By News-Register staff • 

COVID-19: What you need to know; Staying healthy

Here’s what you should know about COVID-19:

* The virus spreads mostly through droplets from coughs and sneezes, and typically between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

* The best way to prevent infection is hand washing, cleaning surfaces with regular household sprays and wipes, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

* Staying home when you are sick is recommended every flu season, but may be especially important now.

* The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear facemasks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

* Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

* Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung diseases, are more at risk.

* On average, the World Health Organization says people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those who are sicker can take anywhere from three to six weeks.

* There’s no vaccine, although researchers are working on one.

* The death rate from COVID-19 may be considerably less than 1% if there are many more cases with no or very mild symptoms, U.S. health officials wrote in an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine. That would make the new virus more like a severe seasonal flu than a disease similar to its genetic cousins SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise testing people who have traveled to certain outbreak areas and have fever and certain other symptoms. But it now says testing is also appropriate if flu and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled out and no source of exposure has been identified.

* Antarctica is the only continent with no reported cases of the virus. Troubling outbreaks in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran have seeded cases elsewhere as travelers bring the virus home with them.

Source: The Associated Press and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Staying Healthy

Everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu and other types of illness:

* Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then dispose in the trash.

* Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

* Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

* Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often.

* Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and regular exercise, and by taking care of underlying health conditions.

Source: Yamhill County Health and Human Services Department



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