The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that is contagious and can spread from person to person, like the flu and other respiratory viruses. If you traveled to a high-risk area or have been in close contact with an infected person, you may be at risk of getting the COVID-19 virus. The infection is most dangerous for many of the same people who are at risk for serious illness from the flu: older adults and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and diabetes.
P3 always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Practice social distancing by keeping six feet of distance between you and others whenever possible.
- Avoiding large crowds and gatherings (10+ people).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Fortunately, the majority of people infected with the COVID-19 virus have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Like the flu, very few people will suffer serious harm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
When to See a Primary Care Provider
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
- Take the CDC’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Checker test.
- Call your primary care provider – they can help you decide if you need to be seen or tested. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with people. Delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wear a facemask if necessary.
- Avoid handshakes. Instead, use your smile and make good eye contact.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid going to the ER/hospital unless you are seriously ill.
Managing your Symptoms
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, here’s some thing you can do to help manage your symptoms.
- Drink plenty of liquids. Choose water, tea and warm soup to prevent dehydration.
- Make sure you eat some protein – they are the building blocks of helping your body heal.
- Get more sleep to help your immune system fight infection.
- Supportive treatment at home with over the counter cold and flu medication and Mucinex to decrease mucous/congestion.
- If you have a fever or body aches, use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
- If you did not get your flu shot, see your local pharmacy it is not too late. Protecting yourself from the flu will help to boost your immune system.
- Ask your primary care provider or pharmacist for additional over the counter treatments and symptom management.
- Avoid Emergency Room exposure to other sick individuals unless you have a life-threatening emergency.