March 18, 2020 by John Fernandez
Coronavirus Q&A: Facts You Need to be Prepared
It’s important that everyone gets accurate information about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. Baptist Health South Florida has put together a quick ‘Q&A’ with the facts you need to be prepared. Sergio Segarra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Baptist Hospital, provides the answers. Watch the video now, or read the transcript below.
Queston: What is COVID-19?
Dr. Segarra: The “2019 Novel Coronavirus,” or COVID-19, is a new virus that originated in China in December and has been spreading around the world. The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Some people don’t develop any symptoms at all.
Question: Who is most at risk?
Dr. Segarra: Most people who get COVID-19 will experience mild, cold-like symptoms. Eighty percent will recover at home without needing special treatment. Up to 20 percent of people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill with pneumonia-like symptoms. Adults over 60 who have underlying medical problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or lung issues are the most likely to get seriously ill from the virus.
Question: How does it spread?
Dr. Segarra: The virus can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 coughs or exhales, these droplets land on surfaces nearby. You can catch COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface, then then touching your eyes, nose or mouth – or by breathing in these respiratory droplets directly.
Question: How can you protect yourself?
Dr. Segarra: Frequent and proper handwashing is the best way to avoid getting COVID-19. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based gel or liquid hand sanitizers. Try to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and keep a distance of 6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.
Question: What about wearing a mask?
Dr. Segarra: Public health officials recommend that people should not wear a mask if they are healthy and don’t have symptoms.
Question: When and how should I seek medical help?
Dr. Segarra: If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing call your doctor or your county health department. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to direct you to the right health facility.
If your symptoms are severe, seek medical help immediately.
Baptist Health South Florida is encouraging people who may be experiencing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 to stay home and see a doctor from their smartphone, tablet or computer via the Baptist Health Care On Demand app.