A masked woman in a plastic rain coat . Picture: AP Photo/Andy Wong
A masked woman in a plastic rain coat . Picture: AP Photo/Andy Wong

How to protect yourself against coronavirus, according to the WHO

By Lifestyle Reporter Time of article published Mar 5, 2020

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The Health Department has confirmed that the first person to be diagnosed with the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in South Africa is a 38-year-old man who had travelled to Italy with his wife.

According to the Health Ministry, the couple, who are from KwaZulu-Natal, returned home on March 1 and the husband consulted a doctor on March 3 after presenting flu-like symptoms, including headache, fever and a cough. He tested positive for COVID-19 and has been self-isolating since then, the ministry said.

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new (2019-nCoV).

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Here are some tips from WHO to help you manage the virus:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

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