COVID-19: What is it? What should I do?

Good Afternoon,

I hope all is well. Today, I just wanted to share some facts about COVID-19 (commonly known as coronavirus). I want to do a better job of sharing health tips and facts on here. COVID-19 is still new; scientists and medical professionals are still trying to figure it out. I encourage you all to take time to research on credible sites like CDC, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and research for articles on Google Scholar to learn more about the disease for yourself. I also like NPR as a news source.

I first want to encourage us all to pray together and for each other. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but He has given us wisdom. Therefore, I believe we should continue to protect ourselves and others while seeking God for guidance and praying for our family and our world. Daily, I have been reading out loud Psalms 91(posted below); it is my protection prayer.

Disclaimer, I suggest you all do your own research. I have compiled all this information from trusted sites and my medical judgment. Even though I am a health care provider, I suggest you direct any particular medical questions to your own medical provider, who knows your medical history. Some people may not be able to follow all of these guidelines or may need more guidance. Also, information on the disease is continuously evolving; this information may quickly become outdated, so always check to verify. I will also say that even though I have medical knowledge, I am not an infectious disease specialist. So, I do not know in-depth knowledge about the disease processes, but if you have any general questions, please feel free to post them below. If you see something that you consider is incorrect please feel free to let me know, we are all subject to mistakes.

COVID-19 Quick Facts

  • Anyone can get it (even though some are at a higher risk of severe complications)
  • The disease can be spread before you have symptoms
  • Wash your hands frequently, if you cannot, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Maintain social distancing with at least 6 feet between you and others
  • Wear a cloth face mask or something tightly knit (t-shirt, scarf, bandana) covering your nose and mouth when out in public to help prevent the spread of the disease
  • Stay at home unless you have to work, get food or medicines, or exercise 

What is COVID-19? It is a new type of coronavirus. I say type because there are several kinds of coronaviruses. Some can lead to diseases like the common cold or SARS. This is why you may see several cleaning disinfectants stating they can kill the human coronavirus. This particular virus was considered animal-human transmission initially, but it is now human-human transmission. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554776/

How is it spread? Currently, It can be spread from human to human by respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing). Also, if someone coughs or sneezes in their hands and touches an item, it can be left on the surface. It can last for days on certain surfaces. The route of transmission is still being studied so look out for advances in this area.

What are the symptoms?  It can begin with signs of an upper respiratory infection (mild fever, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, headaches, body aches, and feeling tired or sick). Shortness of breath is also a symptom that can mean the disease has become more serious. There were some cases of nausea and diarrhea presenting before the other symptoms; however, it hasn’t been entirely determined if that is a consistent finding.

Who can get the disease? EVERYONE is at risk for getting this disease, and EVERYONE can have severe complications that can lead to pneumonia, which increases your risk for death. This is serious, and no one is immune. However, people 65 and older, those living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and those with pre-existing diseases (listed below) have the highest risk of having major complications. They are at a higher risk because their immune systems are already weak, and their organs are already in overdrive trying to manage their current medical disease.

High Risk: diabetes, asthma, other respiratory diseases, hypertension or heart disease, severe obesity, chronic kidney disease/dialysis, liver disease, and the immunocompromised (cancer patients, smokers, immune deficiencies, poorly control HIV/AIDS, prolonged use of corticosteroids or other medicines that weaken the immune system). If you are currently diagnosed with high-risk disease,  give your immune system the best chance. Make sure you are taking a daily multivitamin, vitamin c (in vitamin c supplements, Emergen-C, elderberry, etc. ), vitamin D,  Zinc supplements, drink plenty of fluids, eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables,  stay physically active, getting plenty of sleep 7 to 8 hours for adults, and take your medications as directed by your doctor. (some professionals are recommending discontinuation of some these supplements in the presence of the disease or symptoms, read Integrative article below).

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html

  Integrative Considerations during the COVID 3.18.20 (1)

What to do if I think I have COVID-19? Immediately cover your mouth and nose with a mask or some form of 100% cotton, if available, or a bandana, scarf, or t-shirt. If you are not having serious complications, go to a drive-in testing center to get tested. Also, immediately quarantine, do not wait for test results to stop your current schedule. You should also notify others that you have been in contact with so they can begin taking precautions. If you are having serious complications, especially shortness of breath you need to get immediate help by going to an ER or consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best plan.

Is there a cure? Currently, there is not a cure or vaccine for COVID19, but research is being conducted.  Why is it taking so long? It takes time to determine if a certain method will work for different types of people and the side effects. The urgency behind the virus has sped up the process of studying COVID19, but research studies typically take a considerable amount of time to complete. Then in the case of vaccines, they have to be produced and given out. This is why you may have heard reports saying vaccines will not be available until a year from now.

