It’s now been just over two months since the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. And the world is certainly feeling its effects all over and within the post-acute care community. Cities across the globe are calling for quarantines, and travelers are having to deal with coronavirus checks as a precautionary measure.
But with more information finally available about the disease, do we really need to worry as much as we think we do? According to NBC News, you shouldn’t panic. Here’s why.
According to Live Science, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can result in respiratory illnesses. These can range from the common cold, all the way to pneumonia. And the World Health Organization lists the following symptoms as markers to look out for: fever, tiredness, and a dry cough. Additional symptoms may include shortness of breath, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, a sore throat, or diarrhea.
According to the CDC, the first infections were linked to a live animal market in Wuhan City. However, person-to-person spreading is now occurring. The virus is now thought to be spread through the transmission of respiratory droplets, from instances like coughing or sneezing.
Should We Be Worried?
As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak have spread globally, so has a sense of fear on how to protect ourselves effectively. Even within the post-acute care community. From wearing face masks in public to stocking up on water and food supplies, it’s clear that people are worried. However, NBC News says that people falling ill due to the disease don’t actually appear to get too sick. And avoiding mass hysteria is important within post-acute care.
Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and an infectious disease professor said, “Eighty percent of people have such minor symptoms, they don’t actually require any medical care at all. The 20 percent who do feel quite ill need to be evaluated, and some of them will require hospitalization and some of them will require intensive care.”
For reference, according to The Guardian, mortality rates between the new coronavirus and the typical flu are staggeringly similar. At the epicenter of the outbreak, in the Hubei Province of Wuhan, the mortality rate is 2%; and even lower elsewhere. In comparison, the seasonal flu we all know and “love” has a mortality rate below 1%. Another coronavirus, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) had a death rate of 10% in 2002.
Essentially, experts are noting that many of those who have died from the illness thus far were already suffering from poor health or had a weak immune system. A number of those patients already had another underlying condition, like cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes, that contributed further to a deteriorating condition. This means that as far as experts are concerned, for now, treat the coronavirus like you would any other.
How to Protect Yourself In Post-Acute Care
While there’s still no vaccine available, there are steps that experts at Mayo Clinic recommend taking to keep yourself safe against the coronavirus infection:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, and often, with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Keep your mouth and nose covered by your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if you haven’t cleaned your hands
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Don’t share dishes, glasses, bedding, or any other household items if you’re sick
- Make sure to clean and disinfect any surfaces you often touch
- Stay home from work, school, and out of public areas if you are sick
Interestingly enough, experts also recommend ditching the face mask, unless a health provider or post-acute care physician specifically tells you to wear it. The World Health Organization also adds to avoid consuming raw or undercooked meat, or animal organs, as well as avoiding contact with live animals and surfaces in live markets in infected areas.
Think You Have the Coronavirus?
If you believe you may have the new coronavirus, experts say the best thing to do is contact your doctor immediately before admitting to a post-acute care facility – though not everyone needs to be tested. It’s likely your healthcare provider will evaluate your symptoms and come up with an at-home treatment plan to get you well. This helps reduce the number of people exposed if you visit an office in person and prevent your illness from getting any worse!
South Coast Post Acute Can Help
Prevention and care can go a long way in keeping patients protected. At South Coast Post Acute, we have a strong commitment to our work and a dedicated spirit of caring within our post-acute care community. Because of this, we’re the recovery center of choice for patients, providers, and caregivers. In a time where health concerns are at an all-time high, our knowledge of medicine and tools can make a difference.
Our expert, highly-skilled post-acute care teams are comprised of therapists, physicians, nurses, social workers, and even nutritionists. And they work with both the patient and their families to create individualized plans of care – fit for your loved one. Our goal? To get patients healthy and get patients home.
Exceptional, compassionate care; every time, every touch. Contact us today!