The Wuhan Coronavirus: Stay Informed and Ready

A new disease can pop up any year — remember the Swine Flu (N1H1) several years ago that swept across the country.  Fortunately it had mostly mild, if uncomfortable, symptoms.  Unfortunately, unlike annual flu, the swine virus seemed to affect younger healthy people with serious consequences including death.  Seasonal flu, the Wuhan coronavirus, even the common cold (which is a coronavirus)  can cause serious complications for the old and the very young.  If you’re worried about contracting these diseases there are precautions you can take such as washing your hands or using a hand sanitizing gel. 

We have so many sources of information available to us these days that it is difficult to sort out what information is credible and which we should disregard.  These three web sites are great tools:

Web Md        www. webmd. com

Centers for Disease Control   www. cdc. gov

World Health Organization    www. who. int/en/

These websites are constantly updated with new information that you can rely on.

Your state and local health departments also have important information on their websites about areas where the flu outbreak is particularly concentrated, and about schools or other public facilities that may be temporarily closed.  For example, a school closure occurred at a prep school in New York after eight students were found to have swine flu.  Public health authorities may also provide advice on when to avoid crowds, where disease can be spread easily, when to consider postponing travel, or other social distancing strategies. 

Keep informed by reading the newspaper and watching TV but keep in mind that these days the news media have a tendency to exaggerate bad news and ignore good news.  For example if say 2,500 cases of a disease is confirmed the media may well have headlines that scream thousands of cases have been confirmed.

Planning ahead can help you cope with this situation as well.  Make sure you have stocked up on food, medicine, alcohol based hand rubs, and other supplies you may need should you or your family come down with the flu.  Have tea bags, crackers, chicken soup mix, ginger ale, jello, and juices ready to go.  Make sure you have tissues, decongestant spray, and throat lozenges on hand.  If you are infected, you need to stay home and take care of yourself, not have to run out to the store where you could infect other people as well as tiring yourself out. 

Being prepared may mean you don’t contract the coronavirus at all. 

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