Dr Ciaran Roarty of Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice in Letterkenny shares advice on what we can all do now to fight the spread of Covid-19.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus which causes the disease Covid-19 is the subject of daily conversations for all of us over the past few weeks.
The guidelines and rules that our Government have been forced to introduce in an attempt to “flatten the curve” are probably the most wide-ranging and severe that most of us have ever witnessed. Goverments all over the world are frantically buying Personal Protective Equipment, reagent for coronavirus tests and ramping up the capacity of their health care systems like never before. At the time of writing more measures are being discussed in this country and doctors, nurses, health care professionals and allied health care staff along with administrative staff are battling hard with this condition and planning for the worst case scenario.
So it’s important that we too do our bit to fight the spread of this condition.
So what can we do?
Well the directives and guidance from our government are clear. They all point to the same end result – minimising social contact with other people. This lessens the chance that you will spread the virus if you have it, and also reduce the chance of you getting the virus if you don’t.
We need to clean our hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public area, or have blown your nose or coughed or sneezed.
If soap and water are not available use hand sanitiser that has at least 60% alcohol.
It’s important to cover all of your hand’s surfaces – don’t forget the wrists, between the fingers and back of your hands. You should rub them together until they feel dry because it is this drying that kills the virus.
We should avoid touching our eyes nose and mouth with unwashed hands. It is amazing how many times we sub-consciously touch our face.
We should avoid close contact with people who are sick, unless we are tasked with their care, and follow the guidelines on hse.ie if we are sharing a household with someone who is self isolating.
We need to stay at home as much as possible, only leaving under the specific circumstances outlined by the Government.
Keeping distance between people helps, especially for someone who is at higher risk of getting very sick with Covid 19.
If you have an underlying health condition which affects your immune system or underlying heart or lung condition, previous stroke or heart attack or angina, hypertension, obesity, type 2 Diabetes, active malignancy in the last 5 years, chronic renal or liver disease, or are otherwise extremely medically vulnerable, or are taking immunosuppressive medication, you may be at increased risk of becoming very sick if you contract the virus.
Older people also seem to be at higher risk of serious illness with infection and this is the reason that “cocooning” of our over 70s has been introduced.
Unfortunately it is now thought that it is possible to spread the virus even if you do not feel unwell, ie in the early stages of infection. The World Health Organisation has previously advised that routine wearing of face masks by the general public was unnecessary.
However the USA based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has recently begun to advise wearing a cloth face covering (not at facemask meant for a health care worker) when out in public in order to prevent YOU from spreading the virus. We are learning and adapting all the time with this new disease.
We should remember our cough etiquette – use a tissue, dump it, and wash your hands if you have to sneeze or cough.
It’s important to clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces.
We need to keep ourselves informed by following reputable and updated websites such as hse.ie or your surgery’s Facebook page.
We need to remain positive, look out for one another, be kind and remember to follow the guidance that is advised. It is in all our interests.
Remember if you feel unwell, for whatever reason and need medical guidance and assistance, contact your GP or community pharmacist ( or Emergency Department in the case of an emergency) who are working tirelessly alongside practice nurses and administrative staff to make sure you are cared for.
Things may be a little different for a while at your local surgery or pharmacy, compared to what you have been used to, but they are there for you and will help.
The above information is intended as advice only and should you have any concerns please contact your own Doctor.
Dr Ciarán Roarty MB, BCh BAO MICGP DRCOG Grad. Cert. Obst. Ultrasound is a full-time GP at Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice , Scally Place, Letterkenny, Tel 0749164111