Where is the best place to go for accurate up-to-date information?
Your best sources of information are official health websites which are updated daily:
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Your local health department.
- Your local healthcare provider or local university health center.
Be aware, the situation is rapidly changing, so use the most recent advice available. Most web pages have a date of publication at the top or bottom.
I’ve heard lots of different things on social media and directly from friends. How do I know what’s true?
There are many coronavirus myths circulating right now. Stick with the CDC, WHO and local health departments and major metropolitan newspapers that do fact-checking. Here are some links that dispel common myths.
- WHO Coronavirus Mythbusters
- CDC Coronavirus FAQs
- COVID-19 Fact Check (reliable and easy-to-understand information about coronavirus in multiple languages)
How can the coronavirus affect my health condition? Am I at higher risk?
People of any age can get the novel coronavirus and experience the resulting disease (called COVID-19). So it’s important for everybody to prepare and follow recommended guidelines, not just those at high risk.
However, if you are a participant of our programs, understand that you are at likely at high risk of serious illness because you fall into one or more of the following groups as defined by the CDC:
- Older adults, with risk increasing by age. Those over 65 are at particular risk.
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (BMI 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
People with other conditions might also be at risk, since we are still learning about the disease.
Contact your own primary healthcare provider with specific questions about your individual situation.
What are the signs and symptoms of the virus?
The coronavirus causes a range of symptoms in different people. Symptoms may start 2 -14 days after a person is exposed to the virus. Some people do not experience any symptoms, but can still spread the virus.
For many people, the symptoms are mild and might be confused with their regular allergies or a cold. A smaller percentage of people can have severe symptoms, particularly those who are older or have other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or lung disease.
There isn't one symptom that guarantees you have it, nor does lacking one symptom mean you don't have it.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 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
Other symptoms may include a rash on skin, discoloration of fingers or toes, or conjunctivitis (red eye). If you have any symptoms, strictly avoid other people and call your healthcare provider.
Call 911 or seek medical attention immediately if you have severe symptoms such as increasing shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, inability to wake or stay awake, new confusion, bluish lips or face.
How can I prepare and protect myself and others?
Key measures include:
- Strict hygiene:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap, using proper technique for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based sanitizers if washing is not available
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid person-to-person contact with people outside your immediate household (no shaking hands or hugging)
- Frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces
- If coughing or sneezing for any reason, cover your mouth and nose with your arm. Avoid contact with others and wear a mask if you must go out to the doctor.
- Social distancing:
- This is better characterized by “physical distancing”.
- Avoid all non-essential gatherings and any other gatherings as directed by your physician and local health department.
- If you need to go out, keep a 6 foot distance between yourself and those outside your household whenever possible.
- If you are at high risk, this may include complete isolation from those outside your immediate household.
- Face coverings:
- Follow face covering guidelines provided by your local health department.
- The CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- These masks may not protect you from the coronavirus, but they do protect others. It’s possible to spread the virus even when symptoms are not present.
- Wear a face covering when you are sick yourself and interacting with others, even at your own home, or any time you are caring for others who are sick.
- Face coverings should be worn over both the nose and mouth.
- Check out this link for additional information about other types of masks and who should not wear face coverings.
- This link provides resources for making your own cloth coverings, washing them and other considerations.
How can I possibly focus on improving my general health in the middle of a pandemic crisis?
Actually, this may be the most important time to focus on maintaining and even improving your health.
- Our healthcare system may become overwhelmed with acute coronavirus cases. In many areas, it’s already become more difficult to get regular medical care for chronic conditions.
- Staying healthy will keep those medical resources available for others in more acute need.
- Maintaining and even improving health can reduce the impact of stress on you and your family.
- Eating healthy, regular exercise, stress management and restful sleep are all key to maintaining a strong immune system in addition to maintaining and improving chronic conditions. When you are healthy you are less likely to have a serious course of COVID-19 if/when you are exposed to the virus.
This program offers you strategies to maintain and improve your health, so staying with the program is one way of being prepared.
Here are some additional articles on COVID-19 that you may find helpful: