TAMPA, Fla. — New information continues to emerge about the Novel Coronavirus, including how to protect yourself.

  • Health officials concerned of Coronavirus outbreak in China
  • Travel Alert issued in China; cities, theme parks, airports shut down
  • Hundreds of people have contracted the virus so far; over 20 have died
  • 2 cases confirmed in the US so far
  • More health stories

According to the World Health Organization, they were first alerted to the virus on December 31 about several cases of pneumonia. When they tested the virus they realized it was new and they weren’t sure how it would affect people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, person-to-person spread is occurring, though it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people at this time.

After nearly a month of ongoing research of the virus and more spreading of Novel Coronavirus, WHO officials offered some standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses.

(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

Here's what you can do to keep yourself healthy: 

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk, or animal organs should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

(Photo courtesy of the Associate Press)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel alert for the coronavirus outbreak. The travel notice for Wuhan City was raised to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel.

According to the CDC, Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan. There are also additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally including new cases in the United States.

The CDC is conducting entry screening of passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan, China to five major airports: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. That screening involves passengers having their temperature taken and being asked to fill out a symptom questionnaire. Travelers with signs and symptoms of illness fever, cough, or difficulty breathing will have an additional health assessment.

Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport.

If travel to Wuhan is essential, the CDC recommends people to avoid contact with sick people, avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat). They also urge people to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

(Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press)

According to the CDC, if you have traveled to Wuhan in the last 14 days and feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.