As of Sunday, March 22, the novel coronavirus has swept into at least 186 countries, areas, or territories and killed nearly 13,000 people globally. Known as COVID-19, the virus has officially reached pandemic status according to the World Health Organization (WHO). With all of the discussion around infectious disease and public health best practices, some researchers are wondering: Is coronavirus the long-feared superbug? The short answer: Not exactly. Still, the crisis is drawing attention to the growing number of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Is Coronavirus the Long-Feared Superbug?
The Problem with Superbugs
Superbugs are strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That resistance to traditional treatment methods makes superbugs extremely dangerous, especially when healthcare providers struggle to identify effective antibiotic varieties in times of crisis. This issue is gaining attention as novel coronavirus continues to cause secondary lung infections in some vulnerable patients. Patients with these infections require powerful antibiotics – but the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs makes that complicated. When faced with drug-resistant bacteria, doctors have to make split-second decisions about the antibiotics that have the greatest chance of effectively treating each patient. WHO addressed the issue in a recent press release, pointing out that the slow development of new antibiotics is nowhere near enough to fight the growing number of superbugs jeopardizing human lives.
Is COVID-19 a Superbug?
Short answer: No, the coronavirus is not a superbug. WHO reports that COVID-2019 is, in fact, fragile and very easy to kill with simple disinfectants. Milder symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. However, the virus can lead to drug-resistant secondary infections that can cause difficulty breathing, pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, and even kidney failure.
Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus
- Cancel nonessential travel to high-risk countries: Currently the CDC recommends that travelers cancel any nonessential trips to China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and most of Europe.
- Wash your hands: Washing your hands properly is one of the best ways to protect yourself against viral infection. Clean your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, and then rinse your hands with clean water. Keep in mind that hand sanitizer is not an ideal replacement for diligent hand washing, according to the CDC. It does not get rid of all types of germs, and it isn’t as effective as hand washing.
- Avoid touching your face: Your hands touch all kinds of surfaces throughout the day – doorknobs, bathroom sinks, and the like – which increases the likelihood that they’ll become contaminated with a virus. So in addition to washing your hands frequently, try to avoid touching your hands to your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid individuals who may be showing symptoms: If you see someone coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, or displaying other symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to stay at least three feet away.
- Engage in social distancing. Make a conscious effort to reduce your contact with other people. Do not attend large events (concerts, parties, conferences) or visit crowded places.
- Use proper respiratory hygiene. Cover you mouth and nose with either a tissue or a bent elbow any time that you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately.
- Call your healthcare provider if you feel unwell. Feeling sick? Stay home, and follow the directions of your healthcare provider. If your symptoms are serious or you’re a member of an at-risk population, you may be asked to visit a healthcare facility. If not, you will likely be instructed to remain at home so that you can avoid contact with vulnerable people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. We’re talking about tables, desks, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. Be sure that you’re using an EPA-registered disinfectant.
In addition, please check out our previous blog post, How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus.
While coronavirus isn’t technically a superbug, it can lead to dangerous complications. Fortunately, you can protect yourself with the same common-sense precautions you would use during a regular cold and flu season. For starters, consider purchasing the SafeSpace Germ Fighter Kit. It contains our germ fogger, auto disinfecting and deodorizing mist, and hand sanitizer.
The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made disinfectant products to keep your family safe and healthy. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, it’s more important than ever to practice healthy hygiene habits.
For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.
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