Listen and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts - use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Practice good hygiene:
Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
Avoid touching your face.
Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
April 11 Posting
Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 if you are Sick
Follow the steps below: If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation
Stay away from others: As much as possible, you stay away from others. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible, and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
See COVID-19 and Animals is you have questions about pets.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
Call ahead: Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
If you are sick wear a facemask in the following situations, if available.
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask, if available, when you are around other people (including before you enter a healthcare provider’s office).
If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then as their caregiver, you should wear a facemask when in the same room with them. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.
Note: During a public health emergency, facemasks may be reserved for healthcare workers. You may need to improvise a facemask using a scarf or bandana.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing personal household items
Do not share: Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
Clean high-touch surfaces in your isolation area (“sick room” and bathroom) every day; let a caregiver clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in other areas of the home.
Clean and disinfect: Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the bathroom.
High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
Monitor your symptoms
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and cough. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention, but call first.
Call your doctor or emergency room before going in and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
Wear a facemask: If available, put on a facemask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a facemask, cover your coughs and sneezes. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people in the office or waiting room.
Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department: Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
April 15 Posting
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
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.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.
How to discontinue home isolation
People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers) AND
other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers) AND
other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND you received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.
April 22 Posting
When and How to Wash Your Hands
During the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
How Germs Spread
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
Touch a contaminated surface or objects
Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
Key Times to Wash Hands
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:
After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies.
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use.
How to use hand sanitizer
Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
Rub your hands together.
Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
CDC’s Handwashing Campaign: Life is Better with Clean Hands
CDC’s Life is Better with Clean Hands campaign encourages adults to make handwashing part of their everyday life and encourages parents to wash their hands to set a good example for their kids. Visit the Life is Better with Clean Hands campaign page to download resources to help promote handwashing in your community.
For more information on handwashing, visit CDC’s Handwashing website or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
April 24 Posting
Should you see a doctor regarding COVOD 19?
Have you traveled outside the U.S. in the last two weeks?
Have you been in close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19?
Do you have a fever greater than 100 degrees?
A fever alone is not an indication you need to be tested for COVID-19. But if you're traveled or come in contact with a COVID-19-positive person, you need to be tested.
Call your medical provider first and get instructions on how to report for a test. They will advise you going to a clinic or an emergency room or not.
Nebraska Medicine links to a number of additional resources here if you’re interested: https://www.nebraskamed.com/patients/covid19
April 29 Posting
5 Ways to Manage Stress During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Tips for preventing a mental meltdown
As the events surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak unfold, it’s understandable that you might begin to feel increasing stress.
Information is rapidly changing and can be confusing, overwhelming and even scary. You may experience fear and spikes in anxiety. But even if you’re managing your anxiety levels well, there’s still so much more to deal with.
Whether it’s dealing with at-risk family members or patients, a roller coaster economy, trying to juggle work, keeping kids occupied or homeschooling while schools are closed, or simply adjusting to a new, unfamiliar situation, stress can easily pile up and negatively impact you — both physically and mentally.
Clinical psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD, ABPP, stresses the importance of planning coping activities. “America is the engine of ingenuity,” she says. “Let’s be innovative. This is a time where we can really be creative and come up positive coping skills.”
5 steps for managing your stress
Exercise regularly. While gyms are closed and social distancing guidelines are in place, it’s still possible to get in aerobic exercise, like walking, running, hiking or playing with your kids/pets, all can help release endorphins (natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude). And there are other exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home. Dr. Sullivan recommends yoga and stretching as one way to both exercise your body and calm your mind and it’s easy to do by yourself.
Maintain a healthy diet. Stress can adversely affect both your eating habits and your metabolism. The best way to combat stress or emotional eating is to be mindful of what triggers stress eating and to be ready to fight the urge. “If you are someone who is prone to emotional eating, know your triggers, know what stresses you out and be prepared,” Dr. Sullivan says. Keeping healthy snacks on hand will help nourish your body, arming yourself nutritionally to better deal with your stress. “Helping to regulate your blood sugar throughout the day is going to keep your body stable and your emotions on a much better playing field,” Dr. Sullivan says.
Take a break. “As humans we want control over our lives and in this situation, so we have to learn to manage lack of control,” says Dr. Sullivan. While it’s important to stay informed of the latest news and developments, the evolving nature of the news can get overwhelming. Find a balance of exposure to news that works for you. This is particularly important for our children. We need to limit their exposure to the media and provide age-appropriate information to them. Whenever reasonably possible, disconnect physically and mentally. Play with puzzles, a board game, do a treasure hunt, tackle a project, reorganize something, or start a new book that is unrelated to coronavirus coverage.
Connect with others. “I can’t stress enough how important connection is during times of uncertainty and fear,” Dr. Sullivan says. “Fear and isolation can lead to depression and anxiety. We need to make a point to connect with others regularly.” Reach out to family members, friends and colleagues regularly via phone, text, FaceTime or other virtual platforms. Make sure that you are checking on those that are alone. Check in regularly with your parents, grandparents and your children.
Get sleep and rest. The ever-changing news environment can create a lot of stress, stress that gets amplified when you don’t get enough sleep. It’s especially important now to get the recommended amount of sleep to help you stay focused on work and on managing the stress the current outbreak can bring. Dr. Sullivan recommends avoiding stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bed. If you still find yourself too stressed to sleep, consider developing a new pre-bedtime routine, including a long bath or a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea. And planning for tomorrow earlier in your day can help alleviate stress related to what’s to come.
Following these steps to manage stress and add a sense of normalcy can go a long way to help you cope with the ever-changing environment and help keep those around you, especially children, calm and focused. If you are not able to manage your anxiety or depression on your own, reach out to a behavioral medicine provider for an in-person or virtual visit. “Take care of yourself and others around you,” says Dr. Sullivan.