Are you afraid to leave your house or interact with others during the Covid-19 outbreak? Dr. David Price, a critical care physician at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, shared his findings and thoughts on what precautionary steps should be taken during this time. He fielded questions from concerned people and shared what he has learned during his time dealing with patients who have Covid-19. He answered questions concerning how the virus spreads, what to do if you or a family member catches it, and how you can prevent catching it yourself.
To begin, Dr. Price explained how the virus is transmitted most. From his best understanding, the virus is almost entirely spread through direct physical contact, like shaking hands, with someone that has Covid-19 and then touching your face. While he said that this virus can be transmitted via air (airborne transmission), he noted that it would take roughly 15-30 minutes of standing within 1-2 feet of the infected person in a closed room with low ventilation. Additionally, he stated that there is reason to be cautious when touching things in public, such as elevator buttons or shopping cart handles. If a person were to cough on something that you touch, it could be transmitted as soon as you touch your face. If you are to encounter an infected object or you touch an infected person, what is the best course of action?
Throughout his phone call, Dr. Price stressed the importance of consistently washing your hands and using hand sanitizer whenever washing your hands isn't an option. He said to keep hand sanitizer on you at all times and use if immediately after touching something that others have touched. While there is good reason to be concerned about catching the virus, he clarified that Covid-19 is a weak virus and will die easily after washing your hands. The main concern that he has is that people are not training themselves to refrain from touching their faces regularly. He suggests that, if you must go out in public, that you wear some sort of non-surgical mask around your face, like a bandanna. This will help train you to keep from touching your face while also not keeping medical supplies from professionals who need it the most. However, even with the best of intentions, some people still catch this virus and spread it to their family members. What do you do if think you have Covid-19?
The first thing to do if you think you have COVID-19 is to self-quarantine. The next step to take is to check your symptoms and compare them to symptoms of COVID-19. The first symptom is typically high fever, followed by a feeling of tiredness and a dry cough. After the first few days, a symptom that may develop is difficulty breathing, but not in all cases. If you think that you meet the symptoms, get in contact with your health care provider immediately. In most current places, the best course of action is to call your doctor to schedule an appointment, however it is advised to go into a hospital if the symptoms are severe. It is important that you wear a mask when going in public places to avoid spreading the virus to others at the hospital. However, in most cases, COVID-19 will go away on its own given enough time in self-quarantine. The best thing to do is to make sure that you close yourself off in a room from everyone else in your house. After that, if possible, dedicate a bathroom that only you will use during your quarantine. Most people recover after the first 5-7 days of developing symptoms.
Let's review some of the steps to take to prevent catching COVID-19 and what to do if you catch it. When going out in public, make sure to have hand sanitizer ready for when you touch commonly touched objects. If you have a sink and soap available, make sure to wash your hands as frequently as possible. If you have touched something unfamiliar, refrain from touching your face until you can clean your hands. If you struggle with keeping yourself from touching your face, wear a bandana or something similar to teach yourself to stop touching your face. Additionally, if you begin to feel ill, check your symptoms and compare them to those of COVID-19: high fever, coughing, tiredness, and potentially shortness of breath. If you believe your symptoms match those of COVID-19, make sure to self-quarantine and call your health care provider for the best course of action. Make sure to limit your social circles as much as possible during this time and follow the instructions of your local governance for the best course of action in your area.
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