IMPORTANT UPDATE: SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THIS ARTICLE THE CORONAVIRUS HAS SPREAD TO MUCH GREATER LEVELS. PLEASE CONSULT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IF YOU FEEL YOU MAY HAVE SYMPTOMS AND FOLLOW THE QUARANTINES/ADVICE OF THE CDC AND OTHER DISEASE/MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS.
The novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China is spreading at a much more rapid pace than you may think. The virus has already spread to 13 countries as of Tuesday, January 28 and counting. As there is yet to be a vaccine to treat this specific type of virus, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure.
Although there is always a risk when it comes to traveling, we have a lot of insurance as travelers. Accessibility to information is one of our best assets we can use to our advantage when it comes to safe travel. This includes being smart enough to cancel trips when it’s no longer deemed safe.
That’s right, if you haven’t already, you should be canceling that trip to China.
Pro Tip: A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.
Where it all started
Although a lot remains in the dark about this easily transmittable virus it is thought to have originated from an animal market in the province of Hubei China. Original exposure coming from both dead and live animals, but now the virus is spreading human to human as well.
Symptoms are very similar to the common flu or cold which makes diagnoses often difficult. Infected personnel may experience fever, a cough or shortness of breathing.
Is it safe to visit China?
The USA has already placed a level 3 travel advisory on all of China which means you should avoid traveling if at all possible while the province of Hubei has received a level 4 travel advisory meaning under no circumstances should you even consider traveling. All 5 cases that have been identified in the USA to this date had recently traveled from Wuhan, Hubei China.
China is in a state of crisis as is which means lots of public transportation and tourist activity is stopped and closed down anyways. Your vacation? Cancel it. Go at a different time to avoid spreading or catching a potentially life-threatening virus.
What if I can’t cancel my trip?! How can I protect myself?
If for some reason, you cannot cancel your trip at all, the CDC recommends to make sure to get your flu shot and other travel recommended vaccines. This will help to eliminate other types of sickness in case you happen to catch a fever or feel unwell after your trip.
Although we still don’t know everything, the disease is airborne so ways to protect yourself might sound simple but are effective. Just like you were trying to avoid the common cold, hygiene is of the uttermost importance.
Avoid contact with other sick people or animals
Avoid food markets as you can catch the virus from live or dead animals
Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer to use after contact with potentially unclean surfaces/items
Wear medical masks and purchase before your trip due to shortages in the country.
Avoid touching your face
What if I think I’ve been exposed?
This is not the time to just wait it out. If you have traveled to any affected areas and experience any of the symptoms after your trip call a doctor immediately. Inform them of your travel history and symptoms
Avoid contact with others and stay home.
Listen to the instructions from your doctor and the CDC.
There’s not a lot to be worried about quite yet. As usual practice healthy routines to control the spread of the virus at home and on your travels and pay attention to the travel advisories that are in place for your benefit anyway.
Stay away from China if you don’t have to travel there. Stay alert and stay safe.
All information has been sourced from the CDC.
Head over to their website for more information about the coronavirus and similar diseases.