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FACTS, NOT FEAR: What you need to know about the coronavirus in GA, SC

(WSAZ)
Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 9:21 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – As the situation surrounding the coronavirus continues to develop, News 12 NBC 26 wants to be the place where you can receive up-to-the-moment information on the virus.

That’s why we’ll be seeking to update this story daily with the latest information on the virus, the spread in Georgia and South Carolina, and the nationwide response to it.

But we’re also hoping to provide you calm at this time. While news about the virus and its effects can be scary, we believe knowledge is power and can ultimately be a guiding light.

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What is coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus is a large family of viruses which may cause a respiratory infection ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS or MERS. Coronavirus is the common term you’re hearing today. However, if you wish to get technical, the virus is officially known as COVID-19.

Tell me more about COVID-19.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that began to make headlines after an outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

What are the symptoms?

If you’re worried about symptoms, be on the lookout for fever, tiredness, and dry cough. These symptoms are sometimes mild and begin gradually.

Who is most affected by the virus?

The coronavirus outbreak is having a greater impact on older adults – those over 60 – and people with severe chronic medical conditions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

People with heart, lung or kidney disease or diabetes also may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases at the CDC Jay Butler.

The CDC says, if you’re one of the people at increased risk for serious illness because of the coronavirus, it’s especially important for you to take action to protect yourself.

The first thing you can do is take care of your own health

-- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

-- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

-- Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

-- Avoid contact with people who are sick.

-- Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home such as counters, tabletops and doorknobs to remove germs.

-- Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

The next thing you can do is make a plan for what to do if you do get sick

-- Know who will take care of you if your caregiver gets sick.

-- Talk to your healthcare provider about getting extra necessary medications to have on hand.

-- Get enough supplies, too, including enough household items and groceries so you can stay home for a few weeks if you have to.

The third thing you can do is pay attention to what’s happening locally

-- If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay home as much as possible and avoid crowds.

-- If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider.

-- If you develop warning signs, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion or blueness of the lips or face, these may be signs of serious illness. Call 911.

Things you can do to support older adults in your life

-- Know what medications they are taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.

-- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.

-- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.

-- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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