Info About Coronavirus
Additional Information From Dr. Haines and The Eye Center
We are in the midst of a PANDEMIC with the Coronavirus. The last significant pandemic was the 2009 Swine Flu which killed 200,000 people. Prior to which the 1918 Spanish Flu in which 50 million people are believed to have died. The Black Death or The Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351 was thought to have wiped out half of Europe, more than 75 million people perished.
While these are alarming statistics public health measures have advanced significantly to have stemmed the outbreaks and fatalities.
What we know about the coronavirus or COVID-19 and the response taken should alert all of us to contain, end the scourge and resume our lives, much the wiser for future pandemics.
It is therefore important that we do not panic. This is simply a phase in our history that will pass. But we do need to take as many precautions as possible.
It is also critically important to understand that this is not just a phenomenon in the US. This is a global pandemic that is causing entire countries to shut down and quarantine their populations as precautionary measures.
Coronavirus is a part of a large family of viruses that are present in many animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. A virus is a naked strand of DNA or RNA that must be contained in an animal host. It can not live freely in the environment.
Having said that it can survive for hours or longer on phones, keyboards, countertops or door handles. And according to our best information, a person can become infected and not show symptoms for 2-14 days, which means that a person can be infected without showing signs for a significant time. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. There have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How Do We Catch the Coronavirus (from Centers for Disease Control)?
- The virus is spread by close contact with an infected person. People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. But again, an infected person may show no signs of being infected.
- Respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can spread through the air as well as from touching things that were contaminated by others who have it, in addition to direct person-to-person contact.
- Touching a surface or an object that has the virus and then touching our mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the symptoms (from Centers for Disease Control)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Those populations who are most at-risk (from Centers for Disease Control)
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Simple measures can stop the spread and keep us safe (from the World Health Organization)
- Wash your hands with soap and water after being in a public place.
- Use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable. If you cannot find hand sanitizer in stores, you can make your own with aloe vera and rubbing alcohol.
- Use sanitizer to wipe down all surfaces in your home, car or objects you touch on a frequent basis. If you cannot find sanitizer available for purchase, you can make your own with household bleach and water: 1 tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water. If you do not have bleach but have rubbing alcohol, you can make a sanitizer using 3/4 cup of rubbing alcohol and 1/4 cup water (NOTE: Using this mixture as a substitute for hand sanitizer can be harsh on hands).
- Avoid touching your face (this is a good habit anyway for all transmission of disease)
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid condensed public areas
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Get lots of sleep
- Drink plenty of hydrating fluids
- Practice healthy eating habits through nutrient-rich foods
Measures We Are Taking at The Eye Center
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces including slit lamps, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- All magazines have been discarded from the waiting room.
- If you are sick, DO NOT COME IN, RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.
- If you have an eye emergency and feel you have respiratory symptoms, we will arrange to meet you in the emergency room.
- Wear a mask if you are sick, otherwise, it is not recommended as a preventative measure.
- Many resources and updates are available online at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site and the World Health Organization (WHO) web site.
We are always available to answer any questions. Thank you.