This is a virus from a group of viruses called coronavirus, some of which can infect humans, some of which only tend to infect animals. It is a virus from the same family as the SARS virus. There have been only 7 coronaviruses that infect humans, but there are hundreds in the animal world.
This particular form has recently gone from only infecting animals to now infecting humans. We don’t know yet for sure which animal is the source, but snakes, are being considered. Human to human transmission has occurred as healthcare workers caring for the ill have contracted the illness. This is why it is a potential public health threat and is being taken so seriously. We are learning more but still know very little about it at this time. So far, around six hundred have been infected and reports of 18 deaths. The majority of those who have died have been elderly or suffering from chronic illness. The 1st case has been reported in the US in a man who traveled from Wuhan in China, to Washington.
The important pieces we don’t yet know:
– How quickly does the coronavirus spread from person to person?
– How severe is the illness it creates?
– Do we have treatment or a vaccine for prevention?
These questions are being actively investigated, hoping to have these answers in the upcoming days/weeks as the situation evolves.
In the meantime, what can you do to help prevent the coronavirus or any respiratory illness?
- Wash your hands! 20 seconds with soap and water. Don’t like to count to 20? Sing happy birthday to yourself twice! If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face: mouth, eyes and nose
- Avoid those who are sick. Easier said than done. If you are sick STAY home, or wear a face mask when around others.
- Cover your cough, cough into the crook of your elbow or use a tissue. A fist is not effective and using your hands can spread germs if you aren’t washing after each and every cough.
- Though there is no official recommendation from the CDC regarding masks at this point, you can wear one if you are concerned during travel. I also tend to use sanitizing wipes for my surroundings as a precaution.
Check out my segment on @khonnews and stay up to date on the latest via the CDC and WHO.
The situation has rapidly evolved over the past month and concern is growing as COVID-19 appears to be spreading quickly and is now in the US. We are likely to be affected by COVID-19 and it is imperative to PLAN/PREPARE but not to PANIC. Panic does not help in any situation. Informed preparation is of utmost importance.
Stick to reliable sources- WHO, CDC.
Some important points:
Social Distancing: important even for those who are deemed low risk to help prevent the spread.
We need to help to protect our Elderly and at Risk, how do we do this?
Greetings with shakas instead of handshakes
Help out our elderly and at-risk by getting their groceries and supplies, medications so they do not need to leave their home.
Avoid those who are ill/sick, keep away/wear masks if you must be around others.
Avoid large gatherings, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
As the number of cases is growing exponentially, those who are at highest risk should be staying home as much as possible.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Essentials for Quarantine:
Obtain a 30 day supply of all medications, speak to your doctor about this (don’t forget syringes and supplies)
Hold on to OTC pain/fever relief, cough/cold medications so you don’t need to leave
First aid kit
Hygiene products- soap, toilet paper, feminine products, diapers
*Reminder to care for your community, do not hoard supplies*
Dry and canned foods- rice, pasta, beans, tuna, tomatoes
Fluids with Electrolytes
Don’t forget to have a can opener on hand
Your PCP and closest hospital phone numbers
Identify a telehealth provider for issues, ie- www.WePrescribe.com
Keep copies of your health records, be sure your family knows where to access these.
Plan for Quarantine
Discuss plans with family, elderly and immunocompromised
Create plans in case schools/daycares close
Identify a room and bathroom in your home in case of quarantine, the person should be separated from the rest of the household
Be sure to have sanitizing wipes to disinfect surfaces frequently
Activities to avoid boredom and alleviate anxiety
When to request testing for COVID19
If unsure, call your PCP or use Telehealth www.WePrescribe.com if in Hawaii
You can be screened at www.WePrescribe.com
Known exposure to a COVID19 patient, cough AND fever
Recent travel to any level 3 country and elderly, at risk in your home
*Be sure to call before showing up to a physician office, urgent care or hospital to let them know your concern for COVID-19 so they take the appropriate precautions.*
Know the alarm symptoms:
Call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one develops:
Trouble breathing, worsening shortness of breath
Bluish discoloration of lips or fingertips
Let 9-1-1 know your concern for COVID-19
While the information on the Site was prepared to provide accurate information regarding topics related to general and specific health issues, the information contained in the Site is made available with the express understanding that neither Dr. Rupie or the other experts on the Site, nor the Site itself, nor members of the Site are dispensing medical advice and do not intend any of this information to be used for self diagnosis or treatment. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND BEFORE STARTING OR STOPPING ANY TREATMENT OR ACTING UPON INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THE SITE, YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR OWN PHYSICIAN OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.