by Katherine Clinton
The Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has been dominating news headlines recently, and there is a lot of information out there to take in. But what does it all mean for those of us in the working class? How can we prepare and stay healthy, especially if you don’t have health insurance? Let’s break this down into three sections; what it is, prevention, and treatment.
WHAT IS IT?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that has been around for a long time, and it usually causes the common cold. COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus that hadn’t been identified before. Scientists are still working on figuring out where it came from and how it spread to humans. It’s spread from person to person after an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air. Symptoms appear 2-14 days after being exposed and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
I know what you’re thinking, if it’s spread through the air, shouldn’t we all be wearing masks? The answer is no, we shouldn’t. It’s most important for sick people to wear a mask, not healthy people. So how do you prevent getting sick?
Wash your hands! The most important thing you can do to prevent getting sick is washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. That means warm water, soap, lots of friction, and for at least 20 seconds, which is longer than you think. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer instead. It’s most important to wash your hands before you eat or prepare food, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Wipe down common surfaces in your home with disinfectant wipes. This should include things like your phone, TV remotes and gaming controllers, counters, and toilets. When you use a tissue to blow your nose, throw it away right away instead of setting it down and spreading germs further.
If you are sick, whether with COVID-19 or just a regular cold, stay home if you can, especially if you have a fever. It’s the best way to prevent illness from spreading further.
Because COVID-19 is a virus, antibiotics won’t help when it comes to treatment. The goals are to support the sick person’s body while it fights off the virus on its own. What does that look like?
Rest and stay home if you can. Easier said than done when there’s bills to pay, I know. But please, if you have a fever, stay home.
Drink plenty of clear fluids. This can include things like Gatorade, caffeine free soda, broth, or jello.
Use Tylenol or ibuprofen to help with fever and discomfort that can come along with being sick. You’re going to feel lousy, but this should help.
Go to the doctor if you’re not getting better or if you’re having trouble breathing. Some people with COVID-19 have had more serious breathing problems and need more specialized care.