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Cutting Through Coronavirus Clutter: What You Need to Know

"Here’s our best, professional advice: be aware, but not scared."

Today we’re going to spend some time talking about the health concern that is on most everyone’s mind lately, not just in Asia but around the world — The Coronavirus.  

The virus was first reported in China around the end of December, and it has grown and spread over the last month. Unfortunately, the spreading news includes a lot of misinformation. We want you to have the most accurate and most current research-based information to keep you safe, healthy, and informed (and not panicked).  

Video Highlights:

  • 10:11: Introduction
  • 13:37: What is the Coronavirus?
  • 15:31: How Many People Have Been Affected?
  • 17:20: How Worried Should You Be?
  • 19:01: How to Prevent the Spread of Viruses
  • 27:29: What Not to Do
  • 29:37: What to Do if You Think You Have the Coronavirus
  • 30:19: Other Tips for Navigating the Coronavirus Outbreak
  • 32:32: Wrap-Up

Today we’re going to spend some time talking about the health concern that is on most everyone’s mind lately, not just in Asia but around the world — The Coronavirus.  

The virus was first reported in China around the end of December, and it has grown and spread over the last month. Unfortunately, the spreading news includes a lot of misinformation. We want you to have the most accurate and most currentresearch-based information to keep you safe, healthy, and informed (and not panicked).  

There are multiple reasons that it’s important to talk about the Coronavirus, not the least of which is that panic about it is fueling more xenophobia in this country and in Europe, causing people to act differently towards one another out of fear. Dr. Nancy got to experience some of this herself as she traveled internationally during the last month.

The fact that people are concerned about this virus is understandable. At first glance, the virus and the news about it is scary, especially when you are hearing words likequarantine,epidemic, and evenpandemic. But remember, those are just words — in order for them to make sense, we have to put them in context and align them with the latest facts from the most reliable sources — primarily the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). So, let’s review facts, based on what we know right now right now about the Coronavirus: so you can be informed and aware.

What is the Coronavirus?  

The Coronavirus is a lower respiratory tract infection that can cause varied levels of respiratory illnesses with symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It’s true that the WHO has declared this a Global Health Emergency, but not for the reason you might think — this declaration was made in order to mobilize supplies, resources, funding, and manpower to get ahead of the Coronavirus, thus limiting further spread of the virus.

While it’s unclear exactly how the virus came to be, we know it originated in Wuhan, China, and there is strong evidence that points to human transmission that took place at one of the country’s unsanitary wet markets. In fact, according to NPR,patients who came down with disease at the end of December all had connections to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan China. Researchers believe the new virus probably mutated from a coronavirus common in animals, and was transmitted to humans in the Wuhan wet market.

How Many People Have Been Affected?

Speaking of spreading of the virus, let’s get an accurate update of how many people are being affected by Coronavirus: as of today, an estimated 71,446 people have been confirmed to have the Coronavirus and 1,776 people have died from the virus. The majority of these cases are in China. Unfortunately, this virus can be spread without showing symptoms.

Here in the U.S., there have been 15 confirmed cases. Now, that number will jump to 29, as just a few days ago we learned that 14 of the 300 Americans quarantined on that cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

But there is also promising news: over 11,000 people haverecovered from the virus and there have been no deaths in the U.S. from the Coronavirus. The number ofnew cases in China have reached a 3-week low, which is a sign that we are getting ahead of this virus. However, the reporting from China has been an issue over the past month, making many question whether we should entirely trust it.

How Worried Should You Be?

So, if you’re asking yourself: “how worried about this should I be?” Here’s our best, professional advice: be aware, but not scared. This is a serious public health concern, but keep in mind the risk to most people outside China remainsvery low. To put it in perspective, we can simply compare the numbers between Coronavirus and Flu season:

We know that 15 cases, soon to be 29 cases, of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., and there have been no deaths. On the other hand, over 20 million people in the U.S. alone have been affected by the flu. Nearly 200 thousand people have been hospitalized, and over 10,000 deaths have resulted from the flu.  

We totally understand concerns about the coronavirus, and don’t want to downplay it, but let’s try to keep things in perspective.  

How to Prevent the Spread of Viruses

Let’s talk about what you should — and should not — be doing to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Flu, and any other viruses out there. 

