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As we become adjusted to what appears to be our “new normal” it is important for us to be aware of the symptoms of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. The COVID-19 virus spreads very easily from person to person and knowing the common symptoms will help to prevent and slow down transmission. The ability to actively monitor yourself and become aware of when to self-isolate or seek medical attention can literally save your life.
What is Coronavirus?
A large family of viruses that are highly infectious and are easily spread from person to person and transmitted through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.. Coronaviruses can attack you in different ways as it can be the cause of a common cold, sinus infection, or respiratory infection.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, also known as “Coronavirus Disease 2019”, is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified. COVID-19 can cause severe and acute upper respiratory illness and poses a great danger to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Because COVID-19 is so new, the data and information about it is constantly changing – we have to actively monitor the updates from the CDC (Center for Disease and Prevention) and World Health Organization to stay informed and proactive.
The Symptoms of COVID-19
The danger of COVID-19 is how it affects everyone differently – those infected can exhibit a range of symptoms, from no symptoms at all, to a mild cough and fever, all the way to respiratory failure or a stroke.
Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Other symptoms can include:
- Numbness of hands and feet
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
*** SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY, when:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
**. This is NOT an inclusive list, please contact a medical provider with any severe or concerning symptoms. **
Ways to Slow Down the Spread of COVID-19
WASH YOUR HANDS! Washing hands regularly is the best way to remove germs from hands, which helps to prevent the spread of germs from person to person. It is our first-line of defense against getting sick and helps to minimize your risk of infections because:
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it, which can make us sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or eat them, which can make people sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to from doorknobs, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
WEAR A FACE MASK! Remember when I said that viruses are highly infectious and are easily spread from person to person, transmitted through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes – well, a mask can provide a layer of protection against that.
- It is said that a single cough or sneeze can disperse more than 3,000 virus-filled droplets into the air.
- Once the droplets are out of our mouths, larger droplets quickly settle onto nearby surfaces while smaller ones remain in the air, which can infect a person up to three-hours later.
- Carriers of COVID-19 can sometimes be asymptomatic for up to 14 days, which can pose a risk to those around them, especially children, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.
- Wearing face masks might very well become a part of our everyday existence, now and in the future, with that being said, make sure you are covering your nose and mouth area with a mask, a scarf, a bandana – just about anything.
- If you are creating a DIY face mask, remember to add a coffee filter or non-allergenic air conditioning filter into your design to give you an added layer of protection.
PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING! Social distancing means keeping a safe distance or space between yourself and others. Again, many carriers of the COVID-19 virus are asymptomatic and can unknowingly transmit the disease. Staying at least 6-feet apart from others, especially when in public, can help to minimize exposure and slow the spread of the virus.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have established a few tips as it pertains to social distancing, they are:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others when shopping for food, medication , or other necessities.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask (cloth covering) when you are around others, especially out in public areas.
- Avoid non-essential travel and gatherings of any size outside your household, such as a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place.
- Work from home when possible.
- Limit the use of public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Avoid eating in public places, instead, opt for to-go options.
We can get through this together – it is important to be an active participant in the fight against COVID-19 by practicing good hygiene through frequent handwashing, making sure you are wearing your mask when out in public areas, and practicing social and physical distancing can help to slow the spread and keep us a little bit safer.
Resources: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; World Health Organization; Johns Hopkins Medicine; Harvard Medical School; BBC
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Candice A. Lawrence