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Posted on: March 10, 2020

Handwashing Best Protection Against Flu and Coronavirus

Increasing media coverage of the coronavirus outbreak that began in China is creating some questions in our community.  The Joplin City Health Department understands that citizens are concerned about the new coronavirus and have questions about how to protect themselves and their family.  Below is helpful information that everyone should know.

The new coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is spread by droplets when a person who is sick coughs and sneezes. It is not yet known whether it also spreads through the air. Most of the cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. so far have been among people with recent travel to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks, or among close personal contacts of someone sick with COVID-19.

Because COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, there is no vaccine yet to protect against it, and our bodies do not have immunity to it. But there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.

Keep a distance of 8 feet from people who are sick.

If you are well, you do not need to wear a face mask to try to protect yourself from seasonal flu or coronavirus. Face masks are intended to be worn by people who are sick, to keep germs from travelling far when the person coughs or sneezes. Face masks are also needed by health care workers or family members who must be very close to sick people in order to care for them.

“There are no cases of coronavirus in the city of Joplin at this time, but the City Health Department is still seeing a high number of seasonal flu cases each week,” said Ryan Talken, Interim Health Director. “It is important that everyone in our community stays home when sick. Going to work, to church, or out in the community when you are sick, or sending a sick child to school or daycare puts other people at risk. The best way to protect our whole community is for people who are sick to stay home.”

Talken noted that the public will hear about more cases of coronavirus and seasonal flu in the United States over the weeks and months ahead. The U.S. has a strong public health system that is trained to quickly identify cases and stop the spread of disease. Everyone can do their part to help by staying home when they are sick.

He also emphasized the following: Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face with unwashed hands, and keep a distance from people who are sick. These simple steps will help protect you against coronavirus, the seasonal flu, and many other diseases that are spread from person-to-person. These are the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and our whole community.

 For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at 

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