What Is the Novel Coronavirus and How to Prevent Illness
As the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, it’s important that you stay up-to-date with the situation and know the precautions you can take to protect your health.
As a mobile physician, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist Dr. Deborah Boland of Be Mobile Neurology has strict sanitation practices in place to help maintain a clean and healthy living environment for her patients. For all patient visits, she thoroughly washes her hands before and after the visit with soap and water or uses hand sanitizer (if soap and water are unavailable). She cleans and disinfects all equipment between visits with the appropriate cleaning products. If Dr. Boland arrives for a visit and suspects that the patient may be sick, she uses a mask and gloves.
Dr. Boland also offers a telemedicine service to treat isolated or at-risk patients, helping to further prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus. Here is some information about COVID-19 and what you can do to avoid it:
What is a coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified, such as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms, such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. Typical symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Illness can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.
How is COVID-19 spread?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is primarily spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (i.e., the sickest) but can be contagious early in course of illness.
The CDC says that it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Who is at risk?
The elderly and adults with underlying health conditions are at increased risk for severe disease, which could lead to pneumonia. Seniors should strongly consider getting the pneumonia vaccine as soon as possible or speaking about it with their doctor.
How can you prevent illness?
Without a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus by following basic wellness practices:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- When you can’t wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Use disinfectant wipes to sanitize in public spaces, like grocery cart handles or door handles.
- Know the virus’ symptoms and tell your doctor if you are feeling sick.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Avoid large gatherings.
- Avoid travel to high risk locations.
- If you live in a residential facility, community housing, or assisted living center, avoid communal rooms and sanitize often.
How can I prepare?
In addition to practicing good health habits, make sure to check your medications and reorder any that are low. Write down all of your medication names and dosages, along with a list of all of your doctors.
Also, it’s important to know your community response plan.
Is there a treatment for coronavirus?
There currently is no specific medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.
What do I do if I feel sick?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, the CDC recommends you take the following steps:
- Contact your physician immediately
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a face mask if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
- Monitor your symptoms
If you have symptoms of illness and have a scheduled visit with Dr. Boland, please call the Be Mobile Neurology office to determine if a televisit is appropriate. If you have any questions about the steps you need to take to stay as healthy as possible during this pandemic, please contact Dr. Boland at (813) 981-4403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.