Getting the Facts Straight with COVID-19
COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease discovered in 2019. Coronoavirus is a large family of viruses of which COVID-19 is the most recently discovered.1 Viruses are tiny and we are not able to see them with the naked eye. So how can something so small cause such a large interruption in our world today? Understanding what a virus such as COVID-19 is, and does, helps us understand the threat it presents, and helps us prevent the spread of illness, so we can flatten the curve and get back to normal faster! It’s also important to know where your information sources are coming from to prevent unnecessary confusion and anxiety. With so much information available, it is important to know what we are dealing with and know trusted sources.
How infection occurs
Viruses can infect an individual through their mucous membranes, such as the nostrils, mouth and eyes. After contact, the virus makes its way down into the throat and replicates there. If the virus replicates and the individual’s immune system is not able to slow it down, it can then infect the lungs, causing inflammation. Inflammation in the lungs leads to the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and this is what we know as pneumonia. Having pneumonia and a weakened immune system is what poses a major risk to an individual.
What do you do if you think you have been exposed?
Do not show up at your doctor’s office. Call public health, talk to a nurse, and let them tell you if you need to be tested, and where this will take place. If possible, do not leave the house. It is our responsibility to prevent the spread and lessen the load on healthcare workers such as doctors and nurses.
What are the symptoms?
A fever (over 38oC), dry cough and possibly a sore throat are some of the main presenting symptoms of COVID-19. As it progresses, you may have symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, runny nose and possibly diarrhea. Only 80% of people who come into contact with COVID-19 will experience very mild flu-like symptoms.1 This is important to recognise because even if you feel great, you can be spreading the illness to someone who could potentially get really sick.
What can I do to stay safe?
Remember to keep your distance from others as much as possible and stand at least 6 feet away at all times.2 Cough and sneeze into your arm or into tissues.2 Wash your hands frequently and for a minimum of 20 seconds.2 (Fun fact! This is the length of the chorus to “Oops I did it again” by Britney Spears.) Make sure you are getting lots of rest and eating balanced meals to support your immune system.
Stuck at home…so now what?
Here is a list of ideas to keep you from going stir crazy during this time:
- Pick up the phone and chat with family, friends and loved ones.
- Daily at home workouts to keep active and boost mood and immune system.
- DIY projects that you have been meaning to get around to.
- Start some early spring cleaning.
- Knock off some of those books on your reading list.
- Order takeout from your favourite restaurant. (Support local when you can!)
- Come up with some fun arts and crafts to do with the kiddos. (A lot of scholastic companies have supplied free activity plans for parents to do with their kids while they are not in school. You can find these online.)
I want to give a huge shout out to the nurses and doctors working hard and treating the sick. Thank you to all hospital staff, grocery store staff, delivery drivers and so many more individuals keeping us moving along during this hectic time. Thank you!
This is a very crazy and unprecedented time in our world. It can be easy to let ourselves become filled with fear and worry. Being well-informed and keeping ourselves safe and busy are great ways to help us get through these trying times.
And just remember, this too shall pass.
Take care out there!
- Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
- Public Health Agency of Canada. (2020, March 14). Government of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html