With all the ongoing coverage of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (n-CoV), Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency’s Public Health Branch feels it is a good time to provide helpful reminders on steps to prevent illness and advise that the immediate health risk to the general public in the United States remains low. Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught recommends that everyone take normal precautions to prevent getting sick, as this is also the height of flu season.
Tulare County is working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other health partners to follow updated news and recommendations concerning the 2019 novel Coronavirus (n-CoV). Tulare County has no confirmed or suspected cases of 2019 n-CoV. Though serious, there is a low risk to the general public for anyone who has not traveled through China. Be aware that there are other coronaviruses that present like a common cold, not the same as the 2019 n-CoV.
If you have traveled to China within the last 14 days, and have symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, please contact your health provider, inform them of your travel history and self-isolate at home pending your provider’s advice.
The public health department reminds everyone that a person’s risk for the novel coronavirus is based on their travel history, or they may have had close contact with someone diagnosed with 2019 n-CoV. Race, ethnicity, or cultural background are not risk factors.
Precautions against illness that all community members and travelers should be aware of include steps such as:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer if no soap is available
- Cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
• Get a flu shot—it isn’t too late in the season
• Avoid contact with sick individuals
• Stay home if you have symptoms of illness, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
• Use medications as instructed by your physician
Dr. Haught notes the importance of contacting a doctor immediately when you see signs of serious illness, some of which vary depending on age:
- Adults may experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, dizziness, confusion, vomiting, and dehydration
- Children may experience hyperventilation or difficulty breathing, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, irritability, and restlessness
- Infants may experience a decreased appetite and dehydration
- Fever returning after the illness has resolved indicates a need for medical care
Individuals with flu symptoms, particularly those with risk factors such as pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and kidney disease, and those with children age five and younger should talk to their health care providers about antiviral medication.