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A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to micro-organisms, including bacteria and archaea.
Genetic material: Most viruses have either RNA or DNA as their genetic material.
Viruses have a reputation for being the cause of contagion. Widespread events of disease and death have no doubt bolstered such a reputation. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the 2009 H1N1/swine flu pandemic (a widespread global outbreak) likely come to mind. While such viruses certainly are wily foes for scientists and medical professionals, others of their ilk have been instrumental as research tools; furthering the understanding of basic cellular processes such as the mechanics of protein synthesis, and of viruses themselves.
People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease.
Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Older adults and some people with medical conditions, People with Asthma, People with HIV are at higher risk for severe illness.
Social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
How Germs Spread
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
Touch a contaminated surface or objects
Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
Key Times to Wash Hands. You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering. Cloth face coverings should:
- Fit Snugly but Comfortably Against the side of the face
- Be Secured with Ties or Ear Loops
- Include a Couple Layers of Fabric
- Allow for Breathing Without Restriction
The CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. Frontal view of an individual wearing a cloth face covering. Individual is using two fingers to point to either side of the top of the nose, indicating that the covering fits well in this area. Cloth face coverings should be washed or ironed. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
Viruses and Bacteria They Just Can’t Take The Heat.
IRON? Yes! Every time you return you should quaritine your clothing, shoes, keys, phone and mask in a desinated spot. hanging your masks on a key ring holder is best and then using an iron is best way to kill bactiera and viruses. Tossing your face mask in a hot-water laundry cycle is another great way to sanitize them. Just as hand soap disintegrates the virus by breaking its exterior, your trusty detergent will be enough to leave your face masks ready for another use. Pay special attention to temperature.
Water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit has proven effective at degrading most viruses, and both the World Health Organization and the UK’s National Health Service recommend this temperature for treating contaminated clothes and fabrics. But because a 140-degree shower would burn your skin, most people’s water heaters are set to 120 degrees.
US Health Department recommends that you wash or discard a mask after every use. With that in mind, having more than one mask available per person would be ideal.
Corona Virus COVID-19 Virtual Map. Click on Image - Opens To New Window
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:
After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc. Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies. Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use.
How to use hand sanitizer. Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount). Rub your hands together. Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
Cleaning removes food and other types of soil from a surface such as a countertop or plate. Sanitizing reduces the number of pathogens on that clean surface to safe levels. To be effective, cleaning and sanitizing must be a 4-step process. Surfaces must be cleaned, rinsed, sanitized, and allowed to air dry.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.
Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
What is social distancing? two people with masks on 6 feet apart
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people. Do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.
When COVID-19 is spreading in your area, everyone should limit close contact with individuals outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Why practice social distancing?
COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sun light and humidity. Social distancing helps limit contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.
Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.
Tips for social distancing
Follow guidance from authorities where you live.
If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
Consider a grocery delivery service.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, including when you have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store.
Stay at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering.
Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults. Children should not have in-person playdates while school is out. To help maintain social connections while social distancing, learn tips to keep children healthy while school’s out.
Work from home when possible.
If possible, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
If you are a student or parent, talk to your school about options for digital/distance learning.
Stay connected while staying away. It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family that don’t live in your home. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and having to socially distance yourself from someone you love can be difficult. Read tips for stress and coping.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.
Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).
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