Right now, a lot of the news is covering Wuhan Coronavirus, which is a new coronavirus currently infecting thousands of people around the world. It was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China. While this virus isn’t necessarily fatal, it has killed a significant number of people, and since there is no cure or vaccine, people are understandably nervous and wondering what they can do to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are also taking advantage of this fact and trying to sell people fake cures that won’t actually do anything to help.
What Doesn’t Work
The internet is covered with tips on how to protect yourself. You will see a lot of people wearing surgical masks to protect themselves. They are so popular that in China, they have all sold out and people are reselling for astronomical amounts. Unfortunately, these masks won't help. If you remember from elementary school science, viruses are incredibly small. So small that they'll go right through those masks. There are respirators that can protect you, such as the N95 respirator, but these aren't recommended for the general public. They take some training to learn to properly use, plus they're very uncomfortable and claustrophobic to wear, so most people will end up taking them off anyway.
The benefit to wearing surgical masks is to keep yourself from infecting others - doctors wear them in surgery to prevent germs from their mouth from going into an open wound. If you think you have the flu and go to the doctor's office, they may ask you to wear a mask to prevent you from getting others sick. They don't do a ton to protect you from catching someone else's germs.
There are official looking statements out there that suggest using sesame oil, garlic, vitamin C, and drinking warm water. Too much vitamin C just ends up getting flushed down the toilet (if you know what I mean), and the others probably won't hurt you, but they aren't going to stop you from getting sick.
No essential oils will help either. Any essential oil that can supposedly protect you or treat the virus is just a scam.
What Will Help
Wash your hands often, use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. Also avoid being in places where the disease is currently running rampant - so if you have a trip planned to China, you may want to postpone. Right now, North America has very few cases, so in general, people are relatively well protected.
In general, it's also not a bad idea to keep your immune system in the best condition possible. Not through any magic supplements, but by eating well, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest.
Get a Flu Shot
While the flu shot will not protect you against Wuhan Coronavirus, right now, the flu has infected and killed many more people than Wuhan Coronavirus. And while it is true that this year's flu vaccine isn't as effective as it has been some years in the past, it will still likely shorten the time you are sick and possibly keep you from being sick enough to require hospitalization. If you're worried enough about Wuhan Coronavirus to be looking for tips on staying healthy, you should also be worried enough about the flu to get a flu shot.