At the end of 2019, COVID-19 disease made its mark, causing a world-wide pandemic. It brought on a whole meaning to WASH YOUR HANDS, COVER YOUR COUGH and SNEEZE, and stay home if you are sick. The virus known as Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 spreads from respiratory droplets of infected individuals to others. This is why physical (social) distancing and respiratory hygiene is important! People who are exposed to the virus may not develop symptoms until 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus.
Symptoms include one or more of the following: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
Some individuals have tested positive and have had little or NO symptoms. It is important to treat every person as potentially infectious. People can spread the virus for 2-3 days before they have symptoms!
The virus is of greater risk to older adults (over 60 years old) and people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, people who are immunosuppressed, and pregnant women.
Prevention is KEY! It is extremely important that we ALL “do our part” in preventing the spread of COVID-19, here is how:
- Wear a Face Mask or Cloth Face Covering when in public settings or around people that do not live in your household.
- Observe Physical “Social” Distancing Guidelines - CDC recommends 6 feet distance in between individuals. The more closely you interact with others and the longer the interaction time, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
- Practice good respiratory hygiene - Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue and throw the tissue away immediately in a trash can, and then wash your hands. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm on your sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth,where it is easy to spread the virus to yourself.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including door knobs, counters, tables, tablets, keyboards, phones, bathroom fixtures. Use EPA approved disinfectants.
- Do not eat from “family/community snack bags/bowls. Pour the food into a single container, as opposed to reaching into the bag/box, to prevent contamination by many hands reaching into the same bag/box.
- Avoid contact with people that are sick.
- If you feel ill and think you may have contracted COVID-19, STAY HOME, contact your primary care provider prior to leaving the house in order to get guidance on the best way to get medical care.
- Stay up to date with accurate information. Refer to the CDC and MA DPH for most up to date and reliable information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Take care of your emotional health. If you need emotional support during these stressful time, call 2-1-1 and choose the "CALL2TALK" option, or use the live chat option on Mass 2-1-1 Website .
Remember the best way to prevent illness is to prevent being exposed to this virus.