COVID-19: Protecting Patients and Healthcare Workers
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread around the world and has been deemed a pandemic. There is currently no vaccine to prevent this disease so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. With recommended precautions in place such as self-quarantines, social distancing, and the cancellations of events/gatherings, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is hoping to flatten the curve of those that have been exposed to, or contracted, the virus. But what if you’ve already been exposed or think you’re developing symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are not unlike what you might experience with a bad cold or flu and can appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
Emergency signs that would require immediate attention might include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever or symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider immediately. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Our healthcare professionals, including nurses, doctors, facilities and maintenance staff, and food/nutrition staff at hospitals, emergency rooms, and doctors’ offices are at the forefront of this outbreak and working diligently to care for the many patients that are arriving daily. The CDC recommends that healthcare workers wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) such as a gown, gloves, eye protection, and respiratory protection when working with patients. It is of the utmost importance t
hat this PPE is available to healthcare workers since it is not only themselves that could get infected, but also their families, other patients at their facilities, and the general public that may come in contact with them.
For more information for healthcare professionals, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html.
For more information about the COVID-19 virus and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.