Breaking News

One Sneeze Away !

One Sneeze Away !
February 02
10:56 2020

One Sneeze Away !

By: Dr. Abigail Joseph – –

So, how ready are we?? We sneeze openly into the air, we wipe our noses with our bare hands, we spit on the ground when we feel like it and we cough and wipe it on our clothes and proceed to touch doorknobs and everything else. How prepared are you, Belize?? I wrote in a previous article about being accused of being scornful for asking a patient to use a face mask. If we continue to discard protocols that are put in place by the Ministry of Health for your protection, we ultimately do more harm than good.

The common cold is something that we view as a norm. We all get it and whenever someone has the “flu,” we say “hmm da me next,” as if getting the cold is something inevitable. But protecting yourself from the common cold is preventable. It is possible for someone to have the cold and you to not contract it. How? Proper hygiene such as practicing cough etiquette, proper hand washing, wearing face masks, carrying hand sanitizers, etc.

Maybe because we have a lot going on in our own country, we are unable to foresee the damage that the corona virus will do to the world. It is indeed sad that we have poverty, violence, crimes and unauthorized planes landing in our region that we couldn’t be bothered with the worries of the outside world. We carry on with our day and expect that the outside problems are for authorities to deal with. I say this because at present, the commentaries about this epidemic from the general public is that of mockery. Why they named it the corona virus and expected it to receive respect is beyond me. All I hear and read are what substitute beers to drink since there is a corona virus going about. Perhaps it is only my country that is incapable of grasping the gravity of the situation? This saddens me.

The corona virus in fact has nothing to do with the beer. The corona virus according to the WHO (World Health Organization) is a family of viruses that is capable of causing respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) to the deadly SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome). Now before I continue, a little fun fact for you to know is that there are 7 known corona viruses.

This particular strain that we are concerned about today is referred to as the 2019-nCov. These viruses are referred to as corona, as an identity marker and not to be confused with beer. The word corona translates to crown or halo. This is because when viewed under an electron microscope the virus can be observed with a crown or halo, hence its name coronavirus. The Novel Corona is a strain that has been newly identified in humans. Because it is new makes it difficult to predict outcomes since very little is known about the virus.

So what do we know? We know that the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. The CDC (center for disease control and prevention) states that the virus is likely to be as a “spillover” at the seafood market, where both dead and live animals are sold. It is believed that it is there that the first contact with humans occurred. Keep in mind small animals are considered a delicacy in China. Since then the Wuhan Market has been shut down to prevent further contamination. However it has been noted that the virus is still spreading, indicative of human to human transmission. So what are the symptoms? It is important to know that there are preventative methods that need to be in place even before signs and symptoms show. China’s National Health commission states that a patient is contagious even before signs and symptoms show. This is a concern with regards to just wanting to distance ourselves from persons that are possibly infected. So what now? How can we prevent something we cannot see? Well, practicing what is right in the absence of what we do not see.

While we may not know much about this specific virus, we do know that Corona viruses typically spread from person to person through contact with infected droplets. This means that a person is likely to contract the disease if he or she inhales droplets in the air from sneezing and coughing persons or through contact by touching infected surfaces. This being said, the next concern is whether or not you should wear a mask. If the concept is correct then the type of mask you wear is important. Wearing a mask that has an air valve is ideal, however in this part of the region it is easier to acquire a plain paper surgical mask, which still would be effective. Persons who are coughing and sneezing or show flu like symptoms should wear masks and practice proper cough etiquette, but in all honestly if you really want to protect yourselves then persons that are not sick should also wear masks. Why? Because not all sick persons care about infecting others.

Because droplets eventually settle and because not everyone washes their hands regularly, you should be sure to sanitize your hands or if you are able wash hands with soap regularly. You should do so especially before touching your face and especially before touching a baby. Aerate your homes, offices, vehicles, basically any enclosed space and make sure you make an effort to wipe down surfaces that are frequently touched such as public phones, counters, elevator buttons, doorknobs, railings, escalator rails, and be sure to sanitize hands after money transactions. Money travels from place to place and probably touches more surfaces than you will ever in your lifetime and as such carries many germs. Be mindful of this.

Basic signs and symptoms of this particular virus are: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. At first we were onlookers of a rapidly spreading tragedy, but now cases have already been identified as close as the USA and Mexico, two countries to which we travel often. Governments and health officials are doing their part in trying to prevent the spread of this virus through screening at our borders and planning a strategy should the virus reach Belize. However, it would be futile if not with the help of the Belizean public. We need you to do your part in making daily efforts to practice proper hygiene. Together we decide if we will participate in the spreading of a disease or aid in its prevention.

* * * *

click here
westrac AD
Weather Audio Player
click here
digitalBelize dot LIVE


search bar