by Jason Schexnayder, PT, DPT, CMTPT

This may be late but it’s still important…

All of the following information presented here is being taken directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. This is the best source of information on the COVID-19 virus in our opinion. Please refrain from taking information from other people or social media websites, unless it’s from a verified medical website or certified medical professional, preferably a medical doctor.

Also, this information WILL UPDATE AND CHANGE RAPIDLY as the medical field learns more about this virus. So, make sure to constantly review the guidelines and information provided by the CDC.

What you need to know

Symptoms

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days AFTER exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

2 – 14 days AFTER being infected…This is important to remember because it shows that you could have the virus but not feel like you do. This is what makes this virus dangerous. You could be unaware that you have it and infecting other people by exposing yourself to them OR you could be around someone who has it and they don’t know they do. That’s why this virus is spreading so quickly.

This is also important to be aware of because you could infect someone who’s at risk of getting severely ill or even die from this disease. That’s why the government and other countries have been so strict about gathering in large numbers. You could easily infect someone at risk and there be a serious consequence to that exposure. If you’re an at-risk person then you should certainly take more precautions.

How it spreads…

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be MOST contagious when they are MOST symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

How to protect yourself

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent you from getting coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often!!!

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:

Use the most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix:

    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
      OR
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions.
    Ensure the solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Testing for COVID-19

CALL your doctor:  If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, CALL your healthcare provider for medical advice.

NOTE:  DON’T go to the emergency room (ER) first. As long as you aren’t having severe symptoms and believe you require immediate, life-saving, medical attention than calling your doctor should be your FIRST course of action. The ER is meant for medical emergencies and isn’t meant to handle large capacities of people, so unless it’s a severe case please don’t go to the ER and slow down their processes during this difficult time. See the below section for reasons you should go to the ER or if you call your medical doctor and they tell you to go to the ER then you should head their advice.

If you are in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is an ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness

People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

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.

If you are very sick get medical attention immediately

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

As long as this post is, it ISN’T all the information that’s available on COVID-19 so please take the time to visit the CDC’s website for more information. We just wanted to provide the information we thought was the most important.