Worried about coronavirus? Dr. Oz reveals 'survival guide' for protecting yourself
Tips to staying safe from celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz
As the coronavirus gains a foothold in some parts of the U.S., panic about the fast-spreading disease has gripped the country as federal public health officials struggle to contain the outbreak.
To mitigate its spread, several states have instituted measures like shutting down public schools, shifting university classes to online only and urging older people and other people who may be vulnerable to the virus to limit outings to crowded places.
For those worried about contracting the virus, there are additional precautions that can be taken to keep yourself safe and healthy, celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo.
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"Everyone says stay calm, don't panic. That's not really about what our goal is here," Oz said. "Our goal is to give you actual steps to take right now to take yourself safe, more importantly, keep people who are frail in the population in optimal condition."
The virus, which causes a disease called COVID-19, has killed close to 3,800 people, with about 109,000 cases reported worldwide, mostly in China. So far, there have been a total of 539 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. across 34 states and 22 deaths.
For those who continue to travel by plane, Oz, the 59-year-old Oprah Winfrey protégé, suggested you should choose a window seat, which is further away from the crowds. Because the so-called "germ zone" is the rows of seats in front of and behind you, Oz said travelers should take the "air nozzle and blast it at your face."
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Oz also urged Americans to wash their hands, and fingers in particular, for 20 seconds, in line with the CDC's protocol.
For those who do venture out into the public, Oz said they should try to stay at least an arm's distance away from other people. And for those who still need to take public transportation, he suggested walking around with tissues in your hand, to avoid touching public spaces, or wearing disposable gloves and tossing them once you're done.
"Simple tactics like that are incredibly effective," he said.
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New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older people and those with severe chronic medical conditions "stay at home as much as possible."
To prepare for the possibility of a 14-day quarantine, Oz advised individuals to keep about two weeks of supplies for basic things on hand. That includes stocking up on over-the-counter medication (and prescription drugs if necessary), frozen and pantry foods, toilet paper and soap.
"It's not about panicking," he said. "You're not going to die from this virus."
The virus also does not like the heat, he said, suggesting that people purchase a humidifier.
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According to the CDC, it's still unknown whether temperature and weather impact the spread of the coronavirus.
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"Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months," the CDC said. "At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer."