The positive news that an effective COVID-19 vaccine has hit the market and will be available relatively soon to everyone who wants it, is the best messaging we’ve heard since the dangerous and often deadly coronavirus enveloped the entire world last spring.
As happy as many of us are to have renewed hope that life as we’ve always known it may get back to normal sometime in the near future, it will still be quite a while before everyone will have access to the vaccine that will hopefully free us from this horrible virus that has caused suffering for millions of people.
Until that time arrives, it’s up to all of us to help the overburdened health care community by continuing to do all we can to keep from contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others and now is the perfect time for a refresher course on how to keep COVID-19 at bay until we “flatten the curve” for good.
The most important and effective thing we can all do is stay home as much as possible and work to reduce the number of errands we run. Always keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with and reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 by getting takeout food instead of dining in restaurants.
While wearing masks has certainly grown tiresome, a recent report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington found that if 95 percent of Americans wore masks, almost 70,000 lives could have been saved. Masks should cover both one’s nose and mouth, and should fit snugly with no gaps.
Washing your hands frequently is still one of the most basic and effective things you can do. Work up a good lather and scrub your hands, fingers and under your nails for at least 20 seconds. Use clean, running water to thoroughly rinse, then dry them thoroughly.
Health experts say that if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 the symptoms – if they show up at all – will most likely appear within a week or so. According to the CDC, any or all symptoms can appear between two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
People who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. If you are ill with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your health center or clinic before coming to your appointment. If you are an Eskenazi Health patient, please call 317.880.7666 before coming to your appointment. Health care professionals are available 24/7 to answer questions on symptoms and direct you to the most appropriate care. It is important to first call before arriving at Eskenazi Health.
Robert Gonzalez, M.D.
Pediatrician at Eskenazi Health