Mind & Body
How Prepared are we for COVID-19?
4/1/2020 1:00:00 PM
Are We Prepared?

The number of reported cases and deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. is staggering. As you likely have heard, we currently don’t have a vaccine or an established treatment option for COVID-19.


It is important for each person to be educated about how to protect themselves from COVID-19. If someone has traveled outside the country or thinks they’ve been exposed to someone who might have COVID-19, they should notify their clinic before going in. Prior notification minimizes the transmission risk. This way the person can arrange for testing and then seek medical attention.


What is the most trusted source for information?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the primary source of medical information in the U.S., particularly as it relates to communicable diseases and epidemics. The CDC also works closely with the World Health Organization to track cases and persons of interest. The White House is informed by the CDC and Health and Human Services (HHS).


Any advice for those who are most at-risk?

Because the epidemic is not yet controlled, people are recommended not to travel to areas where there are high concentrations of the infection. If you do not need to be in crowded areas, avoid them. Caution is especially advised for older adults or people who are at risk from conditions such as lung issues, asthma, cancer, diabetes, or HIV, or from medications that suppress the immune system.


For general anxiety and fear

The current information suggests that, for approximately 80% of infected people, the infection behaves much like the flu with mild symptoms and complete resolution. It may also be an infection that develops seasonality with waxes and wanes. We still do not know.


How long will a vaccine take to be made and to be effective?

Despite rapid vaccination methodologies that are being tested, current estimates are that a vaccine may not be available until later this year or even next year.


How to spot COVID-19?

It can be quite difficult as many who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms. Symptoms could be similar to the common cold or quite severe (severe cough, difficulties breathing, shortness of breath).


How could COVID-19 be spread at work?

Like with other communicable airborne illnesses, COVID-19 is spread from coughing, sneezing, or talking as the virus travels through respiratory droplets. Current data suggests that the virus can also survive on surfaces for several hours, if not days. What should you do if you’re sick?

Stay home! You could have the common flu or COVID-19. Either way, self-isolation and social distancing help slow down and decrease the rate of transmission in the community. At the time of this writing, Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a Stay at Home order, which further protects Louisiana citizens.


What to do if you think you have it?

If you think you have COVID-19, contact your doctor or clinic warning them that you might have it, which would allow them to prepare for your visit. 

 

How to treat someone with COVID-19?

Currently, for healthy, young people, treatment is generally supportive therapies and antivirals, though it is unclear whether any treatment is truly effective. Severe cases, especially in middle age groups and older, may require hospitalization. 


What can parents do to protect their children?

As with adults, children should practice good handwashing hygiene: wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use antibacterial gel that has at least 60% alcohol. Avoid playdates with large groups of children or with children who might have a parent or sibling who is experiencing symptoms.

Because COVID-19 is particularly dangerous to anyone who is immunocompromised, parents should keep up with their children’s vaccination schedule as any condition or illness that could make the child sick could lower the child’s immune system and ability to fight off other infections. Do what you can to keep children healthy overall.

 

What if you’re traveling?

Buy travel insurance to cover yourself if you have trips planned.

Check the CDC site for current Travel Alerts.


Bottom line, everyone needs to take this virus seriously and practice precautions. Diligently wash hands well and often. Contain cough and sneezes. Avoid gatherings. Stay home if you experience mild, non-life-threatening symptoms and even if you are well, increase the odds of staying well by employing self-quarantine and social distancing.


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