Be Red Cross Ready – Steps to Help Protect Against Coronavirus COVID-19 and Coping with Sheltering at Home during COVID-19
About Coronavirus COVID-19
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in China and has now spread to multiple countries including the U.S.
• According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
• Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have the disease, or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the disease.
• The following health and preparedness tips can help you stay healthy and prepare for possible disruptions due to this coronavirus. Most importantly, stay informed about the latest information by visiting the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.
To Help Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Illnesses, Use Healthy Practices:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it would take you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice) or, if soap is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using facemasks, which is for people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others, and for health workers and caregivers in close settings.
• Practice healthy habits: get sleep, eat nutritious food, drink fluids, be physically active and manage stress.
• Influenza and pneumococcal disease are the leading causes of vaccine-preventable respiratory illness in the U.S., so protect yourself with an annual flu vaccine and if eligible, the pneumonia vaccine.
To Prepare your Household for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S., Use Preparedness Practices:
• Obtain at least a 2-week supply of food staples, household and sanitary products, if asked to stay home (a best practice to increase your preparedness for any hazard).
• Keep current prescription medications in regular supply, with at least a 30-day supply of needed health items.
• Learn how your local public health authorities will provide guidance to your community and stay informed.
• Learn how your children’s school or daycare, and your workplace plan to handle a possible outbreak. Create a plan to accommodate any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
• If you care for older adults or children, plan and prepare for caring for them, should they or you become sick.
Coping with Sheltering at Home during COVID-19
Local and state officials are using shelter-at-home (sometimes called shelter-in-place) orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). By staying home, people can help minimize how many people are getting sick at the same time, protect those at higher risk of severe illness and prevent our health care system from getting overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, sheltering at home can disrupt your routines and make everyday activities, such as work and caring for loved ones, challenging. These changes, on top of the general uncertainty around this pandemic, can create feelings of stress, fear and nervousness. These feelings are normal, and people typically bounce back after difficult times.
The following information can help you cope with stress and support others during this emergency.
What is Sheltering at Home?
• Sheltering at home means that you remain at home, and only go out to purchase essential supplies, visit medical professionals or leave during an emergency.
• Following the instructions of local officials will help keep you and your loved ones safe.
It’s normal for people to have these types of feelings right now:
• Fear about running out of essential supplies.
• Anxiety, particularly about being separated from loved ones.
• Uncertainty about how long you will need to shelter at home.
• Concerns for your physical safety and that of others.
• Fear of getting sick.
• Guilt about not being able to fulfill responsibilities, such as work, parenting or caring for dependents.
• Boredom or isolation.
• Thoughts of blame, worry or fear.
• Worry about loss of income.
• Fear of being stigmatized or labeled by this illness, if you become sick.
• Stay connected with loved ones through video calls, phone calls, texts or social media.
• Remain informed with accurate, reliable information. Avoid social media accounts and news outlets that promote fear or rumors.
• Monitor your physical health needs and those of your loved ones. Eat healthy food, and drink plenty of water.
• Unless you are showing signs of illness or have tested positive for COVID-19, going outside to exercise and walk pets is ok. But don’t forget to practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from others.
• Hold an image in your mind of the best possible outcome. Make a list of your personal strengths and use these to help both yourself and others stay emotionally strong.
• If you are religious or spiritual, follow practices at home that provide you with comfort and emotional strength.
• Reach out to older adults or people with chronic health conditions and offer to help. For example, offer to pick up groceries, medications and other essential supplies. Check-in with them regularly but practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away when you deliver essential items.
• Talk to your children and explain why this is happening and how long it might last. Use language that is normal and consistent with how you usually communicate. Be creative and think of fun activities that will occupy their time. Keep a schedule, set appropriate limits and maintain usual rules when possible.
• Take care of your pets, which can be an essential part of your support system. Like people, pets react to changes in their environment and routine, so their behaviors may change, as well. Keep track of their well-being and take care of their needs as best you can.
• Show kindness to people who may not have a support system or are isolated. There may be limits to what you can do in reaching out, but a little kindness may be just what someone needs.
• For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.
• For information on staying safe, see redcross.org/coronavirus.
• Download the free Red Cross Emergency App and First Aid App by searching for American Red Cross in your phone’s app store or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
• Locate your state and local health departments at naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory.
• Call 211 or visit auntbertha.