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Social butterflies stay cautious as coronavirus outbreak continues

If you enjoy hugging and shaking hands, those practices may need to cease for a while.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected more than 800 people in the U.S and has killed at least 29, according to the Associated Press.

With Spring break just around the corner for VSU students – and others across the country – there are some things to keep in mind when you are meeting up with friends and family.

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent the illness is to, simply, avoid being exposed to it.

COVID-19 is thought to spread from person-to-person. The CDC advises people not to get within six-feet of another person, whether they have the disease or not.

If someone is tested positive for the illness, through respiratory droplets produced from the infected person, the virus can be spread with a cough or sneeze. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of others who are close by. Someone could also become infected by inhaling the droplets into the lungs.

Whether you are riding MARTA or in a car with a group of friends, remember to be cautious about everything around you.

Wash your hands

For at least 20 seconds per session, wash your hands methodically. If you sneeze, cough, blow your nose or even touch someone else, make sure to wash your hands as soon as possible. Try investing in hand sanitizer if you haven’t already. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer that “contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Pay attention when washing your hands. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Use a paper towel to dry your hands.

Pro tip: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.

Sick? Stay home.

If you feel the symptoms of a cold or flu, the best thing to do is to stay in bed. Nobody knows if they have the COVID-19 illness until they are tested positive for it. Take precautions when you feel a sudden urge to cough or have had a series of sneezes.

Not only should you stay home, but you should try separating yourself from others in the household. If possible, use a separate bathroom. Use paper plates and utensils when eating, so they can be disposed afterwards.

Keep pets and animals away

If you are infected with COVID-19, restrict contact with your pets and other animals. Although not common, coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the Oregon Veterinarian Medical Association.

In late February, Hong Kong authorities quarantined a dog after samples from the dog’s nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the virus. The dog’s owner had tested positive for COVID-19. Currently, the dog has tested positive multiple times, but is not showing signs of illness.

Same as humans, make sure to keep your pets away from others. Make sure to limit touching and also watch for your animals licking you and others.

 Written by Prince Robinson Jr., Managing Editor. Photo courtesy of The Spectator.

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