We are living during the unprecedented times in the middle of a global pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 is expected to affect a large percentage of the world’s population. The symptoms may range from mild to severe, affecting our aging population the most. It can also be very challenging for people with underlying chronic medical conditions or people with weakened immune systems. All of us need to work together to protect our vulnerable population.
Typical symptoms of the virus are fever, cough, and fatigue, and about 80% of people will recover uneventfully. In severe cases, the disease can affect the lungs and can lead to respiratory failure. The virus can be transmitted for 2-14 days after exposure. It can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours or longer, but can be killed with many cleaning agents, including bleach, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. Hand washing with soap still remains one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread.
Slow down the spread of the infection:
- Stay home if you are feeling ill
- Work from home if possible
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if unable to wash your hands
- Clean frequently touched surfaces, including your cell phones, keyboards, door handles, and light switches
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Practice social distancing, staying away by at least 6 feet from people who do not live in the same household
- Cover your face with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, throw away the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
Keep your immune system healthy:
- Drink lots of water, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet. Avoid sugar and processed foods, eat enough protein, plenty of vegetables, and add spices.
- Reduce stress, as difficult as it may seem to do so now. Take advantage of your local online classes from your gyms and yoga studios, listen to meditation recordings, go for a walk or a bike ride, garden, craft, and connect with your friends and family online through Facetime, WhatsApp or other applications.
- Protect your lungs: if you are smoking, vaping or are exposed to toxic chemicals, try to reduce your exposure. If you have any condition that affects your lung health, make sure you keep them under a good control and have medications available on hand.
- Immune supportive supplements are numerous. Well-known ones are vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, herbal preparations. Consult with your doctor on the recommendations in your specific case.
Resources and links:
What to do if you think you are have no known exposure to COVID-19 but worried that you might be sick:
What to do if have an exposure to someone who has confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19:
Washington State DOH Hotline: 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
WA Department of Health:
Updates from our local EvergreenHealth hospital: