Tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones from the Coronavirus outbreak

In these uncertain times, dentists, their staff, and their families are invited to contact the Members’ Assisstance Program (MAP*) for no-cost support.


What is Coronavirus?
A new flu-like coronavirus has been reported in several cities around the world in recent weeks. The 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.


What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), symptoms of this Coronavirus usually include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A high temperature
  • A cough and/or sore throat

These symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases, including flu and the common cold. Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus. The incubation period during which a person has the disease but is not exhibiting symptoms can be between one day and two weeks. It’s possible that the virus can be passed on to others during the incubation period before the person carrying starts to exhibit symptoms.

How to avoid getting Coronavirus
Hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence. The WHO recommends:

  • washing hands with soap and water
  • carry disposable tissues with you, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue carefully
  • avoiding any unnecessary physical contact with wild animals.

If you’ve been in contact with wild animals, the WHO recommends you wash your hands immediately. It’s also essential to ensure that your meat is cooked thoroughly before consuming it.


Other tips include:

  • Carry a hand sanitizer with you to make frequent cleaning of hands easy
  • Always wash your hands before you eat
  • Be especially careful in busy airports and other public transport systems about touching things and then touching your face
  • Do not share snacks from packets or bowls that others are dipping their fingers into
  • Regularly clean, not just your hands, but commonly used surfaces and devices you touch or handle


How to protect your family, especially children
You can significantly lower the risk that children pose of spreading or catching viruses by:

  • Explaining to them how germs spread and the importance of good hand and face hygiene
  • Keeping household surfaces clean, especially kitchens, bathrooms and door handles
  • Using clean cloths to wipe surfaces, so you don’t transfer germs from one surface to another
  • Giving everyone their own towel and making sure they know not to share toothbrushes, etc
  • Keep your home dry and airy (bugs thrive in musty environments)


What to do if you are stressed because of the news
If you’re feeling nervous about the coronavirus, you’re not alone. Being concerned and empathetic about this outbreak is normal. However, you may experience feelings of discomfort, impacting concentration, productivity and even disrupting sleep patterns.


What you can do to feel better

  • Stick to the facts as communicated by public-health agencies or medical professionals. Instead of reading every article and going to every website, staying away from the web is probably a good idea. If you’re concerned, sites that include accurate information include the World Health Organization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Try and keep it in perspective. Social media can amplify misinformation. Keep in mind that there’s a concerted global effort to try and contain this virus, and the World Health Organization is maintaining a webpage with answers to common questions.
  • And, of course, stay healthy. Washing your hands often, and properly is the single most effective way to stop the spread of disease.


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*The information in this article is provided by Shepell, the provider of CDSPI’s Members’ Assistance Program (MAP). MAP services and resources are offered through Shepell, Canada’s largest provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs.

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