deadly to the elderly, the very young and people with chronic diseases and compromised immune systems.
But as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall explained, the health-care community is much better prepared to deal with a potential outbreak after the SARS experience in 2003. Infectious disease control in hospitals, through the health unit and in doctors’ offices is much better than it was before, and if people follow common sense hygiene and cough/sneeze measures like frequent hand washing, coughing into your bent elbow and staying home when you have a fever, it will help keep the spread down.
Many people feel they are indispensable at work and think their bosses will not appreciate them taking a sick day. Taking the sick day and keeping your germs at home, however, is the best way to protect your boss and coworkers from a bigger illness outbreak – from the common cold to the flu, and worse – and they will probably thank you for it.
If you have an elderly relative, friend or neighbour that lives alone, make sure to check on them when you can to ensure they are weathering flu season without needing a trip to the ER. Refraining from shaking hands at work, at church or out in public is also a good idea along with the frequent hand washing.
All these measures are common sense during flu season and even more important with potential coronavirus outbreaks. Our globe is shrinking, and travel to Europe, Asia and other regions is more common in our global economy. In an airport, bus terminal or train station, germs can be spread easily far and wide so the more precautions taken, the safer our community will be from outbreaks.
So if someone coughs or sneezes beside you, you probably shouldn’t run screaming from the room to the first hot shower you can find, but it would be wise to wash your hands thoroughly, eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep. That’s flu season survival 101.