Coronavirus and the Flu: Facts and Prevention Tactics

UPDATE 3/17/2020: Since the we originally posted this blog, a lot has changed throughout the nation and the world. We have seen countries on lock down, school districts close, and some of the nation’s largest scaled events canceled. The virus has spread quickly, and we are doing what we can to slow the spread. The practice of social distancing has played a key role in ensuring we don’t see a spike in the number of cases, essentially helping us to flatten the curve. This will allow first responders, doctors, and hospitals to better help those who do get sick. If we see a large spike in cases, then there will not be enough resources to help everyone at once. Social distancing also reduces the chances of doctors and nurses getting sick, making them more available to care for all of us. So how can you practice proper social distancing and help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

  • Work from home if you can
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t gather in groups of more than 10 people
  • Avoid eating in restaurants and food courts – use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits
  • If you do not feel ill, do not get a test to see if you have the virus. Don’t put yourself at risk, and save the tests for those who do feel ill
  • If in the event you do experience symptoms, call your doctor first. Do not go to the ER or your primary care physician’s office right away. The availability of telemedicine has made this easily achievable and makes it so that we don’t spread this virus to our health care providers as previously mentioned.
  • If anyone in your household is sick, you and any other household members must stay quarantined for at least 15 days

For more information on how to slow to the spread, click here.

For more information on social distancing, check out this article!

A local district in Austin, TX recently announced it has started to screen it’s students and staff for symptoms of the coronavirus. Though there have only been a total of 11 confirmed cases in the United States (none in Texas), more than 20,000 confirmed cases worldwide and over 400 related deaths, there has been a widespread panic across the globe. Not that these numbers aren’t alarming, but it’s important to take a look at how these numbers compare to the flu that we see every year. 

For example, below are the CDC’s preliminary estimates of the 2019-2020 flu season:

*Because influenza surveillance does not capture all cases of flu that occur in the U.S., CDC provides these estimated ranges to better reflect the larger burden of influenza. These estimates are calculated based on CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance data and are preliminary.

When it comes to illnesses like the coronavirus or influenza, it’s important to focus on three key factors:

  • Stay educated, and don’t let media hype distract you from the real threat and the threats already at home
  • Know what symptoms look like and when to send students and staff home
  • Exercise good hygiene practices and educate those around you on how to prevent the spread of illnesses and other diseases. 

Prevention Methods

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into a bent arm
  • Wash your hands
    • Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
    • Dry with a paper towel
    • Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet
    • Keep hand-sanitizer within reach
    • Post signage around your schools as a friendly reminder
  • Review current sick leave policies for students and staff
    • Avoid giving out Perfect Attendance awards as this can encourage students and staff to show up even when they aren’t well
    • Cross train staff to take cover for co-workers who need to stay home
  • Avoid touching your fact
  • Frequently clean and disinfect your surrounding areas
  • Follow your school’s vaccination policies

For more information about this year’s flu activity, click here.

For more information about the coronavirus, click here.

Questions? Comments? We want to hear them!