The coronavirus, which presents with an illness likened to a deadly pneumonia, and has reportedly taken the lives of several hundred people worldwide, has sparked fear in American residents after reports of numerous cases having been confirmed within the country’s borders.
Although medical officials maintain that the general public has a better chance of contracting the flu, rather than the coronavirus, Americans still are remaining cautious. The question on most minds is—what if I have been exposed to, or even contracted, the novel virus?
Evaluate Your Possible Risk
Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, in a statement to Fox News, emphasized that those individuals at the most risk are those who have recently traveled to or around the Wuhan province in China.
Schaffner assured at that time: "For most people in the US unless you have traveled to China recently or have been exposed to someone who has a coronavirus infection, your risk is very low."
Now, if you think you have been exposed, what should you do?
In a nutshell: Call your doctor first and right away.
When you contact your doctor, make sure to let them know any and all pertinent information, such as if you have traveled out of the country recently. Do not just head out to the hospital emergency room, as you need to let them prepare for your arrival to ensure that no others are infected.
Next, you need to determine if you may have the flu and not the coronavirus. Both illnesses mirror one another in symptoms—fever, shortness of breath, and of course, cough. Make sure you do not confuse the two diseases, especially if you haven't traveled to China recently or have been around someone who themselves have been there.
Schaffner emphasized: “The symptoms of coronavirus infection are similar to that of influenza (flu), which is very common in the US.”
If you have been diagnosed as presenting with the novel virus, or are currently in the evaluation stages, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have some tips to follow:
- Only leave your home for medical care
- Isolate yourself from others in the household
- Alert your doctor to your visit beforehand
- Make use of a facemask
- Cover your face when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap often
- Make sure not to share household items
- Keep a close eye on your symptoms
Do you think that the coronavirus will eventually be declared a pandemic?