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Recommendations on preventing exposure to and dealing with coronavirus

 

March 16, 2020



Havre Daily News staff

Northern Montana Health Care, along with county health departments, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health care organizations are issuing recommendations to people on how to reduce the chance of contracting or spreading the novel coronavirus 2019, and recommendations on what people should do if they have symptoms of the disease.

The coronavirus section on the CDC website says reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19, cases.

The following symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure:

• Fever

• Cough

• Shortness of breath

People with the symptoms are urged to avoid close contact with others in their household and with pets while the household is self-isolated.

Northern Montana Health Care recommenced that people experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 treat their symptoms with Tylenol, Motrin and over-the-counter cold medicines, the NMHC release said.

As with any viral infection, people with COVID-19 are advised to get plenty of rest and stay well-hydrated, drinking plenty of fluids or eating broth-based soups like chicken noodle or vegetable soup.

People who are unable to manage their symptoms at home are advised to first contact health care professionals by telephone.

Local patients who believe they may need to be assessed by a health care professional are asked to report to the parking lot of the COVID-19 alternate clinic, on the east end of NMHC’s campus, at 124 13th Street and then to call 262-1570.

NMHC is asking the community at this time to use the Emergency Department at Northern Montana Hospital for life-threatening conditions only.

Avoid exposure

CDC reports no vaccine exists at this time to prevent COVID-19, and the best way to prevent illness to avoid being exposed to it.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet, and through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Hygeine

Standard hygiene also can reduce the risk of infection.

People should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after they have been in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, people should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of their hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

People should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

People should also avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between themselves and other people — more than 6 feet — if COVID-19 is spreading in their community.

This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting sick.

CDC reports older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. These people are advised to consult with their health care provider about additional steps they may be able to take to protect themselves.

Caring for selves

People who are experiencing symptoms should stay home except to get medical care, CDC reports.

People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. People should restrict activities outside their home, except for getting medical care.

They should avoid public areas — not go to work, school or public areas.

They should avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

People with symptoms also should separate themselves from other people and animals in their home

As much as possible, they should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home and should use a separate bathroom, if available.

People should should restrict contact with pets and other animals while they are sick with COVID-19, just like they would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

When possible, people should have another member of their household care for their animals while they are sick. People sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with their pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food.

People who must care for their pet or be around animals while they are sick should wash your hands before and after they interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#2019-nCoV-and-animals for more information.

Preventing the spread of the virus

People also should call ahead before visiting their doctor

If they have a medical appointment, they should call the health care provider and tell them they have or may have COVID-19. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

People who are sick should wear a facemask when around other people, such as sharing a room or vehicle, or pets and before entering a health care provider’s office.

If a person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask, for example, because it causes trouble breathing, then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

People should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in a lined trash can and should immediately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean their hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

People should regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

If soap and water are not readily available, people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of their hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.

People should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

People should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in their home.

After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

People should practice a routine cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.

People should also clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.

People should use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions people should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure they have good ventilation during use of the product.

Seeking additional care

People with symptoms should seek prompt medical attention if their illness is worsening, such as having difficulty breathing.

Before seeking care, people should call their health care provider and tell them that they have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.

People should put on a facemask before they enter the health care facility. These steps will help the health care provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

People need to ask their health care provider to call the local or state health department. People who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

People who have a medical emergency and need to call 911, should notify the dispatch personnel that they have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. If possible, they should put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.

The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

 

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