The rapid spread of COVID-19 frightened many Americans in the last few weeks. There are four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee as of writing, none of which are in Knoxville. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Here are some actions you can take to avoid the coronavirus or illnesses like it. All recommendations are provided by the Center for Disease Control.
Make a plan
The CDC emphasizes planning over all else. The process of fighting and recovering from a COVID-19 outbreak would be long-term. It’s a lot easier to remain calm in this situation when you already have a plan in place, so don’t let it sneak up on you.
Talk with your roommates, household members, relatives and friends about what do if any of you become sick. Know who is most susceptible to the virus and plan ways to care for them in case of sickness, meet with your neighbors and discuss an emergency plan, create emergency contact lists and research your local aid organizations in order to better prepare yourself.
Practice basic hygiene
Maintaining a basic level of hygiene and cleanliness is still the best way to stay healthy. While N95 masks and other medical equipment can prevent transmission, little things are most effective. The following are a few small measures to prevent disease.
Do not touch your face
Viruses commonly enter the body via the mouth, nose and eyes. Your hands come in contact with a lot of dirty surfaces throughout the day, and that leads to a lot of harmful bacteria gathering around the area. The habit may be a hard one to break, but it is worth it.
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds at a time
If soap and water are not currently available, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol. Proper hand sanitization reaches all areas of the hand — the palms, the back, in-between the fingers, under the nails and at the wrist. Pay special attention to under your nails, as that area frequently hosts unhealthy bacteria.
Always wash your hands after using the restroom, before eating, after getting your hands visibly dirty and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.
Similarly, clean frequently touched surfaces daily
This includes tables, counter tops, cabinets, doorknobs, light switches and other household items.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue whenever you sneeze or cough
The CDC doesn’t know everything about COVID-19 transmission, but they do know it spreads from person-to-person via close physical contact or inhalation of cough and sneeze residue. Traditionally less threatening illness like the common cold can weaken one’s immune system and make one more susceptible to infection, so make aims to not spread anything to anyone, even if it isn’t the coronavirus.
Stay home if you are sick
There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Knoxville. However, symptoms don’t show always show themselves and any sickness could weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to the disease.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include high fever, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. Current estimates say symptoms appear two to 14 days after exposure. Contact a medical professional, get their diagnosis and remain at home if you exhibit any of these symptoms.
Calling in sick protects both you and your colleagues from infection and rebuilds your immune system before to returning to work or school. Talk with your teachers and supervisors about your time off, explain the situation and find ways to work from home.
You’ll need food if you go away for an extended period, so calculate your needs and buy accordingly.
Disease doesn’t occur in a vacuum. No matter what happens, rest assured there are medical experts working to halt the virus’ advance.
Sources like the CDC regularly publish on the current state of the coronavirus and its spread through the US. The Knox County Health Department is continually testing and researching COVID-19 and its potential presence in Knoxville.
Keep updated on the situation and adjust your plans accordingly. That’s the best way to counter any serious outbreak.
This was only a summary of a much larger list of steps and precautions. If you’d like more details or information about how to avoid COVID-19, please visit the Center of Disease Control website.
If you’re an employer who’d like to enhance workplace prevention, visit the CDC guide.
For more information about the coronavirus in Knox County, read the Knox County Health Department situation summary.