WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS?
The COVID-19 outbreak has now spread to over 114 countries with more than 118,000 cases. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus labeled SARS-CoV-25. Symptoms of human coronaviruses may be mild or more serious such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze.
- close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to treat or protect against COVID-196. Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is recommending2 for the public practice everyday preventive actions can help to limit the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-90% alcohol).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Consider a wave or elbow bump in place of a handshake, hug or kiss.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Reduce your exposure to crowded places by shopping or using transit during non-peak hours.
In healthcare, patients with suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 infection should be cared for while using Isolation Precautions to minimize the potential transmission of the disease.
This includes contact precautions and droplet precautions or in the case of procedures that can cause aerosolization, droplet precautions are replaced with airborne precautions.
The use of gloves, eye protection (goggles or face shield), gowns, the correct respiratory protection, cleaning and disinfection and frequent hand hygiene are also important to block the route of transmission.