Protecting your family from COVID-19: Recommendations from ThedaCare and the CDC

Recommendations from ThedaCare and the CDC

The number of cases of the new Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues to increase in the United States, raising concerns among healthcare professionals.

“This new Coronavirus appears to be highly contagious,” said Dr. Jennifer Frank, Chief Medical Officer at ThedaCare. “We urge everyone to take extra measures to protect themselves, their families and especially older loved ones from this potentially serious disease.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 are mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing/shortness of breath. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these recommendations to protect your family:

  • Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy. Primarily, wash your hands often for a period of 20 seconds using soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as that is how the virus enters our bodies.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

Dr. Frank said there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. She notes the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person while in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” said Dr. Frank. “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

Dr. Frank noted it’s important to clean around homes and high-use areas.

“It is also believed the virus can live on hard surfaces for extended periods of times – perhaps as long as several days,” she said. “The CDC recommends that people clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes kids toys, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, computer keyboards and tablets, toilets, faucets and sinks.”

Dr. Frank also recommends using common household disinfecting wipes to remove germs from surfaces.

“Follow the directions for use, which state that the surface should remain wet for up to four minutes after wiping to be effective,” she said. “Or, as an alternative, use a bleach solution made with 1/3 cup of household bleach in one gallon of water to wipe surfaces down.”

Symptoms are believed to develop two to 14 days after exposure, Dr. Frank said.

“If you or someone in your family exhibits symptoms of the disease and needs medical attention, call your primary care provider,” she said. “Do not go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility without calling ahead. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the dispatcher that someone in your household may have COVID-19.”

Dr. Frank wants to remind the community that we should all be following guidelines of social distancing.

It’s important to stay informed about the virus, but not to become panicked, she added.