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Flu is still the bigger fear in the U.S. Wash your hands.
By Guest Blogger: Cliff Mehrtens, Novant Health
The new coronavirus identified in China has put health experts on alert across the globe. Details around the respiratory illness are rapidly evolving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Coronaviruses are common infections in humans and animals,” said Dr. David Priest, Novant Health senior vice president and chief safety and quality officer.
“Occasionally, one moves from animal populations into human populations and is one we haven’t seen before. That’s the case with the situation in China.”
The outbreak began in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in China’s Hubei province, and has spread to other countries. Last week, an airline traveler from Wuhan entered the U.S. in the state of Washington with the virus. Since then, a handful of cases have been confirmed in the U.S.
All travelers to the U.S. from Wuhan are being routed to one of five airports where they are screened for coronavirus upon arrival: San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD).
“While there is no evidence of widespread transmission in the United States, the number of cases in China continues to grow,” Priest said. “ The CDC is now recommending that people avoid nonessential travel to China.” Public health officials continue to follow the situation closely.
For updates on the 2019 novel coronavirus, go to this CDC website.
Priest said the public doesn’t need to take any special precautions. Rather, everyone should follow recommendations health experts regularly advise for prevention.
At this point, Americans have more to fear from the flu than the coronavirus, Priest said. The CDC has warned that this may be the most severe flu season we’ve had in decades. “During flu season, we always want to make sure we’re washing our hands, covering our mouths when we cough and not going to work or to school when we’re ill,” he said.
Everyone should keep these things in mind to stay germ-free:
– Avoid touching doorknobs; Use your elbow or shoulder to push doors open.
– If someone is sick, they should sleep alone to avoid spreading to loved ones.
– Avoid shaking hands or other personal contact if you are ill or with anyone else who is ill.
– Do not go to work or school if you have an illness like the flu. You should not return until your fever has been gone for 24 hours and you have stopped taking fever-reducing medication.
At Novant Health Infectious Disease Specialists, we focus on preventing and treating communicable diseases present across the world and here at home.