While the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus an international health emergency, you don’t need to panic too much just yet. Fears and misconceptions surrounding the virus have been spread all over the internet. This is leaving people with more questions than answers, so the WHO started a campaign to educate the public.

The coronavirus is typically believed to be new, but it’s actually been found in animals for years. This is the first time this specific strain, 2019-nCoV, has been transferred to humans. Previous outbreaks of MERS and SARS also were different strains of coronaviruses, that also originally started in animals.

Taking the same precautions you would to avoid catching the cold or flu will also help you avoid catching coronavirus. This includes washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, staying home while sick, cleaning handrails and other areas your hand regularly touches, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact.

If you are pretty healthy, with no underlying diseases or conditions, you don’t need to worry about the coronavirus. Older people and anyone with pre-existing medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus, according to the WHO. In the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, 8,422 people were infected and there were 916 deaths worldwide. The overall death rate for infected people was 11%. However, for infected people 24 and younger, the death rate was just 1%, while for those aged 65+ it was 55%.

Since the virus started in China, many have asked if it is safe to receive a package from that area. From previous analysis, it has been found that the coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, including letters and packages.

There are many organic solutions floating around online as well that claim to protect one against the virus. This is simply not true. Putting sesame oil block on the body, using saline to clean your nose, gargling mouthwash and consuming more garlic does not have any scientific evidence to show they will stop the virus.

While the virus is one you should be aware of, you do not need to stress over it by yourself. Stay informed by following the World Health Organization and you’ll feel more at peace with the actions you need to take to keep your family safe.

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