Wash Your Hands

The number one most important step in preventing the spread of any virus, including the coronavirus, is to wash your hands, thoroughly, with warm water and soap. The CDC recommends you wash your hands every day, not just during flu season or as a way to prevent the spread of viruses:

Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

That’s the number one way to help prevent the spread of most viruses.  

Hand Sanitizers

We should note that we’re not proponents of using antibacterial and anti-viral hand sanitizers,but during flu season and to possibly prevent spread of a virus like the coronavirus, it is absolutely appropriate to do so — especially if you are in a place where you’re not able to wash your hands, andespecially if you are traveling are out in heavily traveled public areas. 

According to the CDC, if soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However, they don’t get rid of all types of germs — that’s why hand washing is so important.

Here’s how to use hand sanitizer:  

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

Other ways for you to limit your exposure to a virus

  • Avoid touching your mucus membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth). Your hands pick up a lot of germs. Don’t put them near your face!
  • Practice safe sneezing and coughing — either doing so in a tissue, then discarding, or into your elbow, and thenimmediately washing your hands.
  • Get a container of disinfectant wipes and wipe down your door handles, phone, desk, and any other high-traffic area that hands touch on a regular basis. Make a point to wipe these areas once a day for at least the next few weeks.

What Not to Do

  • There have been a lot of pictures circulating lately of otherwise healthy people wearing surgical masks in public. This practice has got to stop. It’s becoming so popular that some hospitals are experiencing a shortage of these masks, where they are seriously needed. For someone who is sick in a hospital to wear one to prevent transmission of an illness makes sense, but showing off the latest designer surgical mask on Instagram is not helpful. There is no recommendation from either the WHO or the CDC to wear a mask, and there isn’t much evidence that the cheap masks you see people wearing on planes and the street are even effective in preventing a virus or the flu.
  • If you are sick please stay home. Really, you aren’t very productive if you are under the weather, plus you are spreading your germs to your office to your co-workers, and your friends. So just stay home and get better — that’s really, really important.

What to Do if You Think You Have the Coronavirus

If you are demonstrating symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breathAND you or someone you have been in contact with have recently traveled to/from China,you will want to contact your healthcare provider and discuss treatment options.

Other Tips for Navigating the Coronavirus Outbreak

  • You don’t need to panic: remember the numbers we talked about earlier — the Coronavirus is a serious health issue, but it really hasn’t affected many people in the U.S. It has affected only 29 people out of a population of over 325 million people. That’s really not that many — so be smart, be aware, be informed, but don’t panic.
  • Don’t believe everything you hear on the news: or at least take the time to confirm what is being reported. We recommend checking in on the CDC or WHO websites to get accurate, complete facts. The news often reports onlyparts of an important issue, which leads to people being scared and panicking — let’s stick to the facts!
  • Treat people with respect: you don’t need to treat people who look Chinese differently because of a virus that originated inWuhan China. Chances are, that person has never set foot there in their lives. Be kind and keep an open mind.  

Wrap-Up

Remember to follow smart health practices, and taking the Dr. Nancy steps to keep yourself healthy — like eating a moreplant-based diet with varied fruits and vegetables,exercising,managing your stress, and supporting your immune system daily with natural supplements like the defense trio Dr. Nancy takes:

  1. Smarter Curcumin. Curcumin is clinically shown to boost immune health and cut down on unhealthy inflammation in the body.
  2. Taking a therapeutic level of Vitamin D3 plus K2 during the winter and early spring months. That means 5,000 IUs per day, like what you get inSmarter Vitamin D3
  3. Finally, don’t forget your daily multivitamin and mineral. This is the time of year when people’s diets are often the poorest, withnutrient deficiencies that leave you exposed to illness. Don’t chance it — you need a true, whole-food multi that your body can absorb. Most of what you get in stores, when it comes to multis, is synthetic or it’s advertised as containing whole-food based nutrients, but actually uses very little real food sources. To get your vitamin and mineral levels optimal, take theSmarter Multi

We hope this helped clear up some of the fog created by scary headlines regarding the Coronavirus. Remember, there’s no need to panic. Simply practice daily, healthy habits, and remember to keep your hands clean. And stay tuned for more health tips and and news from Dr. Nancy in the coming weeks!

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