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What’s More Worrisome than the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus vs. Flu

The threat of contracting the coronavirus or, COVID19, has been highly publicized recently – but do you know the facts?

There is a lot of confusion and incorrect information floating around about the coronavirus. The name might sound familiar from the illness that can affect dogs – yet this virus is much different from the canine version. Let’s learn a little more about this new virus.    

Coronavirus, the basics

The coronavirus is a respiratory virus that originated in China and has infected more than 47,000 people in China and countries all over the world. So far it has resulted in up to 1369 deaths.

Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Global Map

As of 11:00 a.m. ET February 17, 2020

Source: CDC, WHO

The World Health Organization has declared a global public health emergency. Americans are taking precautions to stop the spread of the disease within our borders by putting any travelers coming from China in quarantine. At this point there are over 100 Americans who have been evacuated from Wuhan, China and placed in quarantine. Despite these precautions there are 15 total confirmed cases in America, and over 452 other patients who have been tested for the virus .

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath.

According to the CDC “symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.”

Prevention:

At this time there is no vaccine for the coronavirus as it is so new. The best way to prevent obtaining the coronavirus is to avoid being exposed to it in the first place. Keeping away from areas where those affected have been is important.

The CDC also recommends everyday preventative actions which include:

  • Washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with those who are sick
  • If you are sick, stay home and rest
  • Always cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue and wash again afterwards
  • If a tissue is not available, sneeze into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Luckily there has not been an outbreak in the Mohawk Valley area, and for that reason (if the above prevention methods are taken) likelihood of contracting the virus are slim.

Despite the low likelihood of on outbreak in our area, MVHS is still taking steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community, which include:

  • Educating our staff of travel screening primarily within the Emergency Department, Urgent Care, and Primary Care
  • Placed new travel alert signage at the entrances of each ED, Urgent Care and Primary Care Office
  • Educating our staff on propper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment . (Again with primary areas being ED, Urgent Care, and Primary Care Offices)
  • Staff and leadership are staying current on the disease with regular contact with the department of health virus as it progresses to ensure we are up to date with changing guidelines

 There is, however, a more pressing concern, the flu.

Influenza, the basics

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The viruses infect the nose, throat and sometimes lungs. Flu is detected year-round but is most common in the fall and winter.

Peak of Month of Flu Activity

1982-1983 through 2017-2018

Source: CDC

The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

Symptoms

Different from a cold, the flu comes on suddenly. Those who have the flu experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.

Prevention:

The best way to prevent dying from the flu is getting a flu vaccine each year. Although the flu vaccine will not prevent you from contracting the flu, it will prevent you from dying from it. In addition to getting a vaccine you should also:

  • Avoid contact with those who are sick
  • If you are sick stay home
  • When coughing and sneezing be sure to use a tissue or do so into your elbow. Afterwards be sure to wash your hands
  • Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds each time
  • If soap is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Flu shots are very accessible and are free to the public in many locations. If you need a flu shot you can visit MVHS today, though we ask that you wear a mask while you’re waiting.

 

Tags: Virus, Coronavirus, Influenza,

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/what-you-should-do.html

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

 

Emily Cook
Communications Specialist