MISHAWAKA – The recent strain of coronavirus, which has impacted more than 76,000 people worldwide, has yet to affect Indiana and the local community. Americans have contracted the disease only due to recent travel to affected areas, and the government is currently quarantining returning travelers in American government air force bases. But even with the government taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease within the U.S., Bethel’s director of health services and campus nurse Dora Madsen believes it is important to be prepared for the virus in order to identify the virus early and prevent the possible spread of the virus.
“The concern for [the virus affecting] Bethel is low, as thus far, per the CDC, imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers has been detected in the U.S. person-to-person spread of COVID-19 [and] also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan,” Madsen. “But at this time, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.”
The head of the World Health Organization, Sylvie Briant, MD, has said that the virus produces mild cold-like symptoms in up to 80% of patients; with about 15% of those affected contracting pneumonia and 3-5% of all patients needing intensive care.
Considering the recent outbreak, which has affected hundreds of Americans who have recently traveled overseas, it is important to know how to prevent illness when traveling out of the country. April Hart RN, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE and associate professor of nursing at Bethel University has some tips.
“It's also important to [find] out if you need any particular immunizations for the country or countries you're planning to visit,” Hart said. “While visiting the country, using only bottled water, including for brushing your teeth is important, as well as avoiding street food.”
Hart also suggests using the Smart Traveler app from the U.S. Department of State which gives up-to-date information on the country’s embassies, visa requirements, safety and security, local laws and health.
Samuel Abraham, associate professor of nursing, also suggests avoiding salads when traveling because the lettuce is usually washed in tap water; however, he added it is safe to eat fruits that can be peeled and well-cooked foods. He also added it can be beneficial to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy as well as anti-diarrheal meds.