Be Prepared - Four Smart Ways to Avoid Coronavirus
Your top questions answered by an MD
One of our local elementary schools was closed, due to a staff member testing positive for coronavirus. Local events were postponed, and a small community in the Pacific Northwest became more vigilant. When it’s local, it often becomes more real for us than just reading a statistic on the news.
It’s likely much of your social and news feeds are filled with stories about how coronavirus may impact you – and probably plenty of opinions and drama to go with that. We’d like to help you get to the facts, and some practical advice, quickly.
In addition to reading our article on how to talk to kids about Coronavirus, we wanted to offer you advice from an experienced medical doctor.
We give great thanks to Dr. Todd Kelly, to answer the top four questions you have asked us. Dr. Kelly is a critical care doctor who assisted a community hospital system prepare potential Ebola patients.
Q: As an MD, what top three things do you tell your patients worried about Coronavirus?
A: “At this time the probability of contracting the coronavirus for any individual is low. Over 80% of people who do catch the coronavirus are either asymptomatic or develop a few mild symptoms. If you believe that you have been exposed to the virus and develop symptoms, seek the advice of your physician.”
Q: Based on your experience with other outbreaks, do you think Coronavirus will have large impact in the US?
A: “The United States healthcare system is extremely well positioned to manage any significant infectious outbreaks. That being said, there is a distinct possibility that a large number of people in this country will at some point contract the virus. There may be some areas that will need to restrict social contacts by suspending school, restricting mass gatherings, or encouraging people to work from home. There will also be supply disruptions due to manufacturing disruptions in other parts of the world. This might include medications so you should have an extra month or two of all your prescriptions. In other words, you need to be prepared to self-quarantine at home by ensuring that you have at least a two-week supply of food and other essential items.”
Q: Other than hand washing, what recommendations do you have for prevention?
A: “Handwashing is definitely a major component to preventing disease transmission. This needs to go hand-in-hand with learning to not touch your head, face, or genitals without first washing your hands. Take hand sanitizer with you when you leave your home and use it often. Practice social distancing.”
“Social distancing is keeping about 6 feet of distance between you and other people in public, especially if either you or they exhibit symptoms of being ill such as coughing or sneezing. At this time there is no need for anyone not ill to wear a mask. However, if you are ill with a cough or sneezing, you can benefit others by preventing the spread of your illness by wearing a mask. If you are ill try to remain at home to prevent spreading your illness to others. Also, you don’t have a mask, cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt and avoid coughing into your hands to minimize the risk of spreading your illness to others.
Q: What else should we be doing?
“If you have not yet received your flu vaccine go get it immediately. The mortality rate for patients infected with Covid-19 with other comorbid infections or conditions is significantly higher than in those without.
Stay up to date with the recommendations of the CDC and other state or local health authorities. All of these organizations have websites that you should check regularly for updates and recommendations during the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, these websites provide a wealth of information to help protect you and your family.”
We thank Dr. Kelly for his expertise, and encourage you to stay informed. The following links can help. You can also subscribe to our blog, below.
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Chris has worked in tech for 30 years, and healthcare tech for 8 of those. He's on the advisory board of Harvard-Based Think:Kids, and runs Rad Dad Rules. He is the proud Dad of two awesome kids, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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