When you, or a loved one, fall ill, what should you do in the era of COVID-19?
Dr. Arnold Hopland, owner of Medical Care and someone who has seen the virus first-hand, says that you should treat symptoms and isolate.
“If we know someone has coronavirus, they need strict isolation,” he said. “If we have someone with any illness, we should either isolate them personally from the rest of the household and have very little contact with them, or isolate two people together if someone needs care, one being the person who needs care and the other being the person who can care for them.”
This designated caregiver to be in isolation with should not be someone who will be around others, like healthcare workers or other essential employees.
For basic symptoms, Hopland said that people should control fevers with acetaminophen, ibuprofen or even lukewarm baths. For coughing, he suggests cough drops and keeping your mouth covered from others. No matter how you are feeling, he stressed that you must keep hydrated with anything wet (limited alcohol). While there is no exact treatment for COVID-19, he said that in mild cases, symptom treatment is what is necessary.
“Symptomatic treatment is almost always necessary, even in patients with coronavirus,” he said.
According to Hopland, the tests, which are not currently immediate, do not make people better, treatments do.
Once symptoms begin to cease, Hopland said that people should remain isolated for two days after they go away.
It is also suggested that during isolation, you have someone who is not sick bring you things you may need, safely. If you do not have someone to bring you what you need, calling emergency services for assistance or following preventative measures, like wearing a mask, are recommended before going out for supplies.
Hopland stressed that if you begin having any respiratory issues, like shortness of breath, to contact a physician immediately for assistance.
It is advised that cleaning be done when someone is ill to avoid transmission to others or an individual getting sick again.
“Whoever is taking care of them, any of their dishes, clothing, entertainment stuff, all that stuff should be wiped down with cleaning wipes,” he said. “Anyone who is caring for them, after caring for them, should immediately do a real thorough cleaning, 30 seconds with soap and water.”
At this time, many people think they have the virus when they do not. Hopland said most who get this virus have zero to mild symptoms. However, these basic treatments of symptoms work for most illnesses.
The more high risk you are, the more likely you should be tested. This includes people who have chronic illnesses, underlying conditions, or have higher risk of exposure from being near someone who is a confirmed case or being in a higher infected area like New York.
During this time, paying attention to social distancing and keeping clean is the best thing to do. When being out in public, considering bacteria on something is beneficial.
Hopland said that thinking of a person touching something after picking their nose or scratching their butt is a good way remember this. An example he gave was of a $10 bill having dog poop on it. Someone would clean this off and take it straight to the bank where you could later be given it. These considerations can go a long way in reminding people to stay clean.
If you begin exhibiting symptoms, you can call services like the Nurse Connect hotline, at 833-822-5523, to be assessed and find out if you need testing. If you are ill, you should stay home. Social distancing is continuing to be stressed as is measures like handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds.
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