Hello again, friends! Before you start reading, I want you to take a deep breath in, hold it for four seconds, then exhale. Do this a few more times, then remember… everything is going to be okay. Do not panic. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is all over the news and social media. Fortunately not all information that is being spread is correct. This is leading to a little bit of hysteria and alarm. Let us help. This article will contain no conjecture or speculation… only verifiable information from reputable sources.
1. COVID-19 is a pandemic
Yes, this piece of information is true. What does pandemic mean, though? According to Merriam-Webster, a pandemic is “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.” Basically, all a pandemic means is that the outbreak of this disease is worldwide. USA Today has a great article on what the definition means and why it took the World Health Organization so long to quantify this outbreak as such.
2. The risk of becoming seriously ill is low
According to the CDC, for the majority of the population, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. Older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease) are at greater risk of severe illness. You can keep yourself and others healthy by following simple procedures, such as washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when ill, and covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (then discarding the waste).
3. Know the Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to that of the flu. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can present anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The emergency warning signs for this strain of coronavirus are: difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are worried you may have contracted this virus, please see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
There is currently no cure, but managing symptoms and limiting exposure to others is vital for recovery from this virus.
4. Coronavirus is spread from person to person
In order to contract COVID-19, you must be in close proximity to an infected person. If you are within 6 feet of a person, the infection can spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when the infected person sneezes or coughs. A person is most contagious when they are the sickest; in other words, when the symptoms (fever, severe cough, etc.) are most prevalent. If you believe you have any type of infection, for your safety and others, avoid contact with other individuals.
5. We can all help prevent additional infections
In order to protect yourself, follow the steps above (wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands) and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are already ill, there are ways in which you can help minimize the spread of this disease (or any illness, I may add). Stay home unless you are seeking medical aid (call ahead if at all possible, as well), avoid public areas, wear a facemask, cover your coughs/sneezes and dispose of all waste, clean your hands often, and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces everyday. If you are caring for someone who is ill, please follow these precautions.
Most importantly, stay informed. The CDC has a page readily available that contains updates as they occur. This article from USA Today is very helpful and accurate. Finally, The World Health Organization has a plethora of information available for anyone to read and get educated. Spread the word – don’t panic. Be informed. Take care of yourself and your children. We all must live in this world together; spread love, not lies.