TEXAS–Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019. It can be spread from person to person and is diagnosed with a laboratory test.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, diagnosis may be difficult with only a physical exam because mild cases of COVID-19 may appear similar to the flu or a bad cold.
There is no coronavirus vaccine yet. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.
Here are a few frequently asked questions to help you better understand COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms and Testing
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu or a severe cold. If you think you have been ex-posed to the virus through contact with someone else who has been affected, you should call your health care provider immediately for medical advice.
Emergency warning signs and serious symptoms include:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
• New confusion or inability to arouse.
• Bluish lips or face.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that this list is not all-inclusive and urges Americans to consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
When Testing is Necessary
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you live in a community where there is on-going spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested.
People who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. Your local medical professionals will be able to consider your case and deliver sound advice.
What If You’re Sick?
The CDC makes the following recommendations to those feeling sick or afflicted with a mild case of COVID-19:
Stay home. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
Avoid public areas. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
Avoid public transportation. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
Contacting your Doctors
People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their health care provider early, even if their illness is mild. This can help doctors make more informed decisions, like whether or not you should be hospitalized or if you should be tested for the virus.
The CDC reports that older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical condi-tions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
If you are very sick, get medical attention immediately. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately.
One of the first things you should ask yourself is whether COVID-19 has been spreading where you’re going. If the answer is yes, you may be at higher risk of exposure if you travel there.
Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded settings, which is why all major leagues in professional sports have delayed or suspended their seasons. This is especially true for particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
Similarly, strong consideration should be given to avoiding travel if COVID-19 is spreading where you live. What’s Your Risk Level?
Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
What if You’re
If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel.
If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re consid-ered noninfectious. Consider these possible factors when traveling, as being exposed to the virus can have a big impact on your daily life or halt your professional capabilities.
Depending on your unique circumstances, you should be open to delaying or canceling your plans.
The NASP recommends you teaching children the following hygiene measures:
• Wash hands multiple times a day for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star slowly).
• Cover mouths with tissue when sneezing or coughing and throw away the tissue immediately, or sneeze or cough into the bend of the elbow.
• Do not share food or drinks.
• Practice giving fist or elbow bumps instead of handshakes.
Carry on With Normal Life
Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. Not only will this give them comfort during disruptions, but it will help their immune system stay strong.
Going along with this guidance, you should also take the time to talk with your children. Don’t go out of your way to avoid conversations related to COVID-19. If they have questions, be ready to give them educated answers and advice on dealing with any inquiries they may have.
Manage Anxiety and Stress
The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people and communities to handle, especially as new information continues to be released at seemingly breakneck speeds. This stress can be diffi-cult for people to handle.
Maybe you have an older adult in your life with pre-existing medical conditions that could make them more at risk to catch coronavirus. Maybe your workplace recently shut down due to bans on public crowds and you’re worried about where your next paycheck is coming from.
We all handle stress differently, and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming these emotionally challenging times.
Avoiding COVID-19 requires smart hygiene and consistent protective measures. There are many simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and friends. Follow the steps below to give yourself the best chance of preventing the onset of COVID-19.
Wash Your Hands
Clean hands can be the key to making it through the coronavirus pandemic as healthy as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, experts recommend using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. When using sanitizer, cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them to-gether until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Experts also recommend avoiding close contact with people who are sick. Social distancing means keeping reasonable space between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Avoid large crowds and public gatherings to cut down your risk of contracting the virus. This also includes staying home from work or school if you’re sick. Think about others who you may be putting at risk and make the responsible decision.
Wear a Face mask if You Are Sick
If you are sick, you should wear a face mask when you are around other people. Also put on a mask before entering a health care provider’s office.
If you are not able to wear a face mask, try your best to fully cover your coughs and sneezes. Rec-ommend that people who are caring for you wear a face mask if they enter your room.
Clean and Disinfect
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning and disinfecting tables, tablets, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them by using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Clean and Disinfect your Space
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends straightforward cleaning measures to reduce our chances of contracting COVID-19. Follow the simple tips below to ensure your home stays as safe and healthy as possible.
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
For effective disinfection, use diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol and common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface, but always follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.
The CDC states that unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
How to Prepare a Bleach Solution
Follow these mixing instructions to create an effective bleaching solution: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water; or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.