This past week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have advised that American should prepare, not panic, for the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). In such an event, people should be prepared for the possibility of disruptions to their daily lives which could include closing schools, working from home and delaying elective medical procedures.
With each passing day, more concerns are raised as there are now cases of “community-acquired” Covid-19, meaning they had no known risk factors.
Those affected by chronic and/or life threatening conditions are among the groups most at risk. In view of that, below are measures that can be taken to both reduce risk as well as be prepared in the event you need to quarantine in place
Talk to your employer about working at home.
Have sufficient quantities of the following for two weeks:
• prescription medications, oxygen, over the counter medications and other medical supplies
• incidentals such as toothpaste, toilet paper
• a plan in place for someone who might become ill
• activities to stay occupied, particularly for children
Prevention measures to stop the spread: Because COVID-19 spreads similarly to flu and colds, the biggest risk is contact with someone who is infected. Think Cover & Wash.
• Cover your cough with your arm or tissue not your hand
• Wash your hands throughout the day with soap & water, using hand sanitizer when that’s not available. Hand washing done correctly is one of the best 20 second prevention tools and is the cornerstone of all infection prevention programs. Proper hand washing includes using soap (either bar or liquid), rubbing the backs of hands, between your fingers and under your nails and 20 seconds. To learn the proper way to wash your hands, watch the video below.
• Stay at home if you are sick. Keep your child out of school if they are sick
• Avoid people who are sick and avoid touching your face
• Skip events that put you in contact with a large group of people. Consider postponing travel.
• Engage in general health behaviors by; Eating healthy, exercising, managing stress, getting adequate sleep and keeping all medical appointments.
• Check to see if you can receive medical care through a telehealth system
Know the Symptoms: If you develop symptoms, contact your medical provider for further instructions. COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of the flu:
- Shortness of breath
- Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
- Aches and pains
- Complications like pneumonia
Have a Plan: If you should get sick, be it flu or something else, you should have plan in place with family and caregivers so that they know your current health situation, who your medical provider(s) is and any particular wishes you have about your care and treatment.
Monitor Your Local News for Relevant Information: Don’t be obsessed, but stay informed about what is happening in your area regarding Covid-19 and follow instructions provided by your health department.
If you are concerned: Discuss your concerns with your medical provider