Now that the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus disease case in Lagos State, Nigeria. It is important for everyone to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and their families.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS- CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they are transmitted between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
BASIC PROTECTIVE MEASURES AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
- Wash your hands regularly
Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth
The hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, the hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus, by following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and coronavirus.
- If you ever have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Seek medical attention and call the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) toll free number which is available day and night. Do not engage in self-medication. NCDC have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow them to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
- Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and radio. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local health authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.