COVID-19 - General Information
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on the population worldwide in terms of major illness and death.
Many countries including Canada have now seen multiple waves of COVID-19, each causing a range of reactions to the virus.
Some people just developed mild symptoms, like a cough and cold, and feeling more tired than usual while others experienced very severe symptoms including admission to the intensive care and being placed on a ventilator, unable to breathe on their own. It has been recognized that the elderly and those with existing medical conditions, are at increased risk of having a severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.
What can you do to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
There are many things you can do every day to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The most important action you can take is to get your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters as recommended. Getting vaccinated will help protect you from getting very sick from COVID-19.
Health Canada recommends some simple additional health measures you can follow:
- Wear a mask, especially for indoor gatherings.
- Improve ventilation in a small space where people gather, by opening windows and doors.
- Cough or sneeze in your elbow.
- Wash your hands frequently. Clean and disinfect high touch/contact surfaces, for example light switches and doorknobs.
- Finally, stay at home when you are sick.
Learn more about these topics in the new “Prevention Strategies for COVID-19” module.
Who is at high-risk of complications from COVID-19?
Health Canada has identified several groups of people who are at high-risk of developing complications should they get COVID-19:
- People with a weakened immune system, for example, people who have had an organ transplant, those taking active treatments for cancer, or people taking medications that suppress the immune system such as those use for rheumatoid arthritis (disease causing joint inflammation), lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (autoimmune disease affecting the nerves), Crohn’s and colitis (inflammatory bowel diseases).
- People with some diseases or conditions such as those with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, kidney disease, older adults and others.
- Depending on whether they present other conditions, people who have not completed their initial vaccination series, or who have not received a booster dose in the past 6-months might also fall into this category.
The list of people who are considered at high-risk changes constantly as we learn more about the virus. You can check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you could be a candidate for a treatment to reduce your chances to become very ill should you get COVID-19.
Do you know if you are at high-risk?
What do you need to be prepared to deal with COVID-19?
An important step that will allow you to act quickly should you develop symptoms of COVID-19 is to have an Action Plan in place.
Don’t skip this step! It is essential.
An Action Plan helps you identify who to contact when needed, what to do to remain well and avoid COVID-19, what to do if you recognize any COVID-19 symptoms and what actions to take – in case you are very sick. Working in collaboration with your doctor and pharmacist will allow you to learn more about your local resources and where you can get rapid access to tests and treatments when you need them.
You can work with your healthcare team to fill it out.
Living Well Beyond COVID-19 - Patient Education Series
The Living Well Beyond COVID-19 series incorporates learning how to recover and live with Long COVID, as well as strategies to minimize the risk of severe infection, along with treatment options available should you get infected.
Prevention Strategies for COVID-19
There are many things you can do every day to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines and other strategies have been recommended to prevent you from becoming very ill or dying from the virus that causes COVID-19. Prevention remains the first line of defense.
Everyone should try to protect themselves from COVID-19, but people at high-risk should take extra precautions because they can be at higher risk of severe outcomes (such as needing to go to the hospital) if they get COVID-19.
More information on prevention strategies can be found in this module.
Treatment Options for COVID-19
Once you are infected with COVID-19, most people can be managed at home with just time and rest.
However, there are some people who are at high risk of becoming very ill should they get COVID-19.
If you belong to this group, there are treatments that can lower your risk of complications. Treatments depend on when your symptoms started, severity of infection, and your own risk of becoming severely ill and dying.
More information on high-risk groups and possible treatments can be found in this module.
Long COVID Rehabilitation and Management
Once people are no longer contagious and have overcome the acute phase of COVID-19, their symptoms may persist or they may experience new symptoms. This is called Long COVID.
Anyone can develop Long COVID, regardless of whether their initial COVID-19 infection was mild or severe.
Long COVID can include many symptoms, and it affects people in various ways. The duration of Long COVID can also vary. Some people may have Long COVID for a couple of months while others continue to have it beyond one year.
Free Webinar for Healthcare Professionals
If you are a healthcare professional and want to learn how to use the series with your patients, then we recommend our free webinar on-demand.
Join Dr. Peter Lin and Michael Boivin and learn how to engage your patients in conversations around COVID-19, including what is currently known regarding prevention, treatment and Long COVID rehabilitation & management.
Get started by clicking the button below.
A COVID-19 Action Plan is an important step that will allow people to act quickly should they develop symptoms of COVID-19. It can be used to monitor symptoms and implement prevention strategies on a regular basis.
A contact list helps you identify who to contact when needed and what to do to remain well and avoid COVID-19. This tool helps patients identify the symptoms to look for that suggest a potential COVID-19 infection, as well as what actions to take should the situation arise.