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How to prepare for global epidemic?

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It’s official, the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Basically, this means that the virus is already a global epidemic and that it is a worldwide health issue. The current world figure is that 126,513 people—and counting—have been affected by COVID-19. The death toll is 4,637—and counting. The virus is also present in 124 countries. 

An epidemic is a swift spread of the disease in a certain community. COVID-19 certainly started as an epidemic in Wuhan City, which immediately became an epidemic in the entire country of China. Pandemic is the global spread of the disease, which is exactly what is happening with COVID-19. 

COVID-19 was first discovered in late December 2019 in China. In less than a month, the virus quickly spread in other Asian regions like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. Two months later and the top 10 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are a mix from different continents. The virus has reached all continents save for the virtually uninhabited Antartica. 

The countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, USA, Switzerland and Japan. 

When something is considered pandemic, it means that people who used to be blasé about the topic because it doesn’t affect them should now start taking stock of the health issue. It is time to be educated about COVID-19 and how to deal with it. 

So how do you prepare for a pandemic?

Stay informed

When people are panicked, they tend to believe everything that comes their way. You have to be well informed so that you are only guided by facts. COVID-19, for example, is a fatal disease. But not all who have contracted the virus dies. In fact, the fatality rate is between 2.3% to 3..4%. This rate is said to be higher than it actually is because there are still people who may have contracted the virus but were not tested, therefore, not included in the official list. 

Having that knowledge will help you not panic. There is no need to panic, but there is a need to prepare. One such preparation is on prevention.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure

This is very true when it comes to COVID-19 because the virus doesn’t even have a cure. COVID-19 causes respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. So those who have been infected will be treated according to the symptoms they are experiencing. There is also no vaccine for coronavirus. 

Since there is no cure for COVID-19--at least not yet—then prevention is everything. It is quite simple actually. You just need to wash your hands regularly. You also have to do it the right way. Proper hand-washing means doing so for at least 20 seconds. You have to wash your hands under running water. Then rub anti-bacterial hand soap for at least 20 seconds while thoroughly getting the dirt under the fingernails. Then, wash your hands again under running water. 

Since you are not always guaranteed to have access to running water and anti-bacterial soap, you should always have rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based sanitizer inside your bag so you can regularly clean your hands. The alcohol content should be at least 60%. Again, you have to be educated about everything COVID-19. You can’t just buy ordinary sanitizers or they wouldn’t do anything for you.

Proper hand-washing and regularly cleaning your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer kill viruses. 

Do masks work?

There is no consensus on the wear of masks. Asians use it, but Westerners are not really keen on it. The best defense against coronavirus is proper hygiene. So if you think wearing masks will give you peace of mind, then you have to use it in tandem with frequent hand-washing and hand-sanitizing.

Masks are needed for healthcare workers, and that is for sure! COVID-19 can be passed on from one person to another through respiratory droplets within six feet. Healthy people don’t need to wear masks in public. However, those who are coughing and sneezing should definitely wear them to stop the spread of the virus—whether it’s coronavirus or another sort. 

Whether you are following the Asian train of thought regarding face masks against coronavirus or not, it is still best to have a few of them with you now that COVID-19 has been raised as a pandemic. You don’t know when you will actually need it. Just don’t hoard them because healthcare professionals need them more. 

Food, water and other essentials

You want to limit your exposure to people during pandemics. Food and water are basic essentials. Go to the groceries and buy two weeks’ worth of food and water. Some panicked people have bought months’ worth of food and water. You have to consider the other health ramifications. If you buy four months' worth of food, for example, many of them will not be fresh anymore in a couple of months. When it comes to stocking up, you really have to be more circumspect. 

Recently, there was a toilet paper frenzy. While it’s good that people are thinking of stocking up on toilet paper, which is a home essential, just remember that if you hoard them, you are depriving others of having this vital home item. Just buy enough that could last you a couple of weeks or maybe a month. 

The same goes to your hygiene products. Since soap and shampoo won’t actually go stale for many months, then you can probably buy more than two weeks’ worth of hygiene products. You should also have enough supply of cleaning products to ensure that your home is always clean. 

Medicines & first aid kit

Again, you have to limit your exposure to the masses. So if you can cut your frequent run to the pharmacy, it would be great. Make sure that your first aid kit has all the essentials like antiseptic, bandages and thermometer, among other things.

You also need to have basic medicines like paracetamol, ibuprofen and medicine for cough and colds. Stock up on vitamin C too. 


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