COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is a new respiratory disease, that has not previously been seen before. A lot of people have questions about this new virus and how to protect themselves and their loved ones from it. In this blog post, we will cover some general information about COVID-19, a few tips for staying safe during this difficult time, ways to stay healthy and active at home, and resources where you can get credible information.
COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms of this infection can appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
- Cough and shortness of breath, and
- In severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).
Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
You can always find the most updated information about COVID-19 at www.mass.gov/COVID19.
Protecting your health
Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Another great way to stay healthy is to cook from home as much as possible. Take a look at our recipe database to find low-cost cooking ideas and check out our cooking tips page if you’re new and looking for a few pointers to get you started on preparing your own meals.
If you are home with your kids during this time, please take a look at this blog post. It gives ideas for fun activities to do while the kids while you are at home!
Protecting the health of others
The best thing you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. You may have also heard the term “social distancing.” Social distancing is the act of staying away from large groups of people in order to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19 between multiple people. Here are some tips on how to safely practice social distancing:
- Call/Facetime/online chat with friends and family
- Stay home as much as you can
- If you must go out:
- Don’t gather in groups
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Don’t shake hands or hug
Part of staying healthy is remaining active. You can visit our Healthy Moves page to find safe, creative ways to move your body around your house.
If you have more questions about COVID-19 take a look at these resources:
The latest information about COVID-19 in Massachusetts is available at the Department of Public Health’s website here: https://www.mass.gov/covid19
- To get up-to-date alerts sent directly to your phone, text COVIDMA to 888-777.
- You can also call the informational and referral hotline, 211.
If you think you might have symptoms, you can use Massachusetts’ online symptom checker. Learn more at mass.gov/online-health-tool.
Learn prevention tips and much more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Need advice on discussing COVID-19 with your kids? HealthyChildren.org has some tips for you: https://healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx