Coronavirus: How to reduce your risk

“It’s not overreacting to prepare for the Covid-19,” With the number of cases in the U.S. escalating, health-care professionals recommend a number of sensible steps that can reduce your risk of infection. First—and most importantly—wash your hands frequently. Studies have shown coronaviruses can survive on surfaces for two hours to nine days. The Centers for Disease Control recommends a vigorous, 20-second wash with soap and water; if a sink isn’t available, you can use hand sanitizer. And, for goodness sake, stop touching your face,As an infectiousdisease physician, I know that we touch our face “an average of 15 to 23 times an hour,” mostly unconsciously; and since we “also touch door handles, subway poles, handrails, saltshakers, other people’s hands, and grocery carts,” we risk infection by doing so.

Shaking hands, kissing friends hello, and sharing plates are bad ideas, too, Researchers believe that the virus usually hitches a ride on “a droplet of mucus or saliva” to spread, so standing even 3 feet from a sick person is risky. But skip the face masks, At best, commercially available “cloth or latex” face masks reduce the chances of sick people spreading the virus through coughing and sneezing, but they do little to protect the wearer from tiny airborne virus particles. “A properly fitted N95 respirator mask,” which filters out 95 percent of airborne particles, would provide protection, but even professionals require training to ensure they’re wearing it right.

You need not cancel air travel if your destination is not a coronavirus hot zone, Most airplane cabins use “hospital operating-room-grade” filters that remove viruses and bacteria from circulated air; it’s a good idea to aim the vent at your face so you’re breathing filtered air on a plane, and to clean your tray table and armrest with disinfectant wipes. You’re only at higher risk if you’re seated near an infected person. In case you or your environs are quarantined, you should lay away enough soup, beans, and other dry goods to “carry you through for a couple of weeks.” The same is true for prescription medications. But hoarding is unnecessary and anti-social. And start making contingency plans in case offices, schools, and day-care centers are closed.