CoronaVirus Safety Tips
March 14, 2020Blog
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
As I am writing this there are 1,629 cases of COVID-19 in the US and 41 have succumbed to the disease. As a necessary precaution schools have closed, hospitals are banning doctors from traveling and there aren’t enough tests available to test the potentially infected. The statistics alone are enough to make you ill. There is good news though. If you are young and healthy you may catch this coronavirus but it probably will not kill you. Many of the precautions put in place are in hopes of protecting our most vulnerable populations, sick and elderly, from contracting the disease. The travel deals are tempting but there is no trip worth a life. Here are a few tips for coronavirus safety whether you decide to travel or not.
1. Don’t be Afraid to Ask – If you are smart enough to heed advice and stay put do not assume everyone else was so inclined. It is perfectly appropriate to ask your employees, coworkers or school administrators if anyone in your office or children’s school has traveled. Although the greatest risk is for heavily impacted countries, the disease is now widespread so any travel can increase your risk. If the people around you choose to travel and have not opted to self quarantine ask for the option to work or study from home. Thankfully many universities are being proactive and sending students off campus proactively.
2. Wash Your Hands – I hate to beat a dead horse but wash your hands. I would more specifically advise, consider washing your hands not only when you go to the bathroom but after working at computers, touching your phone if you have not cleaned it and touching doorknobs. If you want to add some fun for the kids join the TikTok #Handwashchallenge.
3. Remove Your Shoes at the Door – This is common practice in some homes and not so much in others. There has never been a better time to avoid tracking “dirt” into your home than now. This is especially important if you have small children because we know how much they LOVE the 5 second rule.
4. No Bathroom Selfies – We all know bathroom selfies provide the BEST lighting but now is NOT the time. What is the point of washing your hands in the bathroom if you are bringing your phone into a contaminated area and then picking it up AFTER washing your hands. Now is a good time to leave your phone and handbag outside of the restroom with a friend.
5. Avoid large gatherings – I have gotten many invites to social events over Spring Break but I will have to live with FOMO this time around. In fact I saw a person celebrating coming from Seattle to attend one such event. Unfortunately, people who do not take this situation seriously will not avoid the fun. Is it really worth it?
6. Use Telemedicine – If you develop a fever , do not panic. It is FLU season. Step one, see a VIRTUAL physician. The virtual doctor will determine if you need to be tested and refer you to the nearest testing center. If your doctor does not offer telemedicine or if you do not have a doctor go to RoweDocs.
7. No handshakes or Hugs – The good news is there are plenty of other ways to show love. Many people have adopted the elbow bump over the fist pump. If you are naturally a “hugger” like me, this may be hard but duck and dodge if you must.
8. Stream the Service – With everything happening I am yearning for a good praise and worship session but I fear for the many elderly members of my congregation. If you are religious this is a good time to check out the service online. Like most forward thinking organizations churches are cancelling services, even Lakewood Church which averages about 52,000 attendees per week has cancelled their traditional service.
9. Eat at home – Unfortunately as we know many Americans do not have the luxury of paid time off. That person could be the chef in the kitchen or the waitress serving your meal. The fact of the matter is some may push through illness and work because it is the only way they can feed their family. I wish we had a better system but since we do not now, is a good time to break out the pots and pans and cook together. If you want to avoid the long lines for grocery stores Hello Fresh is a great option.
10. Prepare for the worst – I hope your family is spared but we never know who will be a victim of this unpredictable disease. If you contract coronavirus and you are not sick enough to be hospitalized you will probably have to ride it out at home. Instead of stocking up on toilet paper here are my recommendations for a viral survival kit:
· Thermometer – People assume if they are “warm” they have a fever. A fever is a temperature of 100.4 and above. If you see a doctor virtually having your temperature handy will be very helpful.
· Blood pressure cuff – Many viral illnesses can lead to dehydration and as a result low blood pressure. A blood pressure cuff will help you give your doctor an idea of your “hemodynamic status” or how much fluid is in your system.
· Motrin & Tylenol – You will not be able to cure a virus but you can treat the symptoms. One of the main symptoms is fever. You can alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 4 hours.
· Cough medicine – Over the counter cough medicines can be very effective. Most multi-symptom medications with a cough suppressant will have “DM” in the name.
· Vitamin Water – Loss of appetite is very common in viral illness but if you stay hydrated you will protect your kidneys and other vital organs. Vitamin water is best because you can replete your much needed electrolytes.
I believe we will come out of this pandemic stronger and better than ever but for now lets Be PREPARED, Be PRAYERFUL and Be POSITIVE.
Tisha Rowe MD MBA
Family Medicine Physician