Medicine/Supplement rumors? There have been several medical professionals that have posted that some medications (Ibuprofen, elderberry, etc. ) are not safe when you have been diagnosed or have symptoms of COVID. A lot of these assumptions have not been thoroughly researched via COVID19 specific studies. These theories are coming from their experiences which could be impacted by processes not seen. Long story short, unless stopping any of the controversial supplements or medications will lead to more harm for you, then do not take them. Tylenol is typically a first-line for fevers unless you are allergic to Tylenol or have other reasons to not take Tylenol, continue with your doctor’s recommendations. There are also other supplements besides elderberry. Always consult your doctor about the best choices. If you are diagnosed with COVID19 or if you have symptoms, consult your health care provider on the best methods for treatment. Make sure they are aware of any supplements or medications you have been taking.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19

Integrative Considerations during the COVID 3.18.20 (1) https://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/COVID19/FAQ.html

Here is a list of medications that the FDA claim have made fraudulent statements about their medicine and COVID 19. A fraudulent claim means they have not had extensive research to support their claim. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/health-fraud-scams/fraudulent-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-products

What can I do to prevent getting the disease? Stay at least 6 feet from other people and wash your hand frequently and properly (check handwashing facts below). You do this especially after you touch surfaces, before and after preparing food, and before eating. Also, stay at home as much as possible. Prepare a grocery and shopping list before leaving home so you will not forget anything (preferably on paper so you can throw it away and not have to touch your phone a lot). Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth when shopping. If you have anybody in your family who is older or has other chronic illness, try to shop for them and leave their packages at the door, if possible, or wear a cloth mask if you need to go inside. You should wipe down your carts before you use them. Also, make sure you are carrying sanitizing wipes in case stores do not have them. Wipe down surfaces at your home, especially when coming in from work or other places. Also, avoid large gatherings. I know it is tempting to have house parties and cookouts with your family. But the disease does not care if it is your family or not. They could have gotten it from touching a gas pump or store surface before coming to see you. I do advocate for getting fresh air and outdoor time with your family inside of your home but, it is important to follow the social distancing guidelines. The disease can be spread before symptoms exist. Maintain your overall health, eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and stay physically active. Read this article by the Integrative Medicine group at The University of  Arizona for more details on supplements.

https://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/COVID19/FAQ.html  Integrative Considerations during the COVID 3.18.20 (1)

What can I do to prevent the spread? Wash your hands (check facts below), use a hand sanitizer that is made of at least 60% alcohol. Wear a cloth face mask. It is suggested you wear a cloth face mask to help to prevent the spread of the disease because your cough will be covered. With the rise in cases, many people may have COVID-19 without symptoms and spread the disease. The cloth and surgical masks will not necessarily prevent you from getting the disease. Also, the surgical and N95 masks need to be reserved for those health care providers who cannot be 6 feet away from those with the disease. Also, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow, even if you are using a mask. If you cough in your hands, immediately use hand sanitizer.

How do I properly wash my hands? You should wash your hands for at least 20 secs, and you can sing the Happy Birthday song twice to make sure you are washing long enough (or google other songs for handwashing or making your own at  https://washyourlyrics.com/ ) .You can use ANY soap, and it does not have to be antibacterial (research has shown they both have the same effectiveness). The friction along with the soap and water is what helps wash away the germs. Here is a cool video explaining the proper way to wash your hands. AB’s Hand Washing Demo: No Cleaver!https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html

Do I need to wear gloves while shopping? No, there is no suggestion to wear gloves when shopping. Why? Well, most people are using gloves to shop, and they are not taking them off to unpack their groceries or drive. If you’re wearing gloves, you are most likely not washing or sanitizing your hands. You are more likely to touch your face or become too lax in your social distancing because of the possible protection from the gloves. I carry hand sanitizer and do not wear any gloves. However, if you are caring for someone who is sick, wear gloves, especially when picking up soiled items, and make sure you change them frequently.

Do I need to wash my groceries or packages.? I would suggest washing any open fruits and vegetables. Currently, there is no research stating the virus can stay on those items for long, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. As far as mail and packages, there are no clear answers on whether the virus can be detected or last for long on the packages. If you are concerned, lightly spray them with Lysol or other disinfectant sprays, if possible. Here are some additional tips for safe grocery shopping https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/04/03/safe-go-grocery-store-shopping-tips-amid-coronavirus/5103977002/

What can I do to help? Stay at home as much as you can or as your state or local government has mandated. Only go out for essentials. Respect elder or immunocompromised only hours at some stores, which are usually early in the morning around 7 am. Wear a cloth mask. Cover your cough and sneeze. Try to go to stores during non-peak ours, avoid lunchtime because those who are still working may go on their lunch break if stores close before they can get off. Look for areas in your community where you can volunteer with making lunches for families who cannot afford to feed their children or elders since schools and adult daycares are closed. You can put together survival packs for the homeless. You can also make cloth masks to donate (instructions below). Also, educate those around you about the disease.

Financial Resources

https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vQcTrH1ggK56zFVy4FNPfLR9IeLxSS2efga_tpt-zDZV78OnrYvgAATNzulotQa4Ziey0ZNLC7xuOBG/pub

 

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you

    from the fowler’s snare

    and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

    and under his wings you will find refuge;

    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,

    nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

    ten thousand at your right hand,

    but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes

    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”

    and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,

    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;

    I will be with him in trouble,

    I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him

    and show him my salvation.”

Love,

Resources

What is COVID 19, and what to do?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Ftransmission.html

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/jmv.25681

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center

Symptoms

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

Handwashing or Hand Sanitizing to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Face Masks

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/03/826996154/coronavirus-faqs-is-a-homemade-mask-effective-and-whats-the-best-way-to-wear-one

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/_documents/INF2003076_VW_Hand-Sewn%20Mask%20instructions-1.pdf

https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/content/dam/internet/kp/comms/import/uploads/2020/03/02_COVID_Mask-Instructions_v9.pdf

How to Make a Cloth Face Mask | Kaiser Permanente

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html

Posted by

Family Nurse Practitioner pursuing a life of research and education by earning my PhD in Nursing. Alabama born and raised. UAB Alum. UAB Grad Student.

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