You’ve heard probably a few times already today, but for good measure, we’ll say it again: Wash your hands.


You should be doing that already, after all it’s practicing good hygiene. COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is real and if you aren’t taking it seriously, now is the time to start.


Health officials across the globe are talking about the novel coronavirus.


According to the World Health Organization, common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.


Tom Hanks, at least two NBA players and the wife of the prime minister of Canada have all tested positive for the coronavirus.


On Thursday, a Kansas man died as a result of COVID-19 prompting Gov. Laura Kelly to declare a state of emergency. President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday.


You’ve probably seen the cancellations, suspensions and other social changes presented as well. For at least the foreseeable future, this thing is inescapable and in some ways unprecedented.


We bring this up not to be alarmist, but rather to plea for common sense and public health.


Health officials ranging from WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, among others, have all been very clear that the spread of the disease is preventable if you follow some basic guidelines. The top among them washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.


Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If soap is unavailable, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.


Other very common sense and basic things include don’t go out in public or even to work if you’re feeling ill. Be sure to see or consult a doctor. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Again be sure to wash your hands after all of these actions.


Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.


Want to do a deeper dive on some of this? Consider checking out the CDC’s website cdc.gov, or maybe the KDHE’s kdheks.gov. Both have plenty of helpful resources to help you educate yourself about this situation and how to protect against it.


Be vigilant for yourself and also for your co-workers, friends and family. This virus preys more heavily on the immuno-compromised. Someone you care about likely falls into that category.


So one last time, please practice good hygiene, wash your hands and take steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19.