What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Reported symptoms include fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, headache, and diarrhea. The WHO has estimated that 1 in 6 people with COVID-19 will have a more severe illness that will include shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Now, those milder symptoms could also describe this year’s influenza illness or even just the common cold. The takeaway message here…not every cough, fever or body ache is COVID-19. However, if you have fever, cough and any difficulty breathing, you need to call your medical provider immediately for guidance on where to be evaluated.
Should I wear a mask in public?
As we are learning more about COVID-19, the recommendations for wearing a mask in public have changed. Initially, masks were only recommended for those who had coronavirus. We now know that many people who have COVID-19 can be asymptomatic with no obvious symptoms, and we also know that people are likely to be able to spread the virus before they start showing symptoms. With this new information, the CDC made a recommendation on April 3, 2020, that everyone should wear a NON-SURGICAL, cloth mask when going out to necessary public places (remember you should not be going around the town for non-essential trips anyway). This can be a mask sewn with fabric, a bandana to cover the nose and mouth, or there is even a video on the CDC website with the Surgeon General showing how to easily make a mask at home. Please note that surgical masks and especially N95 masks are NOT recommended for the public as there is already a frightening shortage of these supplies which are vital for our healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic.
How about wearing gloves in public places?
Think about this scenario…you put on latex gloves to go grocery shopping. With your gloves on, you touch the shopping cart and your groceries. You then reach in your purse to pull out your phone which has your shopping list. You then get out your wallet to pay for the groceries. When you load all the bags into your car, you then take off your gloves. If you are like most people, you will probably then touch your phone before starting your drive home (remember you touched that same phone with your gloves on). Then you touch the steering wheel to drive home. Once home you take the bags out of the car and unpack your groceries. Again, remember you had on those gloves when you were touching these items before. Hopefully, you can see that you are just causing the same contamination with gloves while probably giving yourself a false sense of security. The bottom line here…gloves are not needed. Please just make sure to wash your hands (all the time, 20 seconds each time) and wipe down surfaces such as your phone especially if you have been out in public.