The coronavirus, COVID-19, is not expected to disappear soon and there will be community-related spread. The outbreak toll has sown fear and worry – all of which can inflate the reality of risk and paralyze people with ruminating “what if” thoughts. Words like outbreak, crisis, epidemic, community spread –along with constant news – all contributes to worries and can cause people’s emotions to run all over the place.
I’m not trying to minimize concerns, but it’s important to take a step back and keep perspective. Stay aware, informed, and proactive with credible information while taking preparedness precautions and measures to avoid the coronavirus, influenza and other illnesses. There are a number of actions you can take to protect yourself and your family.
As an acute care physician, we know that effective preparation requires real expertise. And in the US, we have that working for us!
- The U.S. is a world leader in concerns of public health – with outstanding, skilled experts making strategic, aggressive actions for your safety and wellbeing.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – along with the extensive network of U.S. public health agencies, integrated health teams–locally, national and internationally–are taking firm measures to protect the U.S. public health.
Moment-by-moment this skilled network closely monitors the outbreak and takes aggressive action for your protection, at home and abroad– providing updates and communications along with needed actions to contain, take care of patients and our healthcare workers. The U.S.
- Has taken the swiftest, most aggressive actions by any country to confront the coronavirus (experts agree the initial travel restrictions by US saved lives).
- Is the #1 travel destination in the world, yet we have far fewer cases of the disease than even countries with much less travel or a much smaller population
- Has vaccine development underway and enough diagnostic kits to test 75,000 people, with more on the way
Though the virus can be deadly, the vast majority of those infected so far have only mild symptoms and are expected to make full recoveries. Cases show there is greater vulnerability to those with underlying health conditions.
From the earliest stages we have been warned by the CDC this coronavirus, COVID-19, would be in the U.S. with warnings to remain alert and be prepared. Are you?
As a medical physician, I am urging everyone to:
- Pay Attention to credible sources
- Up-to-date information is and will be available on www.cdc.gov. This agency works to protect our nation’s health security. It also provides guidance on prevention and preparation you can take, that is science-based.
- Steer clear of misinformation/myths/conspiracy theories on social networks—they only serve to inflate your understanding of risk and do little to prepare you or take preventative measures
- Stay informed and respect warnings about travel, events, and gatherings.
- Schools and companies should issue communications
- Be Vigilant: exercise the same preventive measures used to avoid influenza and other illnesses – it works!!
- Wash your hands, often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay home if you are sick – particularly if experiencing a fever or flu symptoms. Sharing is not caring when it comes to germs.
- Take Measures: Keep healthy
- Exercise, eat a nutritious diet, get quality and appropriate quantity of sleep, stay hydrated, take proactive measure to manage stress (including worries and fear over coronavirus) and do everything you can to stay healthy right now.
- Family plan – talk through these proactive, practical actions
- Concerned about your health or any symptoms? See your healthcare provider.
- Be Prepared:
- Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines
- Have essential household items on hand
- Have a plan/support system in place for elderly family members
Too, the CDC has announced that “Social Distancing Measures” may be utilized by schools, workplaces and other gatherings which can reduce virus transmission by decreasing the frequency and duration of social contact among persons of all ages. What community spread looks like in the United States will vary greatly, by time, place, and community by community. Harness anxious thoughts about COVID-19 and re-direct them into action—stay informed, be prepared, and take preventative steps.
Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures.
She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.