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A Fearless Caregivers Guide to COVID-19

by Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Caregiver

To paraphrase an ancient Chinese Proverb, “May you live in interesting times”.  I know why this proverb is also known as an ancient curse!

To add to the challenges, we face as family caregivers on a daily basis, we also now need to navigate the torrent of information we are all receiving about the Coronavirus (also known as Covid-19).

First, I need to remind you that as with everything we face as family caregivers, we need to find our advice only from trusted authorities.  Nonsense such as gargling bleach or avoiding cold liquids or whatever plant-based remedies that are swinging around the internet are not to be followed. As the CEO of Caring for Your Loved, Inc, you need to only react to advice coming from your healthcare providers, the CDC, Mayo Clinic or other such bastions of healthcare truth.

So, let’s get into it:

What are coronaviruses?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO): Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

What’s all this talk about Covid-19?

Covid-19, was first encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has gone on to affect over 93,000 people in over 80 countries around the globe, causing over 3,000 deaths.

The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs, as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.

So, what can we do to try and avid contracting Covid-19?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty


What’s all this talk about face masks?

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Above all, as with all thing’s caregiving, knowledge is wisdom and isolation is not helpful to your role as a family caregiver. Stay aware, involved and calm.  You are after all, a Formidable and Fearless Caregiver.

This article is reposted with permission from the original publisher, caregiver.com

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