Coronavirus: what it is and how to prevent it

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:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • 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