At the time of writing this, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic of novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Our CPR and first aid instructors work in the health industry, consisting of nurses, EMTs, and first responders, and we want to take the opportunity to share information to help you stay safe and healthy as well as what to do in a medical emergency during this time.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that get their name from the spikes on the surface of the virus that look like a crown. There are currently seven known types that affect humans, ranging from mild upper-respiratory illness, like a common cold to more severe strains, like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, meaning it’s a new strain of the coronavirus that has never been identified in humans before it was identified in an outbreak in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Due to its highly contagious nature, long incubation period, and many people with the virus not showing symptoms, the outbreak in Wuhan spread quickly thoughout the world, reaching pandemic (global outbreak in which the disease is spread from person-to-person through community spread) status on March 11, 2020.
Facts About COVID-19
With over 100,000 cases diagnosed in the United States at present, we know there is a lot of misinformation and while some people are struggling with anxiety and fear, some are dismissing it as just a cold or the flu. Here are the facts to help you stay safe:
Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus
- Fever (100.4°F or higher)
- Dry, unproductive cough
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can worsen and lead to severe complications, including pneumonia and organ failure. While those over the age of 60, people with chronic respiratory issues, and those who are immune-compromised are most at risk for severe complications, even healthy, younger people can be affected.
How is Novel Coronavirus Spread?
COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets, such as when someone sneezes or coughs, and another person either breathes them in or touches a contaminated virus and then touches their face (eyes, nose, or mouth). Anyone who is infected can spread the disease, including those who aren’t showing symptoms. In fact, someone could be contagious for 10 days before showing any symptoms or getting a fever.
Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus
While this is a highly contagious virus, there are ways you can protect yourself.
- Wash hands before eating, after using the restroom, and even after going out in public in case a contaminated surface was touched.
- Soap and water is the best way to get rid of the germs, but if you can’t wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Don’t go out unless it’s essential – going to work if you’re considered an essential employee, taking the dog out or getting exercise, getting groceries.
- Try to limit time spent in public spaces as much as possible – for example, if you’re getting groceries, avoid browsing clothing or home decor. Get what you need and check out quickly.
- If you do have to go to the grocery store or to work, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people.
- Don’t shake hands, give hugs, or high-five people who aren’t living in your house.
How to Treat a Medical Emergency
COVID-19 can be very mild, albeit uncomfortable – fever, body aches, and a dry cough. However, it can be life threatening for others. If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, call your doctor for guidance. If they aren’t severe, he or she will probably tell you to rest at home, stay hydrated, and stay in quarantine away from people you live with.
On the other hand, if symptoms become severe, such as you or someone in your family is having difficulty breathing to the point where holding a conversation or walking to the bathroom is difficult, you would want to call ahead and go to your emergency room or urgent care for evaluation.
As a CPR and first aid training center in Raleigh, we do want to share how to handle a medical emergency during the current pandemic. In the event that someone near you suffers cardiac arrest, you will immediately want to call 911. While it’s important to protect yourself during this time, if you are at a low-risk for complications (below 60, in good health with no pre-existing conditions), you can provide chest compressions safely. Whether you choose to provide rescue breaths is solely up to you and your comfort level.
Learn More About CPR Educators
During the current pandemic, we are not holding CPR training or on-site training classes. However, as soon as the risk is gone, we will have updated classes on our calendar. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call us at (919) 639-4848 or fill out the contact form below.