5 Small Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus

As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

“I told my children that while I didn’t think that they were at risk right now, we, as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives,” says Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, if you live in the U.S. the risk of getting the virus remains very low, but public health officials say there will likely be outbreaks in the United States. So this is a good time to review your emergency game plan.

Here’s what you need to know to make good decisions to plan, prepare and even prevent the spread of the disease.

1. This virus is contagious, but so far it’s not as deadly as other outbreaks

In China, more than three-quarters of the cases have been classified as mild. Symptoms include low-grade fever and a cough. Some people also experience fatigue, headaches and, less frequently, diarrhea.

Overall, the death rate in China is estimated at 2%, and the average age of death among those with COVID-19 is in the 70s. People with underlying medical problems, and particularly smokers, seem to be at higher risk.

Compared to prior outbreaks of novel viruses, this coronavirus appears less deadly than other human coronaviruses that have spread in recent years. For instance, the death rate was about 34% for MERS and about 10% for SARS.

The flu causes more than 12,000 deaths a year in the U.S. An annual vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu, but there are other strategies to prevent it. So far, there’s no vaccine against the new coronavirus, but some of the same strategies to prevent flu can also protect against coronavirus.

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