We are learning more and more about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and moving closer to effective treatments and eventually a vaccine. We can all play our part to slow the spread by following the CDC’s guidelines.
How it spreads
According to the CDC, Coronavirus is thought to primarily spread from person-to-person – those who are in close proximity (within six feet) and through droplets from coughs or sneezes.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get COVID-19, but older adults and those with preexisting conditions have been the most vulnerable to COVID-19’s more serious consequences. If you have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung diseases (including asthma), take extra precautions. Be sure to follow recommendations from the CDC as well as local mandates.
Minimize your exposure
While the Coronavirus is not the flu, the recommended steps to avoid it are similar:
- Wash your hands. Soap and water are your most powerful defenses against exposure to all viruses, including both influenza and COVID-19. Wash your hands often for a minimum of 20 seconds, especially if you have been in a public place or have coughed or sneezed. Wash thoroughly, including between your fingers, under your nails, and up your wrists. Soap and water are best, but in a pinch use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol, rubbing your hands together until dry.
- Don’t touch your face.Viruses can enter through your mouth, nose and eyes so minimize contact with these vulnerable spots as much as you can.
- Keep your distance.Avoid crowded places and keep your distance from others as much as possible (at least six feet)
What to do if you get sick
- While most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms, it is incumbent upon all of us to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
- Stay home. Do not go to public spaces or take public transportation. Do not leave the house until you have not had a fever without the use of a fever-reducing medication for at least 72 hours and other symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath have improved. If you were tested for COVID-19 and will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, follow your doctor’s directions about when it is safe for you to leave home; your doctor will follow CDC protocol.
- Call your doctor. Call your doctor if you develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If you need to go to your doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, or the emergency room, be sure to call ahead so that they can prepare. If you need to call 911, tell the operator that you have or may have COVID-19.
- Separate yourself. Isolate yourself as much as possible within your home, keeping others out of your bedroom and, if possible, using a separate bathroom to avoid getting family members sick.
- Cover your coughs/sneezes. Use a tissue and discard it in a lined trash can then wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available.
- Wear a face mask. When interacting with others or entering a medical facility, you should wear a face mask if one is available. Caregivers should wear a face mask when tending to someone who is sick.
- Clean high touch surfaces often. Clean and disinfect your room and bathroom while leaving other areas of the house to family members to clean and disinfect. Be sure to clean such high-touch surfaces as phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, fixtures, toilets, and keyboards. If a caregiver needs to clean the room or bathroom of someone who is sick, they should wear a mask and not clean the bathroom immediately after use.
- The CDC recommends cleaning with soap and water and then use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label to ensure effectiveness and safety. For a full list of EPA-registered household disinfectants, visit EPA.gov.
Where to get information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up a web page to keep the public informed and updated about COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
We’re here to help
Your local Health Mart pharmacist is always here for you, and we are happy to answer your questions.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus Last accessed: March 18, 2020
Posted on Wed, April 1, 2020 by Health Mart