Hello! During this time of crisis, I found myself confused about all of the words being tossed around in the news, social media, and even by our local health department. I have created a quick guide for “the rest of us.”
What is Coronavirus?
What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is the disease or illness caused by Coronavirus. COVID-19 is shorthand for COronaVIrus Disease of 2019. A “novel” coronavirus means that it is a new coronavirus that has not been seen in the past. It was first found at the end of 2019.
Why is this different from the flu?
Scientists have studied influenza, otherwise known as the flu, for a long time. We know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect, but very little is known about the new coronavirus and what it causes because it is so new. We know that it spreads more easily from person to person and is more dangerous than the flu.
What does it feel like if you have the Coronavirus?
• Dry, ongoing cough
• Fever- usually over 100.0
• A lot more tired than normal
• Difficulty breathing
• Some people may not feel bad at all
How does the Coronavirus Spread?
When you cough or sneeze, droplets containing the virus can land in the mouth or nose of another person. The virus can also be spread by touching an infected surface with your hand, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. People with the virus can spread it before symptoms appear. We think people are most contagious when they feel sick.
What does shedding the virus mean?
People who have the coronavirus can “shed,” (drop or scatter) the virus most heavily in the first few days of the illness. Shedding may happen before feeling sick or it can continue. People “shed” the virus on door handles, phones, and other objects they touch or breath on everyday. You “shed” the virus through coughing, sneezing, and even breathing.
Shedding the virus is the same as your pet shedding their hair. When your animal sheds, their hair lands on different surfaces. People who are sick, shed the virus on surfaces without knowing. This is an example and the virus is NOT in your pet’s hair.
What does it mean to be Asymptomatic (no symptoms)?
Asymptomatic means that you feel normal and you do not feel sick at all. Some people can feel normal and have the virus and then spread it to others.
What is social distancing and why does this matter?
Social distancing helps communities slow down the spread of disease that can pass from person to person. Keeping your distance makes it less likely to get the virus that is shed from others.
Who should self-isolate?
• If you’re sick
If you have been around a sick person
• If you are at high-risk of getting sic ( older than 60, or otherwise unwell)
What does self-isolate mean?
Self-isolating means not going to work, school, or public areas during this time. You should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. You should leave the house for emergencies only. Be sure to ask friends or family to help with things you need to limit your travels.
What are first responders?
A first responder is a person with training who is the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency. This includes Firefighters, Police Officers, EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technician), Paramedics and other trained volunteers.
What is PPE?
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment, this includes anything you wear to protect yourself like gloves or a mask. It is not recommended that the general public wear these items to protect themselves. The best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid being exposed to this virus. It is always important to remember to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and keep your distance from others to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
What can I do to stay healthy and slow the spread of the Coronavirus?
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, using the restroom, and before eating or preparing food. If you do not have access to soap and water, you may use hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. This is how the virus enters your body.
• Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
• Stay home if you are sick.
Do I need to be tested for Coronavirus?
Right now tests are not available for everyone. To find out more visit our website fwhealth.org or call the health department at (765)762-3035.