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About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some infect animals, some infect people, some infect both. There are 7 of these viruses known to infect humans. 4 of them are common and result in mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. Most people are infected with at least one in their lifetime. 3 of them are rare (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV) and can cause more severe symptoms.

Reference: Crawford County Home Health


Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sense of taste and/or smell

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Reference: Center for Disease Control


How does it spread?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Generally, people are most contagious when their symptoms are the worst. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in frequent and prolonged close contact with each other. Spread occurs from respiratory droplets produced when someone sneezes or coughs that land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possible inhaled into the lungs. It may also be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Reference: Crawford County Home Health


Precautions / Prevention

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Reference: Center for Disease Control (CDC)


What to do if you are sick

Follow the steps below:  If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people and pets in your home

  • Stay away from others as much as possible. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible, and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and cough. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead. Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

If you are sick wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth

  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people even at home.
  • You don’t need to wear the cloth face covering if you are alone. If you can’t put on a cloth face covering (because of trouble breathing for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
  • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders. You may need to improvise a cloth face covering using a scarf or bandana.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
  • If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the bathroom.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.

Reference: Center for Disease Control (CDC)


How and when to discontinue home isolation

People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions.

NOT TESTED: If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after ALL these three things have happened:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

TESTED: If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after ALL these three things have happened:

  • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • you received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.

In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.

Reference: Center for Disease Control (CDC)


Trusted sources of information

Click on the links below to find more information and resources regarding COVID-19 and governmental responses.

Crawford County


State of Iowa

The State of Iowa has an informational call-in line for COVID-19. Call 211 or go to www.211iowa.org for information or to ask questions.


United States


Global