The reality is that the presence of Covid-19 is in Ireland and it is a new virus with no vaccination that can affect our lungs and airways.
It is one of a type of common viruses called coronavirus and is frightening for many people. I can think in my own family of individuals who are significantly at risk. It is the ‘unknowns’ that generates fear and the absence of control.
Fear & Anxiety
Some individuals will be particularly anxious for example the over 65 years, vulnerable elderly, those who have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or liver diseases, cancer and particularly mental health presentations e.g. health anxiety and individuals with contamination OCD.
In my experience fear can be as contagious as the Covid-19. So the challenge is to get some perspective, and before we get perspective let’s look at some facts.
About 85% of those infected experience mild symptoms. It’s the vulnerable groups that are at real concern. Estimates for the mortality rate vary a little, but it is mostly thought to be 2% or less. Not everyone will be infected.
Minimizing The Risk
The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is low to moderate. Most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual. Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. Contact with an infected person seems necessary.
Anyone who knows they have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and has symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room, phone their GP, in a medical emergency if symptoms severe phone 112 or 999.
Wash hands properly and often.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Children and coronavirus
As a parent, I am mindful of those vulnerable in our family circle so I know it is vital that our boys engage in good hand washing.
Singing happy birthday twice is the time required for a good hand wash so let’s get singing.
Thankfully coronavirus has minimal impact on children.
Nevertheless children I think are worried and will need reassurance and guidance on facts.
Parents will need to be informed so they can act as myth busters.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated. If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms. Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses.
They only work against bacterial infections.
We are going to be challenged and have increasing fear/anxiety as Covid-19 cases increase and its impact evolves.
Increasing uneasiness, stress, irritability and checking for symptoms will emerge.
It is likely that we interpret normal aches and pains to be the virus.
It’s time to take a collective view, together we will be challenged and it's only together that we can get through this.
Good precautions and hand washing are the way to go. Let’s minimize getting our information through Dr Google, WhatsApp etc where rumours and fake news abound.
Stick to credible sources including the www.hse.ie and www.hpsc.ie where there are regular updates relating to Covid-19 in Ireland.
We need to tune our stress down, stick to normal routines, make time for rest and relaxation, take walks in nature, avoid crowds, eat healthily, and ensure we are getting good sleep.
Let’s be sensible, we will face adversity, we will prevail.
Close contact means either:
Spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person
Living in the same house as an infected person
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.
- A cough, shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
- Fever (high temperature). Others are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.
Call your GP if you are experiencing symptoms and were in contact with a confirmed case.
Self-isolate for 14 days.