Lori Lookabill, the Lewiston School district nurse, shared her tips on reducing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 this winter.
COVID-19 cases are rising across the U.S, especially with this colder weather. Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing as well, and it has never been more important to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, avoid crowds and wash hands often, she said.
It’s also vital to understand that anyone can contract the coronavirus, even healthy young adults and children. Wearing a mask is critical, but specifically one with two or more fabric layers that fit snugly against the sides of the face. Wearing it properly, covering the mouth and nose, is the only way it will be useful and protect others, Lookabill said.
Masks are significant in stopping the spread of coronavirus, she said, but there are wrong ways to do it. For example, adults should not put masks on someone two years or younger, and no one should wear a mask if they are having trouble breathing or cannot remove the mask themselves. She recommends that, for everyday use, people should not wear masks that are intended for healthcare workers, such as N95s.
For anyone who is wearing a face shield instead of a mask, Lookabill recommended choosing one that wraps around the sides of face and extends below your chin. Limited data suggest these types of face shields are better at preventing respiratory droplets from reaching the eyes, nose, and mouth, she added. People should wash their hands before and after removing the face shield, and the shield should be cleaned and disinfected with each use, according to CDC guidelines.
Being infected with COVID-19 can be a scary time, and knowing how to get treatment is relieving. Most people can recover at home with only a mild illness, and isolation is paramount in stopping the spread. Anyone who is ill with COVID-19 should get care immediately if they have emergency warning signs, such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest.
People who have symptoms and would like to get tested should call their healthcare provider first, Lookabill said. Local symptomatic testing location options include:
• Tri-State Minor Care, Clarkston, 509-769-2200
• CHAS Health Clinic, Lewiston, 208-848-8300
Lookabill added that coping with stress during these challenging times can be good for a person’s health. She recommended unwinding by doing yoga, listening to music, gardening, or anything enjoyable, along with finding new ways to connect with loved ones. She added that eating healthy foods and getting enough rest is vital to overall health.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for include: fever, cough, headaches, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea and diarrhea.