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Over the past few weeks I’ve fielded countless questions from worried parents and families about #CoronavirusUSA and #COVID. The amazing thing is most families have not been panicking but moreso just want their bearings. How worried should they be? What keeps kids safe? 1/
The first thing I’ve found is to acknowledge the fear. This is scary and there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation. That’s okay. Doctors are here to help and it’s okay to ask. The second is to not panic. People should be concerned, aware, but not panicked or dismissive. 2/
Next give reference points. This isn’t World War Z. It isn’t Ebola with its >50% mortality but it isn’t flu (as many say) with ~0.1%. Lots of data says ~2% but that’s probably a bit high because we’re testing so few. It depends on risk factors. Regardless don’t bulk buy TP. 3/
#COVID symptoms are usually mild with fever, cough, sore throat, and usually start slow and build over a week. It isn’t usually like the flu which hits like a bus. Most (~80%) have fairly mild symptoms and do not need treatment or to see the doctor. 4/
What risk are you to get it? Frankly, pretty high over the next year. The estimates are 20-70% of US or 70-150M. That’s huge! But we are overstating the individual risk (most have mild illness! Especially kids!) and likely understating the public health risk. No one is immune. 5/
Because no one is immune, everyone is at risk. The single best thing is to try to keep it from spreading too fast so that hospitals and clinics aren’t overwhelmed and we as doctors can keep providing high quality care. That means doing things to keep you and your child safe. 6/
It feels like a new illness should have a new fancy treatment, but honestly washing hands, covering a cough, and most importantly staying home when Ill and fevering will slow the spread and keep more people healthy longer- letting more get good treatment and live. 7/
So as boring as it is, do the above and avoid large crowds and gatherings; don’t place yourself or others in a situation where they could be exposed. This is social distancing. It slows the spread (which is mainly droplets from coughing and touching) 8/
What happens if you get sick? Do what you’d do for any cold. Make sure you keep hydrated, rest, and are breathing comfortably. Treat the fever with OTC meds. If fever doesn’t resolve in a few days or you’re having difficulty breathing/hydrating- call your doctor. 9/
Most people will not need to be seen and there’s no good specific treatment (it’s a virus- you don’t need antibiotics). At this point when US testing is limited, you may not need or get a test and that’s okay (even if it isn’t the best epidemiologically to track the illness) 10/
We want people to be seen if ill but don’t need every kiddo with sniffles or adult with a mild cough rushing to the office or ER (especially just for a doctor’s note- employers and daycares pay heed!). There will be a lot of people sick and healthcare is truly finite 11/
The unfortunate thing is we’re past containment. Because of poor testing and how easy it spreads, this virus is already here. Heck it’s largely worldwide, but we can still slow the spread, keep people healthier longer, and keep the hospitals working so that we save more lives 12/
The biggest thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. You can’t only lookout for yourself or family. #CoronavirusUSA doesn’t care who it infects. We have to realize how our actions impact our neighbors, cities, states, as well. This is why public health matters 13/13
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