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Recommendations on preventing exposure to and dealing with coronavirus

 

April 21, 2020



Havre Daily News staff

While it looks like, with reducing rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19, Montana may start the process of relaxing some restrictions put in place to slow its spread.

But, Gov. Steve Bullock and health officials have said, the virus that causes the illness, novel coronavirus 2019, will still be out there and people need to continue to use caution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health care organizations and officials have issued recommendations to people on how to reduce the chance of contracting or spreading the novel coronavirus 2019, and providing recommendations on what people should do if they have symptoms of the disease.

On its page telling people how to avoid acquiring the virus, CDC reports:

• No vaccine exists at the moment to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

• The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

• 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.

— Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

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

— Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

CDC recommends that people should:

Clean their hands often

• Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after people 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. They should cover all surfaces of their hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

• Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

• People should avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Stay home as much as possible.

• Put distance between themselves and other people.

— Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

— Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Cover their mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

• People could spread COVID-19 to others even if they do not feel sick.

• Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.

— Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

• The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case the people wearing the mask are infected.

• People should not use a facemask meant for a health care worker.

• People should continue to keep about 6 feet between themselves and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

• People who are in a private setting and do not have on a cloth face covering should remember to always cover cover mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze or use the inside of their elbow.

• Throw used tissues in the trash.

• Immediately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, people should clean their hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

• People should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.

• If surfaces are dirty, people should clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

COVID-19 symptoms

CDC’s website says if people have a fever or cough, they might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If people think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should contact their health care provider immediately.

• Keep track of the symptoms.

• If people have an emergency warning sign they should get medical attention right away.

CDC says warning signs include:

• Trouble breathing

• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

• New confusion or inability to arouse

• Bluish lips or face

It adds that this list is not all inclusive. People should consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to them.

People should call 911 if they have a medical emergency: They should notify the operator that they have, or think they might have, COVID-19. If possible, they should put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

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.

Health officials recommend that people experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 treat their symptoms with over-the-counter cold and fever medicines.

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 call if possible before going to the health care provider

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 who need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home should wear a cloth face covering.

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene. 

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

Monitor symptoms

• Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and cough. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means people should get medical attention.

• People should follow care instructions from their health care provider and local health department. Local health authorities may give instructions on checking symptoms and reporting information.

When to seek medical attention

People who develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 should get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

• Trouble breathing

• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

• New confusion or inability to arouse

• Bluish lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. People should consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

People should call 911 if they have a medical emergency, Notifying the operator that they have, or think they might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

 

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