NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK AND SAFETY MEASURES

World, particularly China and southeast Asia, is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which leads to respiratory illness, they include viruses  that can cause the common cold and serious illnesses such as MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

This virus basically attacks your respiratory system as it was found that approximately 99% of affected patients suffered from severe pneumonia and their lungs were found to be filled with water.

CoronaVirus

Furthermore, pervious experiences with outbreaks of virus illness, eg avian influenza suggest that this novel coronavirus may have been transmitted from animals to humans directly. Investigations to identify the sources of the outbreak, modes of transmission and the extent of spread of infection are continuing.

Know the acute symptoms :-

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In serious cases, symptoms also include :-

  • Pneumonia
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
  • Kidney failure

WHO standard recommendations for the general public to avoid chances of transmission, it is important to follow certain instructions:-

  • Frequently clean hands by use of soap and alcohol based hand rub with clean water.
  • Always cover mouth and nose  when coughing & sneezing with a tissue.
  • Seek immediate medical advice if there is fever, cough & difficulty breathing.
  • Do not consume raw or undercooked animal products.Eg raw milk, meat should be handled with care to avoid cross contamination with uncooked foods , as per food safety practices.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth after sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Practice food safety measures :-

  • Make use of different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and processed meat products.
  • Poultry and animal products should be properly cooked during food preparation.
  • If you are sick or have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness, then avoid preparing food for others.

Tips to stay healthy while travelling :-

  • Avoid travel if you have a fever and cough.
  • If you fall sick during or after travelling , share travel history with your health care provider.
  • Avoid contact with people suffering from a fever , cough, cold or show signs of respiratory illness.
  • Keep a alcohol based rub handy with you.
  • Use a face mask to cover face, nose and avoid touching mask once it’s on.Also, when using a medical mask use cooler side out if you’re sick and white side out (this is the filter part) for when you want prevention from germs.
  • P2 face mask are likely to provide better protection against the virus than other masks.
  • Immediately discard single use mask after one use and wash hands after removing mask.
  • Eat only well cooked food and have warm food.
  • Avoid close contact with stray animals.

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment yet for 2019-nCoV infection. People already infected with it should receive immediate medical assistance and severe cases should include care to support vital organ functions.

To summarise, practice good personal hygiene and sanitation , safe food practices, avoid contact with ill or suspected people.

REFERENCES

https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/safety/Pages/NOVEL-CORONAVIRUS-AND-FOOD-SAFETY.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

 

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