It’s all over the news these days. The coronavirus is the latest viral outbreak that is turning into a worldwide public heath situation.

Appearing in the middle of our traditional flu season, its official name  is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Human coronaviruses were first identified in 1960s, but this particular strain was first detected in Wuhan, China.

After it was reported by the World Health Organization on January 9, the Center for Disease Control has been monitoring the developments around this outbreak. As of this writing, there were 11 cases confirmed in the U.S., including six in California, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Massachusetts.

The symptoms are similar to common cold and flu, and may include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell.

Washing of hands with soap under running water.

According to the CDC, the immediate health risk to the American public is considered low at this time, but public health measures are being put in place proactively.

Currently, there are no vaccines to protect against coronavirus, but there are many things we can do to reduce the risk of contracting it—or any flu—by doing the following common practices:

  • Wash your hands often – soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose without washing your hands
  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Keep objects and surfaces clean and disinfected.

It also helps to keep your immune system strong by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and get plenty of sleep and rest.

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