Coronavirus and the Regular Flu
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, both Influenza “the flu” and coronavirus are respiratory illnesses. Symptoms appear similar, but the two illnesses are caused by different viruses. Although it may be concerning to hear about the spread of coronavirus, the flu has had a much larger impact on Americans with 32 million people diagnosed with the flu and 18,000 deaths this season and coronavirus with 11 deaths to date.
Whether you are concerned about the flu or coronavirus, keep these suggestions in mind in your everyday lives.
Using hand sanitizer
Use hand sanitizer throughout the day and make sure your hand sanitizer is alcohol based.
Wash your hands for 20 seconds, regularly.
It’s not a clearly threatening practice, and physical touch has its own value to consider, as do gestures of respect, but consider an alternative way to greet your friends or colleagues.
Disinfecting common surfaces
You are unlikely to get the virus from someone coughing or sneezing directly into your face. You are much more likely to catch the virus by touching something that someone else touched after coughing into their hand. This can partly be prevented by disinfecting surfaces.
The most commonly touched surfaces in homes and offices, especially shared spaces, are priority. Countertops, remote controls, and refrigerator handles should be disinfected regularly.
Phone screens may be the surface we touch the most. Other, similar coronaviruses are known to live on glass for up to four days. If you’ve been touching your phone with viral hands, then you do a beautiful job washing those hands, and then you touch your phone again, you may have just recontaminated yourself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends once a day.
Masks seem logical as preventive measures because the disease is spread by respiratory droplets, which can travel simply by breathing but mostly distribute in plumes from coughs or sneezes. If you were sick and had to leave home for some reason, ideally you would wear a surgical mask. Even wearing a mask, you’re still infectious and should behave accordingly.
This is an extremely imperfect directive, as so many people’s jobs and other obligations make it impossible. But no single recommendation is perfect or universally applicable. And Americans have proved, flu season after flu season, that many workplaces are not accommodating enough of staying home. If workplaces are not accommodating, business may suffer even more in the long run, if more shutdown measures are taken.
Seeking medical care
This may be the most crucial question: When do mild symptoms warrant attention? Most people are not accustomed to seeking care or testing when they have a mild cough or runny nose. Since both the flu and coronavirus are a not a bacterial infection, neither is treatable with antibiotics. If you have symptoms, be conscientious. Take over the counter fever reducing medication, rest and stay home. If symptoms worsen or become severe, contact your physician.