BLACKFOOT, ID – March 4, 2020 – If coronavirus, or COVID-19, is on your mind, you’re not alone. You should be concerned and informed, but definitely not panicking. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions our medical providers have been receiving and what people can be doing to protect themselves and their loved ones.
FLU VS. THE CORONAVIRUS
Health officials are much more concerned about the flu than the coronavirus. To put things into perspective, as of March 3, 2020, Johns Hopkins Medicine reported the following:
There have been approximately 89,198 cases of coronavirus worldwide; 86 cases in the U.S., while there have been an estimated 1 billion cases of the flu worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.
There have been 3,048 deaths reported worldwide from coronavirus, while there have been 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide from the flu; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.
And, in general, the average age of deaths in China has been 70 years old—those that were already in poor health and had compromised immune systems. Further, reports show that infants and children have rarely been affected by the coronavirus.
EARLY SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS
Some people experience fatigue and headaches
Less frequently, diarrhea
If shortness of breath develops, that would require medical attention
If you have these or flu-like symptoms, the first step is to call your physician.
Like the flu, coronavirus can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking. A possible difference, though, is that coronavirus might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.
In addition, the coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted by products or packages that originated in China. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially stated people receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, they know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
5 WAYS TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS
The same things people do to prevent the flu or a cold are the same things you should do to prevent the coronavirus.
Frequent and thorough hand washing.
Coughing into the crook of your elbow.
Stay home when sick.
Limit contact with people who are infected.
Use alcohol or bleach or any other bleach or detergent or antiviral topical to wipe doorknobs and tabletops.
In general, the CDC recommends that people do some pretty basic things when traveling. Avoid sick people and try not to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose without washing your hands. And, again, wash your hand frequently, which will be your best defense against the coronavirus.
For detailed information about travel notices and advice, and please visit the CDC’s website, which they update daily. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
And, lastly, it’s still not too late to get a flu shot. We’re in the middle of a very active influenza season, and it is usually active through April.
PREPARING FOR THE CORONAVIRUS
There is no cause for panic at this time, but this is the time to prepare. Similar to preparing for a bad snow storm or a hurricane—they may not come and they may not affect you—but it is smart to be prepared.
Things to have on-hand include the following:
Extra, nonperishable foods in your cupboards.
Basic medications for adults such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Children-safe fever-reducers in the home and liquids such as Pedialyte to prevent any dehydration if they develop a cold or flu.
In addition, children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Give them this extra time and attention. Have a rational conversation with your children or grandchildren about the coronavirus. Nowadays, they’re coming home from school and asking parents about the coronavirus. The best thing you can do is to reassure them that, yes, this is something that is coming to the U.S., but tell them that all of the health experts around the globe—doctors, nurses, and teachers—are aware of the coronavirus and they’re providing information as they can on a daily basis.
If you work full-time and require daycare for your children, you should start planning for scenarios where their school might be closed. In advance, make sure you have daycare options. If it’s an option, talk with your employer—would you be able to work from home?
Please know that it is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared, or angry during new situations like this. However, talking to people you trust and having conversations with family or friends or both can alleviate these feelings.
In the meantime, everyone at Bingham Healthcare will do our best to continue providing you with any updates as they become available.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR PCP OR VISIT AN URGENT CARE
If you are concerned about your health or that of a loved one, make an appointment immediately or visit your local Urgent Care. If you need a family medicine provider to talk to, please visit BinghamMemorial.org/Family or call (208) 785-4100 to schedule an appointment with a provider nearest to you.
Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.