Coronavirus is a common respiratory virus, with symptoms similar to a common cold, that affects most people at some point during their lives. In 2019, a new strain of coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, or 2019 Novel Coronavirus, began in the city of Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization has declared this strain an international public health emergency.
The Centers for Disease Control are monitoring the situation abroad and in the United States very closely. However, currently, the risk of getting 2019-nCoV here in the U.S. is low.
Preventing Respiratory Viruses
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus or 2019-nCoV infections. But your family can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses by taking the following actions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The steps you and your family take to prevent respiratory viruses also prevent flu and common colds.
Remember that getting a flu shot every year also helps to prevent or decrease the severity of the flu virus.
The CDC is currently recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.
If you or a member of your family has traveled to China recently and are showing signs of respiratory illness, contact your health provider immediately.
Learn more about 2019-nCoV, including advisories for healthcare providers and public health professionals, via the CDC.