COVID-19, formally known as the novel coronavirus, is a virus that causes respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases difficulty breathing. It spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It can also spread when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
For most, the infection will cause mild symptoms. Older adults and those with severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.
Those who are at a higher risk should avoid non-essential travel and outings. If you have a friend or family member who can run your errands (grocery shopping, pickup prescriptions, etc.) it can reduce your exposure to the virus. If you must leave your house, you should keep 6 feet between you and others and frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
Everyone can help protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by:
- Staying home as much as possible, this includes limiting those into your home such as playdates or gatherings of friends.
- Limiting going into public places frequently (make a list and shop for groceries and/or supplies once a week, attend online church services, call your friends rather than meeting, etc.).
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you are sick, stay home! If you must go to the doctor for care, call ahead to alert them of your symptoms. Everyone with respiratory symptoms should isolate at home until the three following guidelines are met:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (3 full days) without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Other symptoms have improved (cough, shortness of breath, etc.).
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
For the latest information, visit the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx or LBPHD on Facebook (Loup Basin Public Health Department) or our website (lbphd.org).