It appears that the theme for 2020 is that each month has a fatal threat. The news circuit started off the year talking about WWIII and they have moved on to coronavirus (COVID-19). Listening to just a few minutes of any COVID-19 news coverage would have you running frantically to prepare your dooms-day bunker. So let’s set aside the hysteria and get practical.
I’m Claudia Torres PharmD, flower Club member and Emergency Room Pharmacist.
Coronaviruses is a large umbrella of upper respiratory (nose, sinuses or upper throat) viruses that cause fever, cough or shortness of breath. The exception to this specific strain of coronavirus COVID-19 is that there have been reported fatalities.
How is COVID-19 spread?
The COVID-19 is spread by person-to-person contact, although not enough information has been gathered to confirm if it may be spread by contact with an infected surface or object. The virus is most contagious when the person is most symptomatic. The infected individual coughs or sneezes and releases the COVID-19 droplets into the air. An uninfected individual has to be within close proximity (about 6 feet) and directly inhale said contaminated air droplet via the nose or mouth.
How can I avoid getting sick?
Avoiding getting COVID-19 is no different than flu prevention or avoiding getting sick in general
- Avoid close contact with sick people (remember the 6 feet rule)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you believe to have come in contact with a sick person
- Stay home if you believe to be sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue
- Maintain a clean home or work area by disinfecting the surfaces
- WASH YOUR HANDS
Should I be wearing a mask?
The CDC only recommends those individuals that are either thought to be sick, are in direct contact with a sick individual or are taking care of a sick individual to wear mask.
Is there a cure?
Currently the treatment is supportive care and there is no vaccine.
Ok, but should I be worried?
Due to the nature of the COVID-019 virus those more likely to be severely impacted are children, pregnant women, elderly, immune-compromised or those with underlying respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD. Everyone else will probably not end up in the hospital being monitored.
When should I go to the hospital?
In general you should avoid coming to the hospital unless you’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that you are very sick and need emergency care. Because chances are that if you weren’t sick before entering the emergency room, you’re bound to pick something up in the waiting room. Why?! Because actual sick people are here! All jokes aside, you should go to the hospital if:
- You are experiencing severe acute respiratory symptoms and have traveled to the affected geographic area with widespread or sustained community transmission as determined by the CDC (not fulana de tal)
- You have been in contact with someone who has traveled and has severe acute respiratory symptoms and now you too have severe acute respiratory symptoms (be a good friend and bring that person to the hospital too)
- If you have severe acute respiratory symptoms and fevers for reasons that can’t be explained with an alternative diagnosis
Check the CDC website for updated information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19