Coronavirus: what it is and how to prevent it
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a number of illnesses from the common cold to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and pneumonia.
Depending on the source, these viruses can be transmitted in three ways:
- Animals to animals
- Animals to humans
- Person to person
And Wuhan pneumonia?
The coronavirus making the headlines is a virus that appears to have originated in Wuhan, China.
This never-before seen virus is referred to as 2019-nCoV-2019.
Scientists believe that the first case appeared in customers of the Wuhan fish market.
How does it spread?
The coronavirus called 2019-nCoV is of animal origin but health authorities have confirmed that human-to-human transmission is now occurring.
In conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the situation across the country.
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV
Symptoms have included:
- Difficulty breathing
People with weakened immune system like the elderly and those suffering from a chronic condition are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
If you have been to China recently and are exhibiting these symptoms, avoid all contact with others and contact a health professional as soon as possible.
When you call your doctor, provide them with the following information:
- Your symptoms
- Places you’ve been
- Any direct contact with sick animals or people, particularly if they were showing signs of the virus
How is 2019-nCoV treated?
There is no specific treatment for the virus.
People with the virus must be monitored closely by a doctor to avoid spreading the viral infection.
What to do
Basic hygiene and etiquette are recommended for all:
- Frequent handwashing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
- Use alcohol-based disinfectant if water and soap aren’t available
- Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough
- Use tissue only once and discard after use and wash your hands afterwards