Turning on the TV news, you’d think the world is ending. The headlines all begin with news of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.  Instead of spreading fear, facts can calm the chaos and give practical advice on how to protect yourself and your family.

Coronavirus is not new. It is a virus that causes cold-like symptoms however, the 2019 strain is a new (novel) strain of the coronavirus. (No, it has nothing to do with corona beer.)  This strain started in China (Wuhan City). The virus has been named SAR-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is called COVID-19.  This virus is NOT associated with any race. It is believed to be spreading person-to-person by close contact.

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and are similar to flu symptoms. Because this is a new strain, the complete clinical picture is not yet fully understood. We believe that symptoms may occur within 14 days after exposure.  Most who get COVID-19 have a mild illness. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, muscle aches and fatigue.  Less common symptoms are headache and diarrhea.  It can progress in some patients to shortness of breath and pneumonia. Older people and those with serious underlying health conditions are at higher risk for more serious illness. Thankfully, children, teens and healthy adults are more likely to have mild illness.

Protect yourself and your family:

  1. Wash your hands. Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of illness.  Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and running water after you use the bathroom and before you eat. 
  2. If you are unable to wash your hands, use a hand-sanitizer.
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze. Teach your children to cough or sneeze into their elbow, rather than their hands.
  4. Avoid touching your face. This keeps germs away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. Stay home if you are sick. People with fever and mild illness need to rest and recover. If you are having shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, seek emergency medical care.
  6. Keep your environment clean: disinfect commonly touched places (doorknobs, counters, phones, keyboards, remotes).
  7. Avoid exposure to sick people. If you know someone is ill, reschedule.
  8. Avoid shaking hands. This is a great time to wave.
  9. Avoid travel to highly infected areas. Consider postponing cruises and exposure to large crowds in infected areas.
  10. Practice good health habits: exercise, nutritious diet, proper rest and adequate fluid intake.

Spread awareness to decrease fear. Learn more at cdc.gov/coronavirus



Dr. Melanie J Wilhelm DNP CPNP is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Norfolk, VA as well as an Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University.  Her book, Raising Today’s Baby: Second Edition, is available on Amazon.com.  Read more at RaisingTodaysChild.com. Email Dr. Wilhelm at raisingtodayschild@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RaisingTodaysChild  and twitter at www.twitter.com/Rzn2dayschild