By Amber Auger RDH, MPH
As of January 26, 2020, there have been 56 confirmed deaths due to the Coronaviruses throughout China.1 There have been three confirmed cases in the United States.1 When evaluating the virus; some patients experience the same symptoms as a common cold. In contrast, others experience a more severe strain of the virus known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). A third strain has also developed but remains unnamed. The more advanced strains of the virus are potentially lethal human respiratory infections. 2
After many cases of pneumonia were on the rise without being able to identify their etiology, Doctors began to test the virus further. The new strain of the Coronavirus was first detected in China. Within days there were cases identified in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea. The CDC believes that symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath occur between 2 to 14 days after the exposure of the virus. 2
The World Health Organization says the best way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus is to wash your hands with soap and water frequently, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and personal protection equipment.2 My personal favorite hand sanitizer is the Monarch Hydrating Instant Hand Sanitizer from Air Techniques with 66.5% ethyl alcohol. The formula meets the CDC guidelines and hydrates while decreasing the bacteria on the skin.
As healthcare professionals, it is essential to discuss this outbreak briefly with patients. We can empower the patient with common tools to break the chain of infection, such as washing hands often, covering the mouth properly with the arm when sneezing, and identifying proper hand sanitizers to use. We have the opportunity to work together to keep one another safe during this outbreak!