If you’re getting tired of hearing about the Coronavirus, you’re in good company. For the past several months, writers, news anchors and talk show hosts have been covering the topic ad nauseum. I’ve even heard it mentioned during the Twilight Bark. But, like it or not, the subject probably won’t likely disappear from headlines anytime soon. The most recent data available, on Worldometer, reports 77,272 people have been diagnosed with the illness, officially named Covid-19. The death toll stands at 2,250. What’s more, there are reports of canine strains.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. There are four main sub-groupings:
Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. People often get infected with human coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. And, sometimes, coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus. Three recent examples of this include: 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.
The Flu May Pose a Greater Risk
Despite the hype, most experts agree that Influenza may actually pose more of a risk to the average man or woman than Covid-19. Dogs can catch a canine version of that, too. Consider that, in the U.S. alone so far this season, the flu has caused an estimated 26 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths. On the other hand, the average person runs an extremely low risk of catching the novel coronavirus.
How to Stay Healthy
The only advantage of the flu over Coronavirus is that scientists understand influenza more than they do Covid-19, which is relatively new. In both cases, however, common sense approaches can keep you safe.
Symptoms can include a cough, possibly with a fever and shortness of breath. There are some early reports of non-respiratory symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Doesn’t sound like any fun. Many people recover within a few days. However, some people — especially the very young, elderly, or people who have a weakened immune system — may develop a more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Usually comes on suddenly and includes some (or all) of the following symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
How to Avoid Catching the Coronavirus and/or the Flu
- Wash your hands (or paws)
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (then throw it away), or your inner elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
- Stay home from work or school if you have a fever.
- Avoid people who show signs of a respiratory tract infection, such as runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.
- It’s still not too late to get a flu shot, an easy step toward avoiding the flu. If you do catch the flu despite having received the vaccine, studies show that severe illness, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death are less likely to occur than for people who contract the flu without the benefit of vaccination.
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