What You Can Do Right Now About the New Virus

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What You Can Do Right Now About the New Virus
A lot of advice is going around, both good and bad. I hope it's helpful to compile some good information in one place. Much of what follows is not original-generally don't trust health advice that no one else is giving-and please bear in mind that any guidance can and should change as the situation develops, and that local health departments and personal physicians may need to tailor recommendations for specific scenarios.


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Virus spreading

In The U.S., the new  virus may have been undetected for weeks, leading to a potential domestic spread, the extent of which is still unclear.

If the virus is spreading, the best-...


Preventive measures

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly, preferably in hot water.
  • Anti-bacterial soap doesn't work any better than normal soap...


Preparing for isolation

  • Masks offer a level of protection but those who are already sick cannot rely on masks completely, as the virus can spread despite it.
  • Stockpiling of masks is discouraged, and people wh...


Seeking medical help

  • It is advisable to avoid travel if you are sick.
  • It is still unclear if one should seek care or testing with a mild cough or a runny nose. Clear guidelines should follow in the comin...



What we know

The virus that is causing the current outbreak is a respiratory one and spreads through droplet infection.

  • There have been no known cases of the virus spreading through "smear" inf...

Contaminated surfaces

  • The virus can be detected in aerosols (airborne droplets smaller than five micrometers) for up to three hours.
  • On copper, for up to four hours.
  • On cardboard, for up to 24 hours.
  • On stainless steel or plastic, for up to three days.

The virus particles on any surface decrease rapidly at the start, then slowly approaches zero over time.

Touching or eating contaminated food

If a food worker coughs over your food while preparing it, although really gross, your risk of contracting the disease that way is minimal.

According to a 2018 overview of respiratory viruses, the virus reproduces along the respiratory tract. It is a different pathway than the digestive tract food follows when you swallow it.

Even if you handle contaminated food and then deposit the virus along your respiratory tract, it's highly unlikely to get sick this way.

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The new virus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person sneezing or coughing rather than through objects and materials that are contaminated.

However, the C...

Laundry machines and clothing

Family and emergency Dr. Janette Nesheiwat suggested that polyester, spandex-like material may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabrics, but all types of fabrics can be contaminated.

It is safe to use a shared laundry machine because the virus is killed by washing your clothes over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't boil everything, because it will ruin your clothes.

Washing of clothes

  • It is advised to wash clothes in detergent that contain a bleach compound as viruses can't survive in that harsh environment.
  • Regularly wash your clothes, especially if you have been in a crowded area. Also, consider washing your coat.
  • It's best to wash a sick person's clothing separately.

Basic protective measures

... against the new virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain social distancing, at least 1 meter (3 feet)...

Coming from dangerous places

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited areas where the new virus spreading:

  • Stay at home. Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible infections.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of viruses.