What you need to know about COVID-19: It’s normal to be scared but don’t take it out on others
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the current outbreak of COVID-19, the new coronavirus, it’s normal to be scared, distressed or angry when hearing the constant stream of information about the virus. But the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reminding people not to turn that fear and anger towards people who have become sick.
A person should ask themselves:
- Would you think or do the same thing if this was a different infectious disease, like the flu?
- Does what I’m doing make people safer or does it create more fear or harm?
According to the CDPHE, the risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. Blaming others will not help fight the illness. Seeking and sharing accurate information will.
A person should recognize signs of stress. Identify what you are afraid of. Figure out if what you fear is something that you can address right now. If not, know what activities help you release energy from stress and fear, such as physical activity, listening to music or talking with someone you trust. Do something that puts you in a positive mood.
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People at higher risk
Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, according to CDPHE, including:
- People over age 60 and especially those over 80.
- People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, kidney disease or diabetes.
- Older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk.
Before immediately heading to the hospital, people who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 have several resources, including:
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is providing a phone line to answer questions from the public about COVID-19. Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 or email email@example.com for answers in English and Spanish, Mandarin and more.
- UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center offers Ask-A-Nurse, a 24/7 call line staffed by registered nurses who can assess symptoms and provide advice on seeking care. In Routt County, Ask-A-Nurse can be reached by calling 970-871-7878.
- Virtual Visits can be done from the comfort of your home and only require a computer or tablet with a working webcam, speakers and microphone, or a smartphone.
- If patients are experiencing severe symptoms or having difficulty breathing, they should visit the hospital’s emergency department.
Take precautions in everyday life:
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Be calm but be prepared.
- People who are not sick do not need face masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
- Ill people should wear a mask to protect family members or in any scenario where needed to prevent the spread of germs.
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