Coronavirus - advice for Helpers and Employers! | HelperFirst
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Coronavirus - advice for Helpers and Employers!

Date Posted: 28/01/2020 Posted By: Lily

There are many rumours around about the Coronavirus outbreak. In this article, we offer essential advice on how to avoid catching or spreading this virus.


The Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first appeared in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019. It is currently thought that the contagion began at an open-air seafood market. As I write, there are some 9658 infected persons in China. Infections outside of Mainland China are not thought to number more than 118 in total. Of those infected so far, 213 have died and 187 recovered.  


Chinese health authorities expect that at least twice as many infections exist. China has restricted some forms of travel and advised citizens to stay at home.

Governments consider Corona a grave threat. Some observers have suggested that over 100,000 persons are already infected. Hong Kong has declared a top-level public emergency.


Like most 'flu viruses, infected people are contagious before showing symptoms. Early symptoms may include fever, coughing, running nose and sore throat - so much the same as a bad head-cold.


To stay safe, follow this simple advice.


Our first advice is, Don't panic. This may be the most useful information you receive - the chance of contagion remains very very low in Hong Kong. Panicking never helps but always causes anxiety. This can lead to the spread of misinformation. Besides, most healthy people recover from 'flu viruses'.

Here are some practical tips to stop Corona spreading and take preventative measures. 


* Wash your hands (brush your nails and wash wrists and forearms if you have been outside in public). Make sure you wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds.


* Carry hand-sanitizer (you can buy little bottles in Circle-K or 7-11)

It is more important to use hand sanitizer/wash hands than to wear a mask. 'Flu is contagious via exhaled water droplets. These are heavy, so there's a low chance that you will breathe any in. 

Infectious material from water droplets can remain active for 24 hours. This can mean that elevator buttons, handrails can carry contagious pathogens. Vegetable bag rollers, shopping carts or restaurant salt & pepper shakers can carry germs. Don't get ill by keeping your hands clean! 

If you do buy a mask, make sure it is compliant with US ASTM-F2100 (FDA approved or equal). 


* Avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, mouth and nostrils. Infection on the fingers can pass into your body.

Studies show that the average person touches her face ten times every hour. That might be fixing glasses, rubbing your eyes or blowing your nose. During the SARS epidemic (2003), medical staff wearing N95 masks still became infected. 

Sanitizing and washing your hands is WAY more important than wearing a mask!


* Avoid large public gatherings and crowded places whenever possible. 

Another good bit of advice is to avoid crowds or going to the market until the threat is over. Where there are lots of people, the chance of contagion is higher. Cook something from the cupboard. Relax at home or go to the beach or park on your day off.

Crowded places increase the risk of contracting such a virus. We are still learning about Corona, so it is best to avoid danger. Remember, infected persons may show no symptoms but be contagious. Avoiding unnecessary trips and putting those who live with you and yourself at risk.


* Always to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Everyone knows this, right? We hope you do!


* Stay hydrated - drink plenty of water to make sure that throat mucus traps airborne pathogens. 


* Get plenty of sleep - when you don't sleep you have a depressed immune system.


* Demand fair working conditions! If your employer asks you to visit crowded markets or you're not getting enough rest, complain! 


 Their families health is as important as yours!


               Stay safe, everyone!