We will cover the top tips of what to do and what not to do to protect you in the best way possible. As you will see, those measures are the same for the general population and for patients with chronic lung conditions or any other chronic conditions.
We will never repeat it enough, prevention is key. As of today, considering the absence of a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 (but a lot of research is under way!), prevention remains our most effective tool against the virus. When someone contracts this infection, the treatment is only supportive such as reducing fever, hydration if needed, and if severe, oxygen supplementation and for some critically ill patients intubation with mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). We will cover the top tips of what to do and what not to do to protect you in the best way possible. As you will see, those measures are the same for the general population and for patients with chronic lung conditions or any other chronic conditions.
Do wash your hands with water and soap, particularly after touching surfaces in public. Use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a reasonable alternative if your hands are not visibly dirty.
Do practice social distancing by staying home as much as possible. That means no visits from friends or family, and also working from home if feasible.
Do maintain six-feet (two meters) distance from others when you have to leave home.
Do clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Don't touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with your hands. The mucous membranes of your face are the entry point of the virus.
Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. You should cough either in your elbow or a tissue, and wash your hands afterwards.
Don't stop taking your regular “maintenance” medication.
Don't remain inactive. For example, you can go for daily walks if keeping a two meters distance from others.
Don't panic! If you have any unusual symptoms, call your physician.
What about face masks?
National recommendations on community use of face masks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic vary across countries. As for Canadian recommendations, Health Canada states that wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is optional. You can refer to their guidelines.
Keep in mind that wearing a face cover does not diminish the importance of other preventive measures, such as social distancing and hand hygiene (including after removing the face cover). Also, the face cover recommendation does not include medical masks, which should be reserved for health care workers.
We will cover more about face masks in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
About the author
Dr. Josianne Hamel Bourbeau completed her medical studies and her specialization in family medicine at the University of Montreal. Her practice is versatile and diverse, as are her interests. She currently works at the GMF Ahunstic and at the Centre d’hébergement Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci in the CIUSSS du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, and at the Saint-Eustache Hospital in the CIUSSS des Laurentides. She is also involved in hospital teaching for undergraduate medical students for the University of Montreal. She firmly believes in the power of sharing medical knowledge to patients and between professionals in order to provide sustainable quality health care for all.