As fears and concerns about COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, continue to escalate across the globe, many are feeling confused and unsure of how to protect themselves or even how concerned they should really be.
ET's Rachel Smith spoke with Dr. Oz on Wednesday, and the renowned health expert explained that there's likely no real need to panic, especially if you take sensible, practical precautions.
"I know a lot of folks are panicked, but if you think about what you could do for yourself, at least you got a game plan," he shared. "And when you've found your game plan you can move past the anxiety that's paralyzing a lot of folks."
The outbreak was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization Wednesday morning as it has spread across the globe. One of the biggest fears is a lack of familiarity with the disease and the spread of misinformation.
"I think the survival rate is going to be pretty close to the traditional, old-fashioned flu," Dr. Oz said. "But when you get into the older age groups and people have cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, or just got past cancer or have bad lungs, are really at increased risk."
"They're the ones I want to protect," he added. "If we can keep them free, then we're going to have a very low mortality rate."
While there's no cure for the coronavirus -- much as there's no cure for the flu or common cold -- there are many common-sense methods for preventing or minimizing the possibility of contracting the illness.
"Fruits and vegetables help a lot. Vitamin D-3 -- which you get from the sun as it gets warmer or you can take it as a pill form -- 1,200 units is probably a mainstay everybody should be taking now," Dr. Oz shared. "That might actually prevent some virus spread."
"The other solutions are ones you'd need only if you got sick, like vitamin C in higher doses, zinc is pretty effective, and we've been using elderberry in my family for many years," she said. "They might be beneficial."
Dr. Oz also walked viewers through proper hand-washing procedures, as recommended by the CDC, and used by surgeons the world over.
Washing your hands, with soap, for at least 20 seconds is essential, according to Dr. Oz. Wash over and under the backs of your hands and your palms, scrub your thumbs, your fingertips and generally follow CDC guidelines -- all that should go a long way toward preventing the spread or contraction of the illness.
In the United States, there have been over 1,320 reported cases of the virus, which has led to 38 known deaths thus far.
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