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Coronavirus: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved One

Coronavirus: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved One

As writers and publishers of books for caregivers, we feel it is important to give our readers information on the latest health crisis.

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, after spreading to at least 114 countries and killing more than 4,000 people. The disease spreads mainly through person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets the infected person coughs or sneezes out. It’s also possible for the virus to spread through contaminated surfaces, although it is less likely for the infection to spread that way. Infected persons are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Those symptoms, which present from 2 to 14 days after exposure, are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Populations at higher risk for coronavirus include older adults and people with severe, long-term medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. Preventive actions you can take include:

  • Frequently clean your hands, preferably with soap and water for at least 20 second and especially after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, or being out in public.
  • A hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol is second best after handwashing with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching surfaces people frequently touch (handrails, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc.)
  • Avoid handshaking.
  • If you must touch a potentially contagious surface, use a tissue or sleeve to cover the part of you that touches the surface.
  • Try to avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.
  • Get into the habit of frequently cleaning and disinfecting your home.
  • Stay away from crowds. Closed-in areas with little ventilation or air circulation are especially high risk.
  • Don’t travel if it can be avoided.
  • If coronavirus appears to have reached your community, try to stay home and arrange for food and other essentials to be delivered.

If you think you’ve gotten sick, don’t panic! Let your healthcare provider know to get any recommendations you should follow and when you can consider yourself well enough to have recovered. Then follow these precautions:

  • Don’t go out except to get medical care. Be sure to call ahead before visiting the doctor.
  • Isolate yourself from other members of your household, including pets.
  • Wear a facemask.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or sleeves, handwashing immediately after any cough or sneeze for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Wash your hands often, not only after coughing and sneezing but also after going to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
  • Don’t share items such as dishes, drinking glasses, utensils, towels, and so on. Wash all of these items after using them.
  • Following the instructions, use household cleaning sprays or wipes to clean high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, remotes, and so on.
  • Keep a constant eye on your symptoms and pay attention if they worsen. Watch for emergency signs: difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, sudden confusion, a bluish color to the lips or face, or any severe worsening of your current symptoms. Seek medical attention immediately if emergency signs develop.


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