By DENICE SY MUNEZ

I was only around seven to eight years old when the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak occurred back in 2003. I don’t remember being worried about it, possibly because my parents made sure my siblings and I were protected, preventing us from feeling any form of anxiety.

Nine years later in 2012, another virus swept the world with MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome). I wasn’t so bothered about it either, probably because I was only a teenager at the time who cared more about graduating from college.

It wasn’t until I consulted my pediatrician and other doctors, conducting my own research as well, that I started to calm down a little bit and approach this deadly virus objectively. Here are some basic facts about the novel coronavirus, and what we can do to keep ourselves and our kids from contracting the virus.

1. It’s not the first time coronavirus swept the earth. As mentioned earlier, humankind has survived other viruses of similar nature in the past: SARS in 2003, MERS in 2012, as well as four other alpha and beta coronaviruses in the last century. It’s a matter of waiting for modern scientists to find a new solution to this novel threat.

2. There are, by far, more deaths caused by heart diseases than coronavirus in this lifetime. Stressing over things beyond our control does not improve our emotional and physical wellbeing. We have to be cautious and careful, but without compromising
our mental health.

3. The coronavirus spreads from person to person through the air or by close contact.

4. It is airborne through bacteria caused by coughing, sneezing, or transmitted via touch. The virus is said to last up to 12 hours
on metal surfaces, and six to 12 hours on fabric. Washing our hands
with soap or d i s i n f e c t i n g with alcohol after coming into contact with any metal surface is a must. Washing our clothes with regular detergent should be enough to kill the virus. Feel free to add bleach for peace of mind.

5. Death by pneumonia is the worst case scenario of Coronavirus. Symptoms of pneumonia by Coronavirus
include dry sore throat for the first three to four days. As the virus blends into the nasal fluid in the days after, a high temperature and feeling of suffocation may follow. Look for medical attention urgently if you encounter any of the above symptoms.

As in any bad situation, prevention is always key to avoid the negative repercussions.

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1. ALWAYS WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP

According to pediatrician, Dr. Enrique Clemente, strict hand hygiene for everyone must be practiced in the house. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to rinse hands at least 20 seconds long, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable.

2. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK

With or without the coronavirus outbreak, we have a natural social tendency of avoiding individuals who have the flu or sniffles. Let’s continue applying this safety precaution to protect ourselves.

On the other hand, if we are sick, let’s do our part by covering our mouth and nose when sneezing, and stay at home until we’ve fully recovered.

3. CLEAN AND DISINFECT ITEMS THAT WE OFTEN TOUCH.

This includes personal belongings such as our mobile phones, wallets, and car keys. Disinfect these constantly, and do not touch our eyes, nose, mouth, and children with unwashed hands. Make sure we pursue the same careful efforts for items frequently used or touched by our babies and their caretakers.

4. AVOID CROWDED PLACES.
Cindy Ong, M.D. warns against going to crowded places, especially around people who show signs of respiratory difficulties. The virus transmits quickly in public and crowded spaces.

5. BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Any supplement to boost the immune system will be a great help. Eat healthier, drink more water, sleep more, and take vitamins.

6. WEAR A MASK.
This is the last safety measure. The mask would be just an added protection if we are intentional and religious in watching our hygiene, avoid sick people, stay away from others when we are sick, and disinfect our properties consistently. If we don’t follow the first three steps, even a mask will be ineffective in preventing infection.

Let’s remember to keep things in perspective during this nerve wrecking time. Always look for reputable sources, and do not rely on fear based headlines from random sources online. Refer to institutions such as World Health Organization,
Department of Health, and Center for Disease control. It is also highly recommended to talk to medical professionals for any
health concerns.

Coronavirus is scary, but following a practical routine for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is the best way we can keep our families from transmitting the virus.

 

 

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