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Best tips to protect yourself from coronavirus

Dr. David Hotchkin with the Oregon Clinic said the best thing people can do to make sure they don't get the virus is wash their hands frequently.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The coronavirus is impacting business and personal travel for people in the Portland area.

Intel, with a huge Oregon presence, halted all non-essential travel to China and is donating $1 million to the International Red Cross to help care for those impacted. Columbia Sportswear also canceled all non-essential travel to China for its employees.

On the water, China is one of Oregon’s largest trading partners. The U.S. Coast Guard said its checking incoming ships to see if they have visited a country with coronavirus. The Columbia River Steamship Operators Association, which represents the owners of the big cargo ships coming to Oregon, is paying attention to the changing situation. A spokeswoman offered a comment that read in part, "we are maintaining close coordination with the key players in the maritime industry."

Coronavirus is a generic name for these things. MERS and SARS are also coronaviruses. This one is called novel coronavirus and since this one is new, it is scary.

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You are most likely to get exposed when you are close to someone and they cough or sneeze on you.

A light case will leave you feeling like you have a cold. A bad case can give you pneumonia and for some people death, according to Dr. David Hotchkin, a pulmonologist and critical care doctor at The Oregon Clinic.

“The reports we're seeing out of Wuhan, out of China, suggest that those individuals that are most likely to die from the coronavirus are men with complex medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and then those individuals that have immune suppression. That does not mean that it only affects those individuals,” he said.

RELATED: Wuhan Coronavirus Map: Tracking the outbreak in real-time

How can you protect yourself?

“The most important thing you can do during cold and flu season - and this is again a virus just like all the other viruses that you see- is wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands a lot. Wash your hands after you touch anything. Think about how many different things you touch during the day; touch your door handle, touch your car, go to a restaurant, wipe up against the wall. You really just need to wash your hands,” he said.

As for masks, Dr. Hotchkin suggests you save your money.

“I have a lot of people that ask me if they should wear a mask on the plane. I don’t wear a mask on the plane. I guess if they want to, they can, but I wouldn’t spend a lot of money trying to buy a mask,” Dr. Hotchkin said.

“I will be traveling soon. I am going to make sure I am washing my hands after I’m touching anything inside of the airport. But the mask, walking around outside, it’s not gonna help,” he added.

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