The coronavirus is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, I remain committed to providing my patients and followers with useful and accurate information. I encourage you to use these resources to help in making informed decisions on how to go about your daily activities in a safe and healthy way. Please share it with friends!
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Today’s blog is about how HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS the coronavirus is, with tips on how to protect yourself and others.
By now, most of you should understand the vital importance of social distancing to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic, and reduce the burden on our healthcare systems. This importance has been reinforced by government mandates such as the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” mandate in Michigan, and we are now living in a new reality of social distancing and social isolation that is likely to be measured in months rather than weeks.
Our daily lives have changed dramatically, and in order to protect yourself and your family, I am encouraging you to go beyond social distancing and use an abundance of caution and vigilance in your daily activities to reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting the coronavirus.
The coronavirus can be spread silently, without symptoms.
Asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus is real, and there is growing data showing that a significant number of cases are a result of asymptomatic exposure.
Even today, as I finish this blog, there is suggestion that simply talking, not coughing/sneezing, can be a source of spreading this virus.
What this means:
- you could become infected with the virus from somebody who does not have any symptoms
- you could potentially be a source of infecting others if you contract the virus but do not have symptoms
For the time being, reduce the amount of time you spend in public places.
This (obviously) excludes those with essential jobs such as healthcare workers. The rest of us need to stay home. If possible, stock up on 14 days worth of groceries at a time. This requires planning ahead!
- Keep track of food and essential toiletries available in your home, and levels of cleaning supplies.
- Plan menus ahead of time to anticipate grocery needs.
- If you take medications or nutritional supplements on a regular basis, stock up with a three month supply.
When in a public place, conduct yourself in a manner that assumes that anyone you come in contact with is infected with the coronavirus.
You can also take that one step further and assume that you are infected and capable of transmitting the virus to others.
- Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from other people.
- Only touch what you need to touch.“You touch it, you buy it.”
- Wash hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer as a back-up.
- Stop touching your face!
- Consider covering your nose and mouth with a cotton mask or scarf when in public (the CDC is currently considering a statement about this)
Be vigilant about SURFACES.
In a study published March 24, 2020, NIH scientists found that the virus that causes COVID-19, can be detected:
- In the air for up to three hours
- On cardboard for up to 24 hours
- On plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days
Another study, published on the CDC’s website found that traces of COVID-19 genetic blueprint were found on surfaces throughout the Diamond Princess cruise ship as long as 17 days after passengers and crew had disembarked from the voyage. My take on this? When you are in public - assume all surfaces are contaminated with coronavirus and take appropriate precautions.
Disinfect EVERYTHING that enters your home.
Packages delivered to your home have likely been handled by several people, and we know that the coronavirus can live on cardboard up to 24 hours and plastic up to three days, so you need to have a plan:
- move mail and packages into your garage and if able, let them sit for several days before opening
- be vigilant about disinfecting your doorknobs and washing hands immediately after transferring packages and mail
- leave envelopes and cardboard for recycling outside of the home, only transfer into the home what you need
- wipe all items being brought into the home with a disinfectant
- for more information, check out this article
Similar to packages assume all grocery surfaces are contaminated with the coronavirus and develop a plan for disinfecting. Here is the plan we’ve implemented at our house:
- only one family member does the grocery shopping (my husband)
- we leave any grocery items that do not need to be placed in the refrigerator or freezer in the garage to wait, usually 5-6 days.
- items heading to the refrigerator or freezer are thoroughly disinfected first (I use a diluted bleach solution)
- produce is washed for 20+ seconds with soap and water
- Check out this video by my former teacher and colleague Dr. Jeff VanWingen.
Here is one last link with answers to frequently asked questions.
That’s it for today. Stay home, stay safe, and stay well.