With new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) being reported daily, many of our patients have expressed concerns about how the virus might affect them. We spoke to our medical team to get you trusted answers.
Preventative measures: how to avoid getting sick and/or prevent the virus from spreading
- Self-isolate: If you’re sick—or feel like you’re getting sick—stay home. If you have a sick partner or child, consider avoiding crowds—especially when there’s a chance of potentially exposing people with chronic conditions—since you might be carrying the virus, even if you don’t yet know it.
- Wash your hands: Any time you touch a hard surface in public, be it a door handle, cabinet, faucet, etc., wash your hands. It’s important to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday two times). If you can’t use soap and water, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is also effective.
- Cover your cough: Sneeze or cough into a tissue, and discard it right away. Or, you can sneeze or cough into your bent elbow.
- Use tissues: Because hard surfaces harbor the virus, it’s a good idea to use a tissue or cleansing wipe so that you have a barrier when touching hard surfaces in public.
Fact vs. Fiction: what you need to know
- Medical masks: If you’re not sick, medical masks aren’t protective. Coronavirus isn’t spread through the air—the virus spreads via big droplets that fall on a surface. When someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, they become exposed to the virus.
- Recirculated air doesn’t put you at risk: If you’re on an airplane, breathing recirculated air doesn’t put you at risk because the virus isn’t transmitted by air. You’re at risk if a passenger on the plane is sick and coughs or sneezes, spreading infectious particles. That’s why you should sanitize hard surfaces, such as the seat belt, tray table, or arm rest, or use a tissue as a protective barrier when touching these areas.
If you’re around someone who is coughing and sneezing, keep at least a 6 feet distance. This minimizes the chance of large droplets being transmitted.
If you’re looking for more information about symptoms, travel advisories, or populations at risk, we recommend visiting the Centers for Disease Control. Lastly, help prevent the spread of the virus by sharing this information with friends and family!
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