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The facts about coronavirus

One of the best ways to protect yourself against coronavirus is also the simplest: Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. (Photo via Getty Images)

With coronavirus now prevalent in the New York City area, here are some things to know about the illness, and ways to avoid becoming sick.

  • The risk of contracting coronavirus is low, but it can spread from person to person.
  • There are no specific vaccines or treatments for coronavirus.
  • Medication is available for treatment of symptoms; a vaccine is in development.
  • Most people infected may experience mild symptoms; seniors, people with compromised immune systems and patients with pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of more serious complications.
  • Symptoms are similar to the flu, and include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds to prevent possible infection.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Only use a face mask if you are sick, are a health care professional, or have a compromised immune system that makes you more susceptible to infection.
  • Do not touch your face or head with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects or surfaces in your home or office.
  • Stay home if you aren’t feeling well, but seek medical care immediately if you experience symptoms of coronavirus.
  • For questions about coronavirus, call the New York State Health Department hotline at 888-364-3065, or visit the city Department of Health’s website, nyc.gov/coronavirus.

Sources: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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