We are currently experiencing an international outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by virus SARS-CoV-2 first detected in China. Any outbreak of a new virus is always a public health concern. However, due to the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and how easily it spreads, the population is experiencing anxiety about the status of public health.
While there are a number of reported COVID-19 cases in the United States, it is not yet an official pandemic. Most cases are from individuals who have recently visited China and those close to those individuals. There are relatively few cases of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 with no apparent connection to an infected individual.
Community spread refers to a disease spreading quickly through communities, meaning people become infected without knowing exactly how they became infected. Community spread is not yet an issue in the United States.
Symptoms of COVID-19 range from relatively mild to severe illness or death in extreme cases. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, there are steps we can take as individuals to prevent ourselves and those close to us from becoming ill.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick to avoid infecting your community
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue and immediately wash your hands
- Regularly disinfect frequently touched objects in the household or workplace
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Some people have taken to wearing facemasks to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19. According to the CDC’s recommendations, one should NOT wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the illness to avoid its spread.
The World Health Organization warns that a mask alone is insufficient in providing adequate levels of protection. Additionally, wearing a mask may give one a false sense of security, causing the individual to neglect safe practices such as washing hands regularly and avoiding contact with those who are sick.
The best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 in your community is to follow these routine guidelines provided by the CDC. If you are sick, it is important to follow these steps to prevent the spread of unwanted diseases.
At Totum ENT, we are dedicated to keeping our community healthy. We are following the spread of COVID-19 diligently and will keep our patients updated as we learn more.