Health: Staying Safe from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Posted on March 17 2020
Dealing with the Coronavirus
It was just recently that the President of the US had announced a national emergency regarding the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19. This is an incredibly trying time for everyone, and we wanted to put some facts out there that may help you with your fight to stay healthy. You can also keep track of the status worldwide via the global dashboard. We'll link it below.
About the Novel Coronavirus.
The first thing to note is that the Coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause mild illnesses such as a cold, to more serious, like pneumonia. Similar to how HIV is the virus that causes the AIDS disease, the COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Courtesy of the World Health Organization. More info here
What are the symptoms?
What is known so far is several symptoms are ranging from mild to severe. The symptoms can range from the common cold to pneumonia, and the most common reported symptoms to include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In most severe cases, there have been pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. Keep in mind that in most people (80%), the symptoms tend to be mild. People who are at most risk are the elderly or already have underlying health conditions.
How is it transmitted?
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. Exactly how the virus is transmitted is not currently known. It is thought to spread mainly between people who are within proximity with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be contracted through touching a surface or object that has been contaminated by the virus. Still, in general, the primary method is through coughing and sneezing.
Is there a vaccine or treatment?
There is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment to protect against COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. While there is no known medication for the virus and treatment is supportive care, there are treatments and vaccines are in development.
Note that it is now free to get checked for the Coronavirus. If you suspect yourself to have it, be sure to your doctor to get checked out.
How do we prevent transmission of the virus?
- People should take certain precautions. There are some things that people can do to lower their risk of contracting the virus.
- Face masks are not necessary as they are only recommended for the sick to contain the COVID-19 from spreading to others as well as for healthcare providers.
- Avoid large gatherings
- Get the flu shot-its not too late. Although the flu shot will not protect you from the COVID-19, it will help prevent the flu, which has similar symptoms to this Coronavirus.
- Try to work from home if possible.
- Avoid touching the nose, mouth, and eyes without cleaning hands first.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands).
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol when water and soap are not available.
- If you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, visited a recent area with the ongoing spread of Coronavirus, or have been in close contact with someone who has recently traveled to any of those areas, get yourself checked out.
- If you need a connection to a health care provider, call 311.
- Hospital staff will not ask about immigration status. Receiving health care is not a public benefit identified by the public charge test.
What to do if you sick with COVID-19? (Courtesy of CDC)
Stay home except to get medical care.
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
Animals: Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
Wearing a facemask
You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid sharing personal household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean your hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during the use of the product. Monitor your symptoms Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
Discontinuing home isolation
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to below. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
At the end of the day. Be smart and aware of yourself as well as your surroundings. Get more info about the COVID-19 here.