What Do You Need To Know?
Content Provided by Baldwin Publishing
Information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly developing. Here’s some information about the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, with various strains affecting people and animals. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the strain that is currently in the news and it was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of this illness are similar to other respiratory illnesses and include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Some infected people have few or no symptoms and recover in a few days. Others, especially the elderly or those with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions, may have more severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. The virus may even cause death.
How do you get coronavirus?
COVID-19 typically spreads through contact with respiratory droplets from someone infected with the virus. This can occur when someone who has the virus sneezes, coughs or even talks, with estimated spread occurring up to 6 feet from the infected person. These droplets can also land on surfaces that, if touched, may make you sick if your hands then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms appear in 2 – 14 days after exposure but the virus may spread even in people with no obvious symptoms.
How can you protect yourself from coronavirus?
The same steps you take to avoid getting a cold or the flu will help protect you from coronavirus.
- Wash your hands. Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective ways to avoid getting coronavirus, or illnesses such as colds and flu. During the SARS epidemic, hand-washing was shown to reduce the risk of transmission by 30-50%. Using soap and water is the best way to keep hands germ-free. Lather up and wash hands for at least 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Then rinse hands well with clean running water and dry. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, although this is not as effective as hand-washing.
- Keep hands away from your face. Your hands touch many surfaces all day long and even if you wash them often, you can still wind up with viruses and bacteria on your hands. When you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, it makes it easier for the germs on your hands to enter your body and make you sick.
- Avoid sick people. COVID-19 spreads by coming in contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person. Droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel up to six feet away. If you see anyone coughing or with other visible signs of illness (whether you suspect coronavirus or not), stay as far away as you can.
- Stay home if you’re sick. If you are ill, whether you suspect coronavirus or not is to blame, stay home. The best way to avoid spreading illness is to stay away from others if you are sick.
- Keep your immune system strong by eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep.
How can coronavirus be treated?
There are no specific treatments for coronavirus, but you can help relieve symptoms by doing what you would do for a cold or flu. This includes taking medication for pain/fever, using a humidifier or taking a hot shower to help ease coughing, drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest. If symptoms don’t improve, call your doctor to find out if you should be seen or tested for the flu or COVID-19. If symptoms are severe, go to the hospital or call 911.
How to Cope with Your Fear of Coronavirus
It’s natural to feel anxious and stressed right now. But these tips can help you cope.
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we live and work. Every day brings news of additional closings, stock market drops and dire health predictions. Not surprisingly, many of us are feeling anxious and stressed. We feel like the world is spinning out of control.
Lack of control is a key factor in anxiety. When you’re not in control of a situation, you may create worst-case scenarios in your mind that might never actually happen. Coronavirus fears are difficult for anyone to handle, and can become crippling if you already have an anxiety disorder.
“When we don’t understand something that leaves us feeling like we don’t know everything we need to protect ourselves…that equates to powerless vulnerability,”
David Ropeik, an expert on risk communication, told USA Today.
Fortunately, it’s possible to decrease your anxiety in these difficult times. These tips may help:
- Follow precautions. The best ways to reduce your risk are under your control. Wash your hands regularly. Keep your hands away from your face. Stay 6 feet away from other people. Don’t go to school or work if you feel ill.
- Create a plan. This puts you in control of your response to the virus and can help relieve anxiety. Have you stocked up on food, medication and personal care items? Do you know how you’ll handle childcare when schools are closed? Have you made alternate work arrangements with your employer?
- Evaluate your risk. Keep in mind that if you haven’t come in close contact with someone who has the virus or visited an area with an outbreak of cases, your risk of contracting the virus is likely low.
- Educate yourself. Although the novel coronavirus can be deadly, most people survive the infection. Many only experience mild symptoms or don’t even know they have it.
- Reduce news watching. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends checking the news only once or twice a day if you’re feeling anxious. Choose reputable news outlets that focus on facts, not speculation.
- Find ways to relax. Go for a walk outside, meditate or watch a funny movie at home to naturally lower stress.
- Embrace healthy habits. Bolster your immune system with a healthy diet, ample amounts of sleep and regular exercise.
If your fears become overwhelming, don’t suffer alone. Talk to a compassionate friend or family member. If necessary, schedule an appointment with a mental health counselor – many are offering phone or video appointments at this time.