What’s up everybody! Today’s post is gonna be a little different than most of what I share on this blog. However since this is a health and fitness blog, I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge what’s going on around us!
These feel like pretty scary times, put aside the virus itself for a minute. Government reactions, school and public venue closings, food hoarding and TP shortages. This is NOT business as usual for human beings. Add to this the unreliableness (is that even a word?) of the media, and you get a cocktail for fear and overreaction. So today, I thought I’d offer my thoughts, and try to share some valuable information to help all of you (hopefully) feel a little better about things.
The Virus Itself
First, let’s talk about the name, and what this thing is. I personally wish they had a better name for it than “The Cornavirus”. It’s not “The” its “A” coronavirus. there are lots of these suckers out there. According to the World Health Organization:
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
So let’s recognize that this isn’t a new thing, it’s just that this particular strain (19) is a new one in humans. For me, I’m hopeful that spring weather kills this particular nastiness off. It certainly seems to handle the common cold, and in the past, it’s also gotten rid of MERS and SARS. While that’s certainly no guarantee, as an optimist, that gives me hope!
This is not a nice coronavrus (duh). It spreads very quickly, and spreads before you’re even showing symptoms, so even if you’re feeling healthy, you’re likely to infect someone else if you’re infected and just don’t know it yet.
The other frightening fact is that the risk for death from this is so high. Some areas in Wuhan reported as high as a 12% mortality rate, but other areas had lower than a 1% rate. The overall average, however seems to be somewhere around 3-4%. Still a high number when you’re talking about something so easily passed, but before you freak out, how would you feel if I told you there was a 4% chance of rain tomorrow? You’d likely ask why I was telling you, and probably wouldn’t even bring an umbrella with you tomorrow. Clearly there are two very different outcomes from these scenarios, but the percentages are the same.
I think the message here is that while yes, this is very serious, don’t lose your head. Even if you get sick, you have an extremely good chance of being one of the people who experiences a mild case.
So how do you know if your sick with this thing? I mean, it’s cold and flu season, how do you know if you should just cocoon up in your home for a few days with a cold and ride this out on the couch, or if you should seek medical attention? This is one of the things that bothers me so much with the media coverage of this. I’ve seen plenty of fear based statistics with not a lot of helpful information for the average guy or gal!
Thankfully, the Center for disease control has a great website filled with FACTS about this virus. Regarding symptoms – you can go here: COVID19 Symptoms or for the cliff’s notes, just click on the image below.
And what should you do if you ARE infected with COVID19? Again, the CDC to the rescue in the image below:
Tips and Suggestions
- Wash your hands. I know, this is a “duh” one that we’ve all heard repeated to death. Be fastidious about this though, don’t just sloppily splash some soap and water on your hands and rinse. Wash each finger, the front and back of your hands, between each finger and your fingertips / nails. Wash each surface for 5-10 seconds and use warm water to rinse.
- Related to #1 – stop buying all the freaking hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is effective from what I’ve read, but hand washing is superior. Sanitizer should only be used if you need to wash your hands and don’t have access to a sink – which lets face it, for most of us, is rare. Soap is also a LOT easier on your skin than sanitizer, so give your skin a break.
- Stop wearing masks. From what I’ve read, this is NOT helping you stay healthy. In fact, wearing a mask may put you at a higher risk as you’re not used to wearing one, and will probably touch your face with potentially unclean hands more adjusting the mask.
- Eat Right. Maybe you’ve slacked on this before (certainly not if you’re a frequent reader of this blog – right? RIGHT?!). Getting good nutrition helps keep your immune system strong, increasing the likelihood that if you DO get the virus it will not be as severe.
- Get proper sleep. The same reasons as #4. getting proper rest helps your immune system stay strong.
- Exercise regularly. I sound like a broken record here, but again, a healthy body means a healthy immune system. Yes, in many places, gyms are closed, but workout from home, go on walks, take up jogging, but get outside if the weather is nice and move that body. Try a home yoga class – there’s a lot of options online that you can subscribe to to workout from home (Beachbody on demand comes to mind!)
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. this is not so much for your health, but for others. This virus is spread person to person through droplets of ick when a person coughs or sneezes that may contain the virus.
- If you know someone elderly, don’t visit them. It sounds mean, but the elderly are particularly at risk from this virus. Since you may be infected before showing symptoms, visiting a loved one may actually infect them, and if you really care about an elderly person in your life, you’re doing them a favor by not visiting – and possibly infecting – them.
- If you know someone elderly, help them out. Contrary to what I just said, if you have an elderly neighbor, or family member, check on them by phone. Many are afraid to leave their homes, see if they need groceries, or medicine from the pharmacy. Pick it up for them, and drop it off so they don’t need to go out and expose themselves.
- Stop being assholes. I’m sorry, but someone needed to say it. I sincerely hope that this point doesn’t apply to you, but many people are overreacting to this. They’re hoarding toilet paper and canned goods. I saw one woman at the store the other day with a cart FILLED with diet cokes – I can only presume she bathes in the stuff, because otherwise, who needs that much diet coke?
The long and short is yes, these are scary times, but keep your head about you. Many of us worldwide are being asked to stay at home and isolate. It’s important that we do this – not to protect ourselves, but to lessen the likelihood that a LOT of people get infected with this all at once and overburden our hospitals capability to deal with this effectively. What is happening in countries like Italy is awful, and my prayers go out to them. Let’s all do our part to stay healthy, and curb the spread as much as we can. Be kind to each other, look out for the elderly, don’t overreact and we’ll all be just fine. Hopefully in a few months, most of us will breath a big sigh of relief and have some stories to tell our kids and grand kids one day.
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