PSA: Flu and Coronavirus

Consider sending the following to your law firm team:

We are currently in the middle of the influenza (flu) season. In addition to dealing with the flu virus, we also have coronavirus to be aware of and try to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The flu and coronavirus are both respiratory viruses. It’s not too late to get a flu shot, you can go to any local pharmacy or get one at your doctor’s office.  There is not currently a vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) infection.   The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and wash hands before eating.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.  If no tissue available, sneeze/cough into elbow sleeve.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Get your influenza shot to protect you from the FLU A and B which are circulating now.

Ralph Baric, an epidemiology professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC at Chapel Hill was interviewed by WRAL news 1/28/2020 about the coronaviruses in Wuhan, China.  Here are highlights from the interview:

    • The coronavirus symptoms are very similar to the flu – dry cough, fever, aches and trouble breathing.
    • The new coronavirus is similar to SARS, a virus that killed hundreds in China in 2003. But it’s not close enough to allow SARS drugs to work on it. Some people are sick with what appears to mild cold, 30% are sick enough with pneumonia symptoms to need to be in ICU on ventilators to help them breathe
    • The coronavirus doesn’t make every victim as severely ill as SARS did, so people can walk around with it without even knowing it can take 2- 14 days from exposure to start to get sick.
    • Baric and his colleagues are studying two antiviral drugs they think could help infected patients fight off the disease.
    • The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. So far the coronavirus is fatal for about one in 25 people versus one in 1,000 for the flu.
    • For everyone: It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated against the flu, taking everyday preventive actions (handwashing) to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
    • CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China.  All the local universities have stopped travel to China.
    • If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick or you are exposed to a person who had been in China in the last 21 days and they are now sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.

H/T to the NCBA Director of Operations for sharing this with the team. It is important to get the facts and to help prevent the spread of colds and flu.