As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, preventing further spread of the disease remains a top priority. Even as vaccines are distributed, prevention will continue to be an important aspect of containing the novel coronavirus. We’ve rounded up the best tips and resources for coronavirus prevention, from the most actionable steps you can take right now to what factors are considered high risk.
How is coronavirus spread?
Understanding how coronavirus is spread is crucial to understanding how to prevent contracting coronavirus. Coronavirus is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets produced from breathing, coughing, sneezing, talking, or singing. These droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or absorbed through mucous membranes.
Coronavirus has a long incubation period, so an infected person may not develop symptoms or realize they have coronavirus for several days. Some infected people don’t experience any symptoms at all, but can still spread the coronavirus to others.
How to prevent coronavirus
The top 3 actions you can take on a daily basis to reduce your chance of contracting coronavirus include wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing whenever you leave home.
Wear a mask
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth helps prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Masks also help protect you from inhaling the respiratory droplets of those around you. The CDC recommends everyone above the age of 2 wear a mask when in public settings or around people who do not live in their household.
The best masks for preventing coronavirus are the following:
- Non-medical disposable masks
- Masks that fit snugly, with no large gaps around the sides of the face
- Masks made of breathable fabrics (like cotton and cotton blends)
- Masks made with tightly woven fabrics (those that don’t let light pass through them when held up to a light source)
- Masks with 2 or 3 layers
- Masks with inner filter pockets
According to the CDC, “It is especially important to wear a mask when you are indoors with people you do not live with and when you are unable to stay at least 6 feet apart since COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another.”
Wash your hands
Washing your hands is always an effective way to prevent the spread of germs. It is especially important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds at a time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The best times to wash your hands include before and after:
- Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Touching your mask
- Entering and leaving a public place
- Touching an item or surface that is frequently touched by other people, including door handles, tables, shopping carts, gas pumps, screens, or electronic cash registers
If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Practice social distancing
Social distancing, also known as physical distancing, is the act of keeping 6 feet of space (2 arms’ length) between you and people who do not live in your household. Social distancing is helpful in preventing coronavirus since the virus spreads among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period of time. Keeping 6 feet of space between you and people who don’t live in your household reduces the chance of you coming into contact with or inhaling the respiratory droplets of others. It is especially important for people with a higher risk of experiencing severe illness from coronavirus to practice social distancing.
Who is considered high risk?
According to the CDC, people considered to be at high risk for severe illness are:
- Older adults (the older you are, the more likely you are to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19)
- Those with the following conditions
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Smoking Type
- 2 diabetes mellitus
People report experiencing a broad range of symptoms when they contract COVID-19. Since coronavirus has a long incubation period, symptoms may appear after 2 to 14 days after contracting the virus. According to the CDC, common COVID-19 symptoms are:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Seek emergency medical attention if you experience:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Some of the most common long-term effects of the coronavirus include:
- Fatigue Shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- Chest pain
Less common but more serious long-term effects related to different organ systems have also been reported:
- Cardiovascular: Inflammation of the heart muscle
- Respiratory: Lung function abnormalities
- Renal: Acute kidney injury
- Dermatologic: Skin rash, hair loss
- Neurological: Smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems
- Psychiatric: Depression, anxiety, changes in mood
If you start experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to coronavirus, get tested. Testing sites are located throughout the United States, so you should be able to find one near you.
If you test positive for coronavirus
Stay home except to get medical care. Take care of yourself by resting, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen to help you feel better faster. Monitor your symptoms, separate yourself from other people, and inform your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. If you have to be around other people, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
Content retrieved from: https://blog.healthkarma.org/tips-for-preventing-coronavirus.