This comes from our Parish Nurse, Carol Klingsmith RN. We're sharing this info as a way to dispel some rumors and bad information, as well as being a reminder that there are very simple steps we can take to help ourselves through this time. They also have the benefit of being good advice for other times when we're sick.
Coronaviruses are not new: A majority of them are the cause of most cases of the common cold. But the novel COVID-19 can cause more severe health problems, especially among the elderly and sick. Symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms after having been in close contact with someone with the virus, or who has traveled from an area with widespread infection, call your healthcare professional.
1. Wash hands frequently-
The CDC recommends washing with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Best to avoid antibacterial soap.
Although washing hands with soap and water kills the most germs, hand sanitizer can be used when a sink is not available. Look for one with at least 60% alcohol and rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds. Avoid sanitizers and soaps that contain “fragrance,” which can include a number of allergenic and endocrine-disrupting ingredients. Hand sanitizers and alcohol can be very drying, removing the protective oils on hands. Overuse can cause cracks in the skin that are an open path for virus and bacteria.
2. Keep your immune system in top shape-
Stay hydrated with pure water instead of other drinks. Remember coffee, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks are dehydrating. When you are dehydrated you are more susceptible to infections. Another plus of water is that viruses, which replicate rapidly, are very tiny and drinking an adequate amount of water when you first get a viral infection can help flush out the virus. Eat a healthy diet – lots of fruits & vegetables. Now is not the time for crazy diets.
Exercise and a good night’s sleep help strengthen the immune system. If your Vitamin D level is low, take a D3 supplement based on your doctor’s recommendation or get out in the sun with skin exposed, and without sunscreen to get natural Vitamin D.
3. Cover up if you cough or sneeze-
Use a tissue; then throw it away. No tissue- sneeze into your shirt or cough into your elbow—NOT your hand.
4. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth-
This is probably the hardest thing to do. Start practicing not touching your face when out in public. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are a direct route for viruses into your body. Think about using your knuckle to push the elevator button or covering your hand with a sleeve if you have to open a door in a public bathroom without paper towels. Wash your hands as soon as you can.
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. To find effective disinfectants containing safe ingredients to clean surfaces- consult ewg.org and look for EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. The EPA and CDC may also have lists of disinfectants recommended against the coronavirus.
6. Avoid crowds
If the coronavirus does spread widely in the U.S., consider limiting the amount of time you spend in crowds or tight quarters.
The CDC does not currently recommend surgical masks for the public. Wear a surgical mask if you are sick to prevent transmission to others. When the mask gets wet, it is important to change it. N-95 Respirators need to be CDC/NIOSH, fitted to the wearer’s face and tested. They are used in healthcare settings.
Your best approach to staying healthy is to be vigilant. Listen to the doctors and scientists. Remember this is a Public Health issue, not a political issue.