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Coronavirus: Some dos and don'ts

It’s been difficult to know how much of the hype to buy into over coronavirus. We definitely don’t need to be stockpiling toilet paper, that much I can tell you right off the bat.

I’ve certainly taken a very relaxed approach up until now (in spite of being an asthmatic), but having spoken with a number of doctors on the matter, its certainly worthwhile taking some measured precautions. So I’m going to answer some of the most common questions around coronavirus, followed by some practical tips to help you get through this flu season, because we’re in for a rough ride.

Do I need to buy all the toilet paper?

No. Stop buying all the toilet paper, but please keep sending me the memes because they are hilarious. In fact, there’s no need to stockpile apocalyptic quantities of anything. The symptoms of coronavirus are much like the flu. Have a few extra staples on hand in case you need to self-quarantine, although major grocery stores do home delivery so even then you won’t end up in a pickle. Keep a bit extra of everything on hand though, maybe make and freeze a few extra meals in case you feel too unwell to cook or do find you need to self-quarantine. Beyond that, we aren’t preparing for a war, so be measured about things. You don’t need 12 months worth of anything. Maybe slowly build up your supplies to have 2 week’s worth.

Isn’t it just the flu? What’s the big deal?

The symptoms of coronavirus are indeed much like the flu BUT let’s have a little virology lesson. Imagine the flu virus is a spikey ball and each spike is an important identifying feature. Although the flu is different each year, not all of those spikey markers change, so our bodies recognise pieces of the flu that we’ve been exposed to before. By recognising pieces of it, our immune system knows to start launching an attack and whilst we may still get sick (or not if we’ve been vaccinated), our body starts to deal with it in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, coronavirus doesn’t look like the flu or any other virus we’ve been exposed to previously. So it gets in and spreads and takes our immune system longer to work out how to fight it, by which time it has a much stronger hold on our body than something we partly recognise from before.

Coronavirus is coming and we will likely all be exposed, so what are some practical steps I can take?

  1. Make a bit extra when you’re cooking and save that food up in the freezer in case you feel too unwell to cook, or need to quarantine yourself for 2 weeks.
  2. Grab one or two extras at the supermarket of things like:
    • Legumes
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Frozen veg
    • Proteins you like to eat
    • Your regular medications
  3. Build up your immune system now so that its primed to cope with whatever gets thrown at us. It may not prevent you getting sick at all, but it will put you in a stronger position to fight if you do.
  4. Don’t forget that online shopping is amazing! Get familiar with it now, so if you do find yourself in isolation, you’re already across it.
  5. And finally, remember you have family and friends who, in a pickle may be able to drop off supplies if you are housebound.

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