Over the past couple of weeks, an increasing number of countries across the world have struggled to contain the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
In the United States alone, there have already been 1,010 coronavirus cases as of writing, 31 days and 15 patients recovered, with Washington state, New York and California suffering from the largest outbreaks.
How does the virus spread?
According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus spreads like the flu.
Whenever someone with the virus coughs or exhales, they release droplets of fluids that can land on surfaces such as desks, telephones, ATMs and those who come in contact with it will be infected.
However, the flu and the COVID-19 are different from one another.
The coronavirus does not transmit or pass, as efficiently as the flu, while with the flu, those who are infected but are not yet sick are major drivers of transmission.
This new virus that came from China can cause more severe illness than the flu. But people have build immunity to seasonal flu strains but not with the coronavirus.
Part of preparing for the spread of the coronavirus includes knowing more about the virus. Questions have already started to pop up because so many would just want to start taking preventive measures against it.
In terms of self-protection and containing the virus, here are three items you need to have in your purse anywhere at any time.
While the CDC does not suggest people wear them to prevent catching respiratory illnesses including the COVID-19, you don't need to wear it but at least, should always have one in your purse.
If you feel you are infected, coming down with the flu and pose a risk to others, a face mask should be used to prevent the virus' spread.
Your hands are one of the main methods that viruses make their way from surfaces to your respiratory system.
Keeping them clean is the most effective thing you can do to stop yourself from contracting the COVID-19.
Make sure to purchase alcohol or hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol content because they are the most effective in killing microbes.
These products could come in handy to clear away germs or act as a barrier between you or a surface.
For example, instead of pressing the elevator buttons with your bare hands, you could take some tissue, and then cover your finger with the tissue.
That way, you will not touch anything that may be touched by a person who just coughed or sneezed on it.
However, if you really want to protect yourself from the COVID-19 or any other virus, start by washing your hands the right way.
According to a 2008 meta-analysis in the American Journal of Public Health, improved hand hygiene is associated with a 31% reduction in the rate of gastrointestinal illness and a 21% reduction in the rate of respiratory illness.
Separate studies also show that intensive handwashing promotion can reduce diarrheal and respiratory disease incidences and hand hygiene instruction in schools can help reduce illness-related absences during flu season.