Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.
There are more than 32 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and we are seeing more new cases every day.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of disease; however, there is no vaccine that can prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This means that the best way to prevent spreading COVID-19 is by avoiding exposure to the virus. That means staying home and practicing good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, and call your doctor’s office if you think you may have COVID-19.
“Stay home and wash your hands” makes it sound easy, though. How can you keep yourself and your family happy and healthy during this difficult time?
Should you stay home?
- The U.S. government recommends that work and school should be conducted from home whenever possible.
- Avoid discretionary travel—don’t travel unless you have to.
- Do not visit nursing homes, retirement communities, or hospitals, unless you are providing critical assistance.
- Those at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications—older adults, people with heart disease or lung disease, people with diabetes, people with autoimmune disorders, and those with compromised immune systems—should stay home and limit contact with others.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Stay home if you are sick—no exceptions.
Should you avoid contact with others?
Avoid social gatherings over 10 people, and avoid close contact with others. COVID-19 is primarily spread through person-to-person contact either by respiratory droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing, or through physical contact.
Avoid physical contact with others. Greet people with waves or nods rather than hugs, handshakes, or kisses.
Wash your hands often. Wash your hands properly before eating, before touching your face, and any time after touching a surface that others may have touched. A hand sanitizer that contains more than 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not available.
Do not touch your face. COVID-19, as well as other viruses, typically enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Do stay in touch with friends and family. Talk to each other on the phone, try out a messaging application, or video chat. Reach out to people who may be feeling isolated, especially older friends and relatives who don’t use texting and social media.
Should you wear a mask?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arkansas Department of Health recommend that everyone wear reusable cloth face coverings, or masks, while in public.
Should you practice social distancing if you are healthy?
Do not assume that having no symptoms means that you are healthy. You can be actively infected and transmit the coronavirus even if you are asymptomatic.
Practice social distancing, respiratory hygiene, frequent hand washing, and avoid touching surfaces as though you could make others sick. Clean and disinfect surfaces often.
Being extra careful now can limit the length of time social distancing will be necessary.
Should you stockpile supplies?
Do not stockpile. Keep necessary health items—such as soap, tissues, and alcohol-based sanitizer—on hand, but do not accumulate more than you need. Acquiring more than you need means that other people in need of those items may go without.
MANA physicians recommend keeping two to four weeks’ basic supplies in your home.
Should you go to the doctor?
Do not walk in to a clinic if you think you have COVID-19, or if you have symptoms of COVID-19: fever over 100.3 degrees, cough, shortness of breath.
Instead, call your doctor.
Keeping life normal
The COVID-19 outbreak is disrupting daily life for people in Arkansas and across the globe. Teachers and students are transitioning to digital learning, professionals are adopting unfamiliar roles and working remotely, and everyone is spending more time at home and away from others.
Take steps to promote good mental, physical, and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Keep a routine. Giving your day structure can help provide a sense of normalcy and make the uncertainties more manageable.
- Stay active. Physical activity and exercise are important every single day, even during a pandemic.
- Get news from reliable sources. There’s a lot of information—and misinformation—about COVID-19 circulating across news channels, social media platforms, and the internet. Make sure that you get your information from credible sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Arkansas Department of Health.
- Take a break from news and social media. It’s good to stay informed, but constant news about the pandemic can be overwhelming, stressful, and upsetting.
- Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone. Find extra patience, manage your stress, and cope with the anxiety that comes from a health crisis.
- Find time to relax and spend time with your family doing the things that you enjoy. Read books, play board games, tell stories, go for a walk in your neighborhood, have a dance party in the living room, or watch movies together.
- Eat healthy foods. You don’t have to rely on unhealthy frozen meals, fast food, and carry-out. Working from home and fewer social obligations in the evenings means you have more time to cook a healthy, nutritious meal.