Corona Virus: How to protect yourself!

What is the Corona Virus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause diseases ranging from colds to more serious health issues, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The corona virus is a virus that occurs in animals. It is rarely transmitted from animals to humans and then transmitted from human to human. In addition to COVID-19, we know of other human corona viruses:

  • The MERS virus or respiratory syndrome in the Middle East.
  • The SARS virus or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which first appeared in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

The corona virus, known today as Covid-19, was first found in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and infected more than 100,000 people in over 80 countries around the world.

The virus can cause pneumonia. It is reported that the patients suffer from cough, fever, and have difficulty breathing. In severe cases, organ failure can occur. Because it is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are useless. When people are hospitalized, they may receive support for their lungs and other organs, as well as fluids. Recovery depends on the strength of the patient’s immune system.

Symptoms of the COVID-19 virus

Common signs of infection include difficulty breathing, fever and cough, as well as shortness of breath, body aches, and fatigue. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

how to protect yourself against the corona virus

How is the Corona Virus transmitted?

The Corona Virus (SARS_coV_2) can be transmitted from person to person through droplet infection. This means through the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or indirectly, through the hands, mouth or nasal mucosa. This can happen directly from person to person through the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or indirectly via hands, which are then brought into contact with the oral or nasal mucosa and the conjunctiva. Cases have also been reported in which people have become infected by patients who have shown only mild or non-specific symptoms.

How long is the incubation period?

The incubation period can be up to 14 days, while the average period is 6 to 7 days.

Who is particularly affected?

According to the WHO, those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in China were mostly 51 years of age, while three-quarters of the cases occurred in the 30- to 69-year-old age group.

According to the WHO, four of the five courses of the disease that have mainly been reported so far from China have been mild. In some of the patients, the virus can lead to a more severe course with breathing problems and pneumonia. According to data from China, people over the age of 60 and people with underlying diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and respiratory, liver and kidney diseases are at the highest risk of developing serious illness and death.

Most of the deaths occurred in China in the 80+ years of age group, and men were more often affected than women.

Moreover, according to the WHO, the disease appears to be comparatively rare and mild in children. Severe or even critical developments were only observed in a very small proportion of the children and adolescents affected. However, using the data available to date, it is not possible to determine what role children and adolescents play in transmission and whether they are generally less susceptible to the virus. The WHO also declared that pregnant women do not appear to have an increased risk of developing a serious illness.

In general, people with respiratory problems should stay at home, whenever possible. Older people, especially those with previous illnesses, should avoid crowded places and stay at home as much as possible.

How to protect yourself! (WHO guidelines)

Wash your hands regularly

Clean your hands regularly and thoroughly with an alcohol-based disinfectant spray or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.


Washing your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol on your hand will kill viruses that may be on your hands.

Important for hand disinfectants, the proportion of alcohol must be at least 60%.

Keep social distance

Keep a distance of at least 1 meter between yourself and anyone who coughs or sneezes. Shaking hands should also be avoided.


When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small droplets of liquid from the nose or mouth that may contain viruses. If you are too close, you can inhale the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus.

Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth


Hands touch many surfaces and can absorb viruses. Once contaminated, hands can spread the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure that you and the people around you maintain good breathing hygiene. This means that you should always cough or sneeze in a handkerchief. If you don't have a handkerchief, use your elbow and cough into it.


Droplets spread the virus. Good respiratory hygiene protects people around you from viruses, such as the common cold, flu, and COVID-19.

Protect yourself and others from illness

Wash your hands with soap underwater if your hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not dirty, use an alcohol-based disinfectant several times a day or wash your hands with soap and water several times a day.

Wash your hands especially:

  • If you have sneezed or coughed.
  • If you are dealing with sick people.
  • Before and after you prepare food
  • Before the meal
  • After the toilet
  • If you have been in contact with animals

If you cough or sneeze use a handkerchief. If you don’t have one, sneeze in your elbows. Throw away the used handkerchief immediately after use. Wash your hands with soap and water or use a disinfectant.

Do mouth-masks increase protection from infection?

In the general population, the most important and effective measures for personal protection and for protecting other people from infection are good hand hygiene, compliance with coughing and sneezing rules, and a minimum distance (approx. 1 to 2 meters) from suspected patients.

If a person suffering from infection has to be in a public space, wearing a mouth-nose mask (e.g. a surgical face mask) can be useful to reduce the risk of other people being infected by droplets when coughing or sneezing. For optimal effectiveness, the nose and throat protector must be properly seated (i.e. worn close-fitting), changed when wet, and not constantly adjusted or touched while being worn.


  • Robert Koch Institute
  • WHO

Last Update: 10.03.2020

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