Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses that can cause illness in people. Human coronaviruses are not anything new — they are known all over the world and generally cause mild to moderate illnesses. The recent coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first seen in December 2019 in China. COVID-19 is likely more highly contagious than other coronaviruses like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
People that have underlying health conditions, including COPD, are at no higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in comparison to other people. But the thing is, they are much more likely to suffer serious complications if they become infected.
Transmission of Virus
Human coronaviruses are usually spread from close contact with an infected person to others through:
- the air, when someone coughs or sneezes
- any close personal contacts, such as touching or shaking hands with people
- touching an object or surface that has been previously exposed to the virus, and after that touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
Thus, the current coronavirus, COVID-19, seems to happen through respiratory transmission.
Most people who get infected with COVID-19 are likely to develop mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. Nevertheless, people who are more prone to infection can develop more severe disease. The most usual symptoms include fever, tiredness, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Some patients also report experiencing aches and pains, runny nose, nasal congestions, sore throat or diarrhea.
The scary part about coronavirus is that illness can begin 2 to 14 days after exposure. The symptoms are quite similar to those of influenza. But the consequences of COVID-19 could be more serious. That is why you are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately after you notice any symptoms. Around 80% of the infected with coronavirus recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Steps You Should Take if You are Living with COPD as Coronavirus Spreads
- Have at least a 30-day supply of your prescribed medications at all times.
- Make sure you stock up on everyday supplies. It’s best for you to not travel outside, so it would be ideal if someone can bring items to your home.
- Check with your oxygen supplier to see how it will handle COVID-19. Be certain that your routine oxygen needs will be met.
- Establish a COVID-19 hygiene routine for people entering your home like using hand sanitizer and hand washing. Anyhow, it would be most ideal to avoid all contact with people.
- Stay inside unless absolutely necessary, like if you must go to your health care provider. If you do go out, keep a 6-foot distance from others and wash your hands as often as you can.
Everyday Tips for Those Living with COPD For Further Protection Against Coronavirus
- 1. Wash your hands very often, even excessively with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice to make sure your hand washing lasts for the needed 20 seconds. Keep hand sanitizers close to you anytime.
- 2. Routinely clean surfaces in your home and don’t touch surfaces that could contain germs. This means to be very careful with using your telephone, the TV remote control, gym equipment, and the steering wheel of your car. Before you touch any of these items – disinfect them.
- 3. Now this one may seem simple, but it turns out it is harder than we imagine. Don’t ever touch your eyes, nose or mouth. And this is good advice not just in situations of the pandemic, but to practice it always.
- 4. Whenever you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue. It is also important to throw the tissue right away in the trash. And also, cough into your elbow instead of your hands.
- 5. Stay in your home as much as possible and avoid close contact with others who are sick. It is also smart to avoid contact with others who are not sick. Just in case.
- 6. Perhaps the best tip we can give you is regarding smoking. If still you have not quit smoking, this pandemic is one of the biggest reasons for you to do it. Do it now and give your respiratory system a break. If you contract COVID-19 you will need your respiratory system to be as strong as it can be.