Now that Coronavirus has reached pandemic proportions (according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading expert on Coronavirus), and that we’ve already established here yesterday that (while we need to take this new threat seriously) there’s no reason to panic, it’s time to be practical and figure out what we actually need to personally DO about this tiny (yet sometimes barbaric) virus. It’s actually pretty simple:
Keep the virus away from yourself and your loved ones:
- Stay calm and breathe on. Taking a few deep refreshing breaths and thinking about something positive (like someone you love or just a simple smile) will help you reduce stress and boost your immune system which is important for combating any virus. You can use a variety of other ways to keep your immune system healthy and now is a great time to start! Also,
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick (any kind of sickness — might as well!)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (yes, I know it’s tempting…)
- Avoid shaking hands (try the new cool leg-shakes — they’re all the rage).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a cleaning spray and/or wipes. Yes, your cell phone needs to be cleaned too. Americans check their phones every 12 minutes in average, and some studies show that it’s 7 times dirtier than…your toilet (!) Here are some ideas on how to clean it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and spread it thoroughly.) For inspiration, check out how the world is fully engaged in the handwashing party!
- Avoid sharing towels.
If you’re not feeling well, and it seems like coming down with a common cold, and its not too bad:
- Stay home when you are sick and get plenty of rest.
- Treat the cough and aches with over the counter medication.
- Use a humidifier and relax in steamy baths/showers.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash (or cough into your elbow or shoulder if you don’t have a tissue handy).
If you’re experiencing fever, coughing, and shortness of breath then:
first calm down and breathe again… You’re still much more likely to be experiencing the flu, or another condition that’s not COVID-19. And remember, even if you have contracted the virus, 80% of the time it would end up with some discomfort that will go away within a couple of weeks at most. It’s still a good idea to practice steps 1 and 2, however its also a good idea to seek medical advice, especially if you:
- feel quite ill, and are worried about it and/or
- if you’re also above 50, and/or
- if you also have a medical condition such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or lung disease, and/or
- You’ve also been in close proximity to someone who’s known to have COVID-19 or traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19
BUT WAIT, don’t rush to a clinic yet, first contact medical help remotely. You can call your own doctor or another one that you trust, or use a reliable Telehealth service for a video/voice/text consultation. Try to verify that the Telehealth service you chose provides special training for its doctors for handling cases of COVID-19.
Surprisingly, it’s not a good idea to physically go to an urgent care facility/emergency room/ or even a doctor’s office or a clinic. If you don’t have COVID-19, you’re at a higher risk for contracting the virus in these facilities. And if you do have it, and it’s mild, you may infect others, including healthcare professionals who are risking their lives every minute to keep us all healthy and treat us when we really need it.
If your doctor or a healthcare professional told you via a phone call or a Telehealth consultation that you need to get to a healthcare facility, or if you’re feeling that the symptoms are very serious and you must go — it’s a good idea to call the healthcare facility ahead of time and let them know you’re on your way and share with them how you’re feeling. They may have some specific instructions for you that would be very valuable to protect you, your loved ones, and everyone else. But remember, this is a low-likelihood scenario.
And most importantly, stay calm and breathe. Think about Coronavirus as an extra-charged tiny (yet sometimes barbaric) flu. It’s unpleasant, but there’s a lot that you can do to avoid it, and to take care of it if and when it hits. Most people who end up getting it would be just fine, and others will get good care by fabulous healthcare professionals who are there to help 24/7. And most importantly, this too shall pass!