Every day we wake up to the news that there’s significantly more cases of coronavirus around the world than the night before. This news can obviously be triggering and make you feel a bit paranoid.
“Is it just allergies, or is it the ‘rona?” is a question a lot of us are asking ourselves these days.
The most common symptoms of the virus are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
Although a runny nose and sneezing aren’t symptoms of the virus, headaches, body aches, sore throat and fatigue may occur.
How can I help protect myself?
- People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is considered more than a few minutes within 6 feet of a sick person or direct contact like kissing or sharing utensils.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Practice social distancing, avoiding crowded places or group events, or working from home if teleworking is an option for you.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is passed through coughing, sneezing, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, or touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without washing hands. In short, it is passed along like a cold or flu.
What should I do if I recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?
If you have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to 2 weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, trouble breathing), seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
I don’t have symptoms but am at higher risk for viral infection. What should I do to reduce my risk?
People over the age of 60, those who are pregnant, or on medications that weaken the immune system (such as chemotherapy or immunomodulators) are at higher risk of infection and complications of infection. If you fall into one of these categories, we recommend that you keep enough supplies at home to reduce unnecessary trips into public, avoid crowds, and avoid unnecessary travel. Especially if there is an active COVID-19 outbreak in your area, you should stay home as much as possible to minimize your risk of exposure.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.