Understanding COVID-19

What Is COVID -19?

  • A new respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China.
    • From the CDC: There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
  • Symptoms
    • Initial symptoms may include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
    • Emergency Warning Signs
      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or inability to arouse
      • Bluish lips or face
      • Conjunctivitis

How Do You Get It?

Person to person transmission appears to be the most common way that COVID – 19 spreads. This could be through close contact, touching contaminated surfaces, or respiratory droplets from coughing, crying and sneezing.

How To Prevent It?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well, wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • For more information, see CDC’s Handwashing website
    • For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

Who Is At A Higher Level Of Risk? 

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

What To Do If You Think You Have It?

  • Contact your healthcare provider.
    • Calling first to discuss options is the best course of action. Remember you may have to advocate to get tested if you are at high risk of complications.
    • Many insurers are covering COVID-19 testing and virtual visits without a co-pay
  • Contact MUSC Health Virtual Visit
    • MUSC recommends that if you are concerned you may have COVID-19, speak to an online virtual care provider.
    • MUSC Health is offering free virtual care (https://campaigns.muschealth.org/virtual-care/index.html) consultations and screenings to anyone experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms located in South Carolina with the promo code COVID19, for both new and existing patients.
    •  if you have immediate health concerns and wish to speak to a medical professional, MUSC recommends a virtual care visit to speak to a provider online.
    • You can also call 843-792-7000 for more information. MUSC Health Virtual Care can be accessed by phone, online, or through chats.
    • Prisma Health is also offering free virtual visits: they are available daily from 8am-8pm. Patients can go to prismahealth.org/virtual-visit and then use promo code “covid19sc.”
  • I’m waiting on my COVID-19 test results. What do I do?

What If You Are At A Higher Risk Of Getting Very Sick From COVID-19?

It is important to be aware of potential risks so that you can be prepared and have plans in place in case you, a family member, or caregiver becomes ill.

CDC recommends the following:

  • Stock up on supplies -contact your healthcare provider to look into the possibility of obtaining extra medications in case you need to stay home for an extended period of time due to an outbreak in your community.

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