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Answers to your COVID-19 questions
Only patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and healthcare workers caring for them should wear masks. Further, the general public should stop buying masks as shortages could prevent healthcare professionals from acquiring them.
While most young, healthy people are at lower risk of becoming critically ill, it’s still important for those individuals to take precautions to prevent the spread.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is COVID-19?
The newly identified coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV 2. First identified in China in December 2019, COVID-19 has infected thousands of people around the world. While this coronavirus is new, it is not the only coronavirus. Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, commonly infect people and are associated with the common cold.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are difficult to distinguish, as they present symptoms like other coronaviruses that are similar to those of the common cold. People with confirmed cases have reportedly had mild-to-severe respiratory illness with the following symptoms:
Symptoms may occur up to two weeks after exposure.
How do I prevent infection?
As there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 at this time, preventing exposure to COVID-19 is your best defense. Everyday practices to help protect you and prevent the spread of viruses include:
Wash your hands often
Wash your hands well, especially after coughing, sneezing or having any contact with someone who’s coughing or sneezing. Use soap and running water, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds and then rinse and dry your hands thoroughly. When soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Keep your hands away from your face
Avoid rubbing your eyes or putting your hands to your mouth until you’ve washed your hands.
Observe respiratory etiquette
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, throw away used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterward.
Clean high-touch surfaces
Frequently disinfect surfaces like door handles, light switches, and countertops.
What do I do if I feel sick?
If you begin to feel ill, even with mild symptoms, manage them as you would if you had the flu. Stay at home, in a separate room from your family if possible, and avoid public places until you recover. Rest, use fever reducers (if needed) and keep at least six feet away from other people when possible. If you develop a cough and/or have difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and travel history, and you’ll be advised how to best proceed.
Who is at higher risk of getting COVID-19?
According to the WHO, older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. Your healthcare provider can recommend additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
What do I do if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19?
In the U.S., COVID-19 can only be confirmed with a laboratory test. Outside of the U.S., sometimes COVID-19 is diagnosed based on symptoms only. If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should follow your healthcare provider’s instructions very closely, avoid public places and wear a mask if you have to be around other people. Those caring directly for you should wear masks when they are with you as well. You will need to practice self-isolation.
What is self-isolation?
If you are told to self-isolate or self-quarantine, you must stay in your home, preferably in a room away from the rest of your household members, wear a mask if you go out to the doctor’s office and avoid visitors. Anyone coming into your room should also wear a mask. You should continue to follow everyday illness prevention practices, include washing your hands often, covering coughs and sneezes and disinfecting your home environment.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is intentionally increasing the physical space between people (at least six feet), as well as minimizing social contact, to avoid spreading illness. Examples include avoiding crowds, working from home instead of going into the office and visiting with loved ones via electronic devices instead of in person.
Why is social distancing recommended?
In general, the larger the gathering, the more opportunities there are for person-to-person contact and therefore greater risk of spreading COVID-19 virus. A COVID-19 outbreak could last a long time in your community. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, public health officials may recommend specific actions, such as closing schools and public locations, in order to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19 and slow the spread of the disease. These mitigation strategies are particularly important in order to slow the transmission of disease in order to protect:
- Individuals at increased risk of severe illness, including older adults and persons of any age with underlying health conditions
- Healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces
Tell us what you feel your community Pharmacies near you should be doing to help spread the word on COVID-19?
Please note that Walgreens pharmacy Group in the USA is not affiliated with the WeCare Pharmacy Group in South Africa and that the article is just an information-sharing campaign to help stop the spread of coronavirus in South Africa, Africa, and the rest of the world. Together we can beat this!
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