No-panic approach to being coronavirus ready

People, take a deep breath, please.

Yes, there are confirmed cases of COVID-19, the coronavirus, in Cuyahoga County.

First, the most important message about respiratory infections: If you’re sick, stay home. Call your doctor if needed.

Currently, we have no treatment or vaccines for it.

I want to bring you up to speed on three important preventative measures.

Hand wash or sanitizer?

Hand washing, done properly and regularly, removes germs and chemicals very well.

If soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) works for most microbes, including corona and flu viruses. Because alcohol kills by contact, make sure your hands are not too dirty or oily.

Face mask?

Wearing a mask helps if you’re trying to protect the world from you. Surgeons wear those thin, loose-fitting surgical masks in the hospital, partly so they can’t contaminate the surgical field.

The N95 masks, which filter microbes 95% of the time, work in hospital settings. Upon entering a COVID-19 quarantined room, doctors are not only masked, but gowned, gloved and full-face shielded. They discard everything before leaving the room.

Just putting on a face mask may not adequately protect you moseying about Crocker Park.

In a pinch, those P95 (the higher the number, the more effective) masks that you use to sand and dust in the garage may work.

Wiping surfaces?

When people cough, those large, wet droplets are unlikely to reach you if you’re more than three feet away.

The microscopic droplets, measured in microns, are worrisome. They enable many bacteria and viruses (including corona viruses) to travel and survive on surfaces for a long time.

So wiping commonly shared surface at work and home with disinfectant helps.

I’m guessing we’re in this for a long while. COVID-19 is more contagious than its sibling infections: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). For updates on local COVID-19 activities and other useful tips on surviving the COVID-19 crisis, visit the Ohio Department of Health's website:

By the way, today is a good day to update any vaccines like flu, pneumonia, pertussis that your doctors have been nagging you about. Really.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:49 AM, 03.10.2020