VIRUS PROTECTION- This is the time of year when many virus-related illnesses are spread. And while international concerns about the coronavirus are growing, doctors in the U.S. are stressing that there are more immediate health threats such as influenza and the Norovirus, both can be spread in close settings.
The norovirus gets attention as we often hear news about passengers getting stricken on cruise ships. But recently there was an outbreak, in a Louisiana casino that infected nearly 200 people. The Norovirus is spread when people come in contact with contaminated food, water, or surfaces, the illness results in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. But as far as respiratory illnesses like Coronavirus or the flu, doctors say people who are infected spread the illnesses by coughing or sneezing.
Dr. Joseph Bocchinni, is a pediatric infectious disease specialist, and director of children's health services for Willis Knighton Health System. He says before you rush out and buy a face mask –much of the spread of any illness could be prevented if people would do something simple and often—that is wash their hands.
Proper hand-washing involves the use of a disinfectant soap, warm water and alcohol-based sanitizers can be used as a supplement, but they should not be used as the primary method for cleaning hands. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there have been an estimated 19 Million cases of flu in the U.S. so far…with 180,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths. Some people are more at risk to viruses. The elderly, children younger than 5 years old, women who are pregnant and those with weakened immune systems can have greater complications should they get infected.
Doctors say it’s a good idea to avoid large crowds during cold or flu season, and if someone in your family gets sick—health experts say cleaning surfaces, such as tables, counter-tops, anything the sick person came in contact with -- especially in bathrooms, will help keep the virus to spreading.
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