COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Facts Not Fear
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. However, the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that began in December 2019 is a novel virus, which means it has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that has been detected in almost 70 locations internationally. It is believed to be spread through person-to-person contact and, in these types of conditions, illness is spread through coughing or direct contact. That is why it is important to follow the common practices listed below to kill germs that may be spread.
The symptoms are very similar to the flu and include mild to severe respiratory illness with a fever and cough and/or shortness of breath. The symptoms can present from two to 14 days after exposure.
Because this virus is relatively new, there is not currently a vaccine to provide immunity from the virus (like there is for the flu). As a result, the best way to avoid getting this – or any virus – is to ensure common practices that eliminate germs or keep you from being exposed to germs. These activities include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Twenty seconds is the recommended amount of time to fully cleanse your hands.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissues are available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.
What do I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
Please do not go to the Emergency Room or a doctor’s office.
If you suspect that you may have the Coronavirus, Call the Iowa Department of Public Health at 515-281-7689 OR Call Either Emergency room. A nurse will help you determine your appropriate next step.
I am Pregnant, Should I travel right now?
There are no pregnancy specific recommendations by the CDC, Public Health or our office.
As of 3/12/2020 there are five countries around the world which the U.S. CDC have identified as being a high risk for the spread of Coronavirus: China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that anyone who visits those countries voluntarily self-isolates for 14 days upon their return.
We would recommend that you not travel outside of the U.S. if possible.
We would recommend all non-essential travel be avoided at this time, but if you must travel then please remember your proper hand hygiene.
If you have further questions or concerns, please refer to the CDC website at www.CDC.gov