The coronavirus has dominated the news recently, and it’s natural to feel a sense of panic when you’re hearing about something this much. Especially at this time of year when coughs and the flu are a common feature of daily life.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to keep yourself, your family and co-workers safe. Common sense and self-care should be the highest priority. As with the ebola virus, good hygiene practices such as thorough hand-washing are by far the best method of prevention. If you feel sick for any reason, keeping yourself away from others until you feel better is the best course of action – much the same as you would with colds or flu. It makes sense to avoid all travel to the affected areas, and to avoid contact with anyone who you know may have travelled there recently.
In China, the ten SOS Children's Villages have adopted the most stringent prevention and control measures, and reported back daily that there have been no cases of infection - or even suspected infection - so far in any of the staff of children in their care. It’s really important to protect children as much as possible - as well as older people or anyone with pre-existing medical conditions - because, as with the flu virus, these groups can be more vulnerable to serious complications.
But above all, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and if you feel unwell, stay at home and look after yourself. This is the best advice for any outbreak, from a vomiting bug to simply a bad cold. Not enough is known yet about how the coronavirus is spread, but other viruses are spread easily from person to person, so keeping yourself away from others until you feel better is a very sensible idea.
Read about our work in China