Prepare for Pandemics
The coronavirus is just the latest virus that has spread across the globe. Flu strains, SARS, and other viral outbreaks spread fear at quicker rates than the diseases themselves. By properly preparing for a pandemic, we can better ensure we avoid getting sick. What does preparation require? First, it’s important that we understand what a virus is. Second, I’ll outline how humans get viral infections. Lastly, we’ll cover what makes some viruses infect people across the globe. By learning about viruses, we’ll be armed with virus survival skills that can prepare us for pandemics.
What is a Virus?
Put simply, viruses are tiny parasites that reproduce themselves within a host. Its main goal is to multiply, which is arguably the primary goal of all species on this planet. Viruses are incredibly good at fulfilling their purposes because they don’t limit themselves to just one host. Viruses spread both throughout their hosts and across hosts. That said, not all viruses spread the same way. Some viruses infect a just one particular type of species and others only spread through the exchange of bodily fluids. What makes viruses scary, though, is their ability to mutate. We need to learn virus survival skills because viruses themselves have become so good at surviving.
The novel coronavirus likely originated in a bat. Interestingly enough, humans probably became infected by the coronavirus through an intermediate animal. Yes, the coronavirus didn’t just jump from one animal to another, but it jumped across multiple species. A virus has the ability to mutate in such a way that it can survive and even thrive within multiple types of hosts. SARS, another corona virus, originated in a civet cat and ultimately spread to humans. Let’s now discuss how humans actually infected with viruses.
How Humans Get Infected with Viruses
Different viruses infect humans through different means. HIV, as an example, spread to humans from chimpanzee blood. The hunter theory states that hunters became infected with HIV when they got chimpanzee blood in their wounds while preparing the chimpanzee to be eaten. Because HIV only spreads through the exchange of bodily fluids, it does not have the potential to create a pandemic.
Scientists agree that an animal sold at the Wuhan Wet Market is responsible for the spread of virus to humans. Wet markets like the one in Wuhan sell live fish and exotic animals to people. Animals are butchered and filleted right in front of customers, commonly without the exercise of proper sanitation. Because of the poor conditions animals are kept in, their immune systems become compromised. They can become infected with viruses, some of which can transfer to humans. Poor sanitation, according to public health officials, facilitates the spread of viruses. So, how do humans get infected with viruses like the novel coronavirus? Close proximity to sick, wild animals and poor sanitary conditions.
Of course, not all viruses are leaping from animals. The common cold is spread through tiny droplets of mucus discharged from a sneeze or cough. Being in the same car, bus, or plane can be all it takes to catch a cold from someone else. The novel coronavirus, similarly, is spread through the air. The ease with which it infects people is a prerequisite to a global pandemic.
Why the Coronavirus is Just the First of Many Future Pandemics
The world has become increasingly interconnected. Globalization has enabled me to travel from the United States to China pretty quickly at relatively little cost. Because people are so mobile, diseases are difficult to contain. The US just imposed entry restrictions to the country on foreign nationals to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. This is obviously a temporary solution to a temporary problem, but what about the next virus? Changes in the environment are making mosquito-borne diseases an increasingly bigger problem. Superbugs, or antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, are also a massive threat. We can at least take some practical precautions to protect ourselves against infection.
Virus Survival Tips You Should Always Follow
1. Practice Good Hygiene
This may sound obvious, but it’s the most important virus survival tip I can offer. Wash your hands after touching surfaces exposed to the public. Use soap and water. Don’t forget the basics!
2. Avoid Contact with Wild Animals
As I mentioned above, wild animals can be the sources of viruses. Bats, chimpanzees, and thousands of other animals can be carriers. We’re instructed as kids to stay away from raccoons because they could have rabies. We should all know now that the coronavirus is an even bigger threat.
3. Avoid Unsanitary Conditions
While I mentioned the importance about good personal hygiene, I didn’t underscore the importance of avoiding unsanitary conditions. Fecal matter, mucus, saliva, and other bodily fluids can be cesspools of disease. If you go to a public place, including a restaurant, you believe to be unsanitary, get out of there. As soon as you leave, clean yourself up.
4. Avoid Taking Antibiotics when Unnecessary (Bacterials Infections)
While bacterial infections are different than viruses, I included this since it’s a related precaution. Bacteria, like viruses, mutate. These mutations can become deadly if the bacteria become immune to antibiotics. This is exactly what happened with certain strains of gonorrhea. Don’t take medicine if you don’t need it! The truth is, doing so can actually get you killed.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Sick people are at an increased likelihood of becoming infected with a virus. People that live a healthy lifestyle, though, are at a decreased risk. Get plenty of sleep, work out, eat the right foods, and drink in moderation. Again, this isn’t rocket science.
Virus Survival Tips You Should Follow in the Midst of an Outbreak
1. Avoid Public Places
Self-quarantine is one of the smartest decisions you can make in the midst of an outbreak. The best way to avoid a virus is to avoid carriers. A bug out bunker is incredible insurance for those who can make the investment.
2. If You Must Travel, Wipe Surfaces with Sanitary Wipes
If you cannot avoid public places, then try to clean them up. Public transportation is a likely place to become infected. If you’re sitting on public transportation, wipe down your area with sanitary wipes. Make every effort to kill viruses looking for hosts.
3. If You Must Travel, Wear a Face Mask
You definitely have seen images of people in China with face masks. There’s a reason for this. The coronavirus and other easily transmittable viruses spread through the air. You need a face mask to protect yourself. It’s one of the keys to virus survival.
Recap of the Most Important Virus Survival Skills
Virus survival isn’t easy because viruses are so good at surviving. The obvious solutions are some of the most important. Good hygiene, a healthy lifestyle, and some common sense will prevent you from becoming infected most of the time. In the case of a pandemic, though, hunker down in your bunker. And if that’s not an option, keep your area clean and your air filtered. The coronavirus wasn’t the first pandemic and it won’t be the last. Add virus survival skills to your arsenal to ensure you’re prepared for the future.
Do you have any other virus survival tips? Leave a comment below or contact me directly.