I don’t know about you but, it’s been pretty crazy the past few weeks regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Scary things on the news, social media, just about everywhere you look there’s some new update regarding new cases of infections and even deaths. I thought I would provide the general 411 on COVID-19.
It’s truly a difficult time for our society. I’ve been really encouraged by the actions of some influencers on social media. They are sharing information to raise awareness, positive thinking, and encouragement. I thought I would do the same with this platform that I’ve been given. So what’s the 411 on COVID-19?
I feel like there’s a lot of information out there for COVID-19.
What is it?
Where did it come from?
It’s hard to sift through the information especially when you type “coronavirus” on google, just about everything comes up.
So I did the heavy lifting for you. I read through credible articles and got the general 411 on COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
According to Health Canada, the COVID-19 is from a family of viruses called Coronavirus. These coronaviruses can cause illness in people and animals. Human coronaviruses are common and cause mild sickness similar to that of the common cold.
COVID-19 is a new disease. It has not been previously identified to cause sickness in humans but more commonly in animals. It is very rare for animal coronaviruses to infect and cause sickness in humans.
There have been 2 other specific coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans and have caused severe illness in people
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (also known as SARS CoV)
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (also known as MERS CoV)
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is still relatively new and new information is being discovered about its symptoms, transmission, and severity. To date, there are 2 main ways of transmission.
COVID-19 is spread primarily person-to-person. When people are in close contact (within approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) with another.
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when one coughs or sneezes. This is similar to what comes from aerosols sprays. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of those nearby or be inhaled into the lungs (as per the CDC website).
People are most contagious when they are most symptomatic. The spread of the COVID-19 can occur before symptoms are visible but it is not found to be the main way of transmission.
2. Contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus. This is why it’s so important to avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer whenever washing your hands is not possible.
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and can be transferred even if symptoms are not visible, though this is still under investigation (as per the CDC website).
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms are minor in many of those infected such as young adults, children, and adults between 30 – 50 years of age, most making a full recovery (as per canada.ca).
Those most at risk are older adults and people with compromised immune systems and other underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease (as per the CDC website).
Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear after exposure.
Common symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
Protecting yourself and other
There are some simple ways you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Remember that COVID-19 is a new disease and many people do not have immunity as this is the first exposure. Prevention is key.
- practice social distancing (avoid large group gatherings and maintain a distance of 2 meters from others)
- stay home if you can, only leave the house when necessary
- wash your hands with soap often and thoroughly (lather 30 seconds with soap or sing happy birthday twice)
- use hand sanitizer whenever it is available or you’re unable to wash your hands
- cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash hands or sanitize right away
- avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unclean hands
- drink lots of water
- maintain good hygiene practices
- clean and disinfect common areas of touch (like steering wheels, doorknobs, cellphones, computers etc.)
If you are at home with kids and need some ideas on how to keep them busy read my post: 7 activities you can do at home with your kiddos.
Diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infections
Keep in mind that only health care professionals can diagnose COVID-19 infections through visible symptoms and confirm them via laboratory testing.
Be diligent friends, there is a lot of fraud out there, people selling COVID-19 testing kits. Again, only health care professionals can diagnose COVID-19 and confirm diagnoses through laboratory testing.
If you feel like you have symptoms, do the following:
- isolate yourself for a minimum 14 days (this prevents spread to others, especially those who are most vulnerable and at higher risk of death from COVID-19)
- drink plenty of water, take cold and fever medication to help with the symptoms
- be familiar with the symptoms and know when to seek medical attention
- if you’re having difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away
Do not do the following:
- gather in large groups
- touch your mouth, nose, and eyes with unclean hands
- do not go to the hospital, unless you’re having difficulty breathing (if you do not have COVID-19 you are possibly exposing yourself to those who do or raising the risk of infection to those who are at greater risk)
These are general dos and don’t. If you’re ever unsure, consult a medical professional.
Reducing the stigma
There has been a lot of stigma surrounding COVID-19. There has been a lot of stigma and discrimination towards specific groups such as:
- people of Asian descent
- people who have traveled
- even towards emergency responders and medical professionals
Stigma creates unnecessary fear and anger towards others that can result in violence, damage to the emotional and mental health of stigmatized groups and more.
Anyone and everyone are at risk of COVID-19. The virus does not target specific age groups, ethnic groups or races, regardless of where the virus is most prevalent or where it originated.
Let’s be kind especially during this trying time. This is not the first disease to create a health pandemic and will certainly not be the last.
Check out this article providing a comparison of COVID-19 to other past health outbreaks. I felt it provided a good perspective.
Also, check out the WHO webpage for more information as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
If you want accurate updates on the COVID-19, click here but don’t lose yourself in the news and these kinds of websites. It can only serve to increase your anxiety and those around you. Keep in mind the dos and don’ts and focus on keeping yourself and others as safe as possible. Prevention is key.