Updated: Jul 21, 2020
COVID-19. Let's break it down. This robot-sounding word stands for 'corona' (for CO) virus (for 'VI') disease (for 'D'). This virus was originally identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Most of you have felt the effects of this pandemic (a global outbreak of a disease) through the closing of your school, your sports club, or your after-school activities.
You may be feeling discouraged right now with everything being so jumbled and confusing. Keep on reading to find out what you can do during this weird time.
How does it spread?
This airborne virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, which happens when you sneeze or cough. When these droplets land in your mouth or nose or if you breathe them in, you will become infected. Another way you can get sick is if you touch the droplets (which can be on your phone, your TV remote, or even your clothes) and proceed to touch your face. The best method to prevent from getting sick is to stay 6 feet away from other people and to wash your hands. This is about as long as a bed!
So far, there is no evidence that this virus can travel through food. However, you should still refrain from eating out or going through a drive-through. You never know if your server, plate, or fork is contaminated!
(Don't be like Patrick)
Now let's imagine...
How fast does this spread, you may ask? Let's imagine a person named Jane. Jane LOVES to shop. She will happily spend hours and hours browsing through the clearance aisles of American Eagle, trying to find a good deal. Last weekend, Jane decided to take her weekly trip to the mall. While picking out a pair of new shoes, the box she touched was already inhabited by a tiny and invisible virus. You guessed it, it was COVID-19. Now, this virus was ALL over her hands.
Later in the food court, she got lazy and decided not to wash her hands before picking up her burger. The virus that was once on her hands was now in her mouth. Without knowing that was sick, she went about the rest of her week going to her friends' house, the grocery store, Olive Garden, and the gym.
At each location, she infected five people. These five people would then unknowingly infect ANOTHER five people. Do you see where this is going? Realistically, the numbers are closer to ten or twenty people. It shows that you must practice good hygiene and stay away from other people (even your friends!) during this dangerous time.
COVID-19 symptoms tend to be similar to the common cold's or the flu's. However, due to its airborne route of transmission, it spreads much easier. Common symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
In more severe cases (in which you should get medical attention immediately), symptoms include:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Bluish lips or face
These symptoms can lay dormant for up to 14 days, so it's important to practice social distancing so that you don't unknowingly infect others.
How do I stay healthy?
There are many ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Currently (as of April 2020), There is no vaccine for the Coronavirus. However, you can practice the following habits:
I know how badly you want to see your friends. Me too! However, the absolute best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Duh, you may be thinking. I know you know this. Let me just elaborate, so humor me for a bit...
Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 may even be spread by people NOT showing symptoms. Crazy, right? These symptoms stay dormant for days after infection. This means that even your best friend who seems perfectly healthy may be a carrier.
This virus is spread mainly from person-to-person. By staying 6 feet away from others (and that includes your friend), it's difficult for a virus-carrying droplet to land into your nose, mouth, or eyes!
Wash your hands, bro!
Washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap will eliminate the germs that are on your hands. This is especially important if you have just been in a public place, have handled a foreign object (ex. your Amazon package), or have sneezed or coughed. If you don't have soap or water, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub it into all surfaces of your hands until they feel dry.
Click here to see what proper hand washing looks like
Cover your mouth and nose
Did you know that you can spread COVID-19 even if you don't feel sick? The best way to stop the spread of your germs is to wear a face mask. While wearing one to prevent getting sick isn't 100% effective, it's still better than nothing. Remember, a face mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
Clean and disinfect
Remember how Jane got sick because she touched a contaminated shoe box? You can keep your home clean by disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. You know the TV remote you use every day? Yeah, clean that. And your bedroom doorknob? Ditto. Oh, and don't forget about your phone (I know you're watching Tiktoks all day). Use rubbing alcohol, bleach (make sure you dilute it), hydrogen peroxide, or disinfecting wipes.
Stay safe, y'all!