How to Protect Yourself Against (COVID-19) Coronavirus…

BY: Bri Marin and Sarita Gorrela CICN, Infectious Disease and Infection Control

You may be wondering if the 2020 COVID-19 aka (Coronavirus) is going to make its way into your life somehow? The spread across the United States is on the rise, so there is always that possibility. As a Hospital, we must keep up with sanitation and virus/disease prevention constantly, coronavirus or not. In the case the virus does make it into your community, or God forbid your body, our team of sanitation and infectious disease control experts, have compiled a list of protocols for you to follow. Both as precautionary and well…already infected measures. Transmission prevention guidelines are as follows:

Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:

-Stay home when you are sick

-Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit

-Limit movement in the community

-Limit visitors

Precautions at home:

-Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

-Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

-When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

-Follow cough ettiquette, always cover your cough and wash your hands thoroughly after 

-Place the person infected in a mask when coming in contact with uninfected person and maintain at least 6 feet distance

-Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; after using the bathroom, before eating, and before and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

-Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks).

-In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.

-If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.

-Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes.

-For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

-People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Keep in mind, these precautions will not deem you immune to the coronavirus or any other virus for that matter. They will however help lower your chances of infection and help slow the spread of infection. The more people that actively participate in these sanitation guidelines, the slower the virus will spread and the quicker it will eradicate.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus or are unsure, please don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention! UMMC Hospital is offering free drive through coronavirus screening to all of Houston and the surrounding areas.