There is a lot of worry about the Coronavirus, rightfully so. It's not a virus to take lightly, though I do want to shed light on common questions and worries to hopefully palliate some fear.
Keep in mind that of the deaths in the U.S, most of them are confined to 1 location - a nursing home in Seattle. Of the remaining confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S, several people have already cleared the virus and have been deemed healthy enough to return to work.
Should I Wear a Mask?
Short answer: no. The paper & cloth masks do not offer protection from catching coronavirus. However, if you are sick, these masks can decrease the spread of sickness.
There are other masks available online, called N95s, which are created for medical professionals treating people with coronavirus. **The Surgeon General has deemed these not appropriate for the public.
For one, they require special training to wear them properly. For two, the supply and demand has become so high that there are not enough masks for hospital workers, so please don't buy one.
What To Do If You Get Sick
The symptoms of coronavirus may appear 2-14 days after exposure, which can be a concerning since someone may be infected but not know it. Reported symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, shortness of breath. For most healthy people, fever, cough, and fatigue are as far as it goes.
If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home, stay away from others, and especially stay away from pregnant women, elderly people, and those who have weakened immune systems. Cover coughs & sneezes, wash hands often and avoid sharing household items (cups, utensils, towels, bedding, etc)
And don't forget about this set of pearls I made for you. How to Keep Colds & Flus Short & Sweet
Prevention & Treatment
The best thing you can do to prevent coronavirus is to take care of your overall health. Make sure your immune system is not stressed by other illnesses. Eat healthfully, stay hydrated, get good sleep, continue exercising, and keep stress levels low.
These pieces are huge, and they the difference between getting a 7-day flu and getting a lethal flu. Most people that die from the flu have underlying chronic illnesses, which makes them more susceptible.
You can certainly ramp up the immune system with herbal medicine if you want an extra oompf. Echinacea, Elderberry, Licorice root, and North American ginseng are helpful for flu prevention and treatment.
A Note About Stigma
The risk of getting coronavirus in the U.S. is very low. However, fear & anxiety can lead to stigmatizing people from China & other Asian Americans. Please know that viruses cannot target people based on their race or ethnicity. People of Asian decent who have not recently traveled to China or been in contact with coronavirus are not at greater risk of aquiring or spreading COVID-19 than any other Americans.