Americans may be tired of the pandemic, but the pandemic rests for no one.
Although most states have begun the reopening process in some capacity, the reality is that confirmed coronavirus cases across the U.S. are surging.
And while conditions like chronic sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics and cleared with a 10- to 14-day course of treatment, we have no treatment or vaccination as yet for COVID-19.
As such, we still need to take all necessary precautions to reduce our risk of infection and to reduce possible transmission.
We don’t know nearly enough about this virus or even whether testing is accurate enough to be helpful.
But what we do know is that prevention is worth a pound of cure — and since there’s no cure, prevention is really all we have.
If you can identify what to do to continue reducing your risk and what you should do if you think there’s a possibility you might have COVID-19, you can do your part to protect yourself and those around you.
How To Continue Reducing Your Risk of COVID-19
We already know that frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and mask-wearing are three of the main weapons we have against the spread of coronavirus.
And while your hair salon or favorite restaurant may be more than happy to welcome you back with open arms, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind.
You should still stay home and limit unnecessary trips as much as possible during this time.
Certain activities come with higher risks than others — for example, eating outdoors is generally considered to be a bit safer than going to church or a bar — but it’s not only about the amount of risk that you, personally, are comfortable with.
It’s also about how many people you might come into contact with (and who they might then come into contact with) and whether you’re willing to put your non-essential desires above someone else’s health.
New data suggests that much of the spread is happening through families, especially those who live in the same household.
But, of course, if you decide to attend a backyard barbecue with your extended family members and one person later starts experiencing symptoms, it’s possible that a huge group could become infected.
Hugging, shaking hands, and kissing on the cheek are definitely higher-risk behaviors.
Even if neither you nor a loved one feels ill, don’t forget that many are thought to be completely asymptomatic carriers.
It’s still best to keep your distance, to wear a mask, and to disinfect surfaces frequently.
The good news, though, is that COVID-19 isn’t likely to spread via blood transmission.
In other words, although 3.6 million open wounds are reported each year in the U.S., a fresh cut or scrape isn’t likely to become an entryway for coronavirus infection. (Still, you’ll probably want to wear bandages to prevent other types of infection and to keep your immune system as protected as possible!)
What To Do If You Think You Might Be Infected
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Even when someone does everything right, they can still be infected when others aren’t taking proper precautions.
And even if you aren’t among the 17.2% of Americans covered by Medicare (many of whom are elderly or who have other conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications), you can still suffer very serious symptoms.
We’ve already seen perfectly healthy and young people struggling several months after their initial infections, as well as tragic fatalities.
If you think you might be sick or you might have come into contact with someone who is, you’ll want to take swift action.
First, experts recommend you assess any symptoms you might be experiencing, including dry cough, headache, fever, or loss of taste and smell.
Be sure to monitor your symptoms and to isolate yourself at home.
Typically, you’ll be advised to quarantine for two weeks, particularly if you or someone you’ve come into contact with tests positive for COVID-19.
Medical professionals caution that obtaining a COVID-19 test too early may result in a false negative, so some recommend waiting up to a week after possible infection to officially confirm the results.
Whether you definitively have coronavirus or not, you should act as if you do and take precautions to avoid infecting others.
If you don’t live by yourself, it’s best to stay in a separate room away from other members of your household and to avoid sharing any household items.
In the event of an urgent medical situation, you should contact your medical provider or hospital beforehand and follow all instructions from your healthcare provider.
Many coronavirus patients experience breathing trouble, which is one symptom you should be watching out for when determining whether to seek medical help.
Keep in mind that many patients think they’re on the mend during the first week but that virus symptoms return with a vengeance (or start anew) during the second week.
Be sure to have a support system in place if you require the delivery of food or personal items during your illness, as well as potential caregiver plans for any children or pets in your home.
In terms of treating the symptoms of coronavirus, some medical professionals will recommend cold compresses, Tylenol, hydration, a healthy diet, and sleeping on one’s stomach for increased lung capacity.
And if you’ve been in contact with others, make sure to alert them to your status and have them prepare for quarantine and testing.
Although we’re all sick about hearing the latest coronavirus updates, COVID-19 is far from over.
And while it doesn’t help to panic, being prepared for the worst — and preventing the worst-case scenario, whenever possible — is often the best way to go.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to keep your risk relatively low and will know what to do if the potential infection does occur.