How Can You Protect Yourself from Coronavirus?

By Steve Duffy - May 5, 2020

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is having a significant impact on our global community and economy. Millions of people have been infected and over 200,000 people have died from coronavirus. The healthcare system is overwhelmed in many areas of the United States. COVID-19 spreads quickly from person to person, so it’s important to be aware of potential risk factors and take measures to protect yourself and those you come in contact with.  

How does COVID-19 spread?

Infectious disease experts have determined that COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets shared from someone who is infected with the virus. You don’t need to have symptoms of the virus in order to be a carrier, so it has become crucial that everyone take the proper precautions when out in public. There is scientific evidence that the virus can live on some surfaces for hours or days, so you may be at risk just by touching something that someone with the virus has touched.

You may be at a higher risk for complications due to coronavirus due to age and underlying health conditions. Although there are stay-at-home orders in many cities across the country, a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy sometimes can’t be avoided. If you do need to be out of the house, there are some tips to stay healthy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Washing your hands

While it may seem simple, one of the best things you can do to limit your risk is to wash your hands regularly. The coronavirus can live on surfaces, and if you end up touching a contaminated surface, you can become exposed after touching your face, mouth, nose, or an open cut. 

To ensure your hands are clean and free of the virus, be sure to wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Clean your hands often, especially when in a public place or after you return home to prevent the spread of any pathogens that may be on your hands.

Social distancing

This term has become a staple in our daily conversations regarding coronavirus. Businesses, schools, and neighborhoods have all been affected by the need for people to stay at least six feet apart. Social distancing is all about avoiding close contact with others. This is especially important around those who are sick, but people who appear healthy may be infected as well and have the ability to pass the virus on to you.

Six feet between you and others is the general rule of thumb, but the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is simply to stay home. Of course, we may need to go shopping for groceries and other essentials, but you will notice changes in the way stores conduct business. With one-way aisles and marked check-out lines, essential businesses are making it easier for people to social distance.

Cover your nose and mouth

The coronavirus is a respiratory disease, which means that it gets passed through the air from coughing, sneezing, and respiratory droplets that can be shared through breathing or talking. If you are in a private setting, such as your home, be sure that you always cover your cough with a face mask, your elbow, or a tissue. If you use a tissue, be sure to throw it away and wash your hands immediately.

If you must leave the house to go to a public place, you should wear a cloth face mask. Cloth face coverings are not meant to protect you from others, but to protect others from you in case you happen to be infected, even if you do not show symptoms.

How will your Medicare benefits help?

Medicare benefits will cover the cost of coronavirus testing and treatment. Medicare recipients should be especially cautious due to the potential complications that can arise from coronavirus infection. People with hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, heart disease, or diabetes mellitus can be at a higher risk for developing more serious, and sometimes fatal, cases of COVID-19. Additionally, those who are immunocompromised or taking immunosuppressants must be especially cautious and try to stay safe-at-home as much as possible. 

Call your physician

If you experience a change in your health and you are concerned that you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call your doctor immediately. Medicare has expanded its telehealth services and many medical providers are conducting virtual appointments to keep people from having to go into a more public setting. If your doctor feels that you may have been infected, you may be sent to a nearby testing facility. The COVID-19 test is covered by Medicare, and results usually come back within a few days.

Resources

If you have questions regarding coronavirus prevention, testing, and treatment, refer to resources that are updated in real-time to provide the most current information. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Medicare.gov for more details.  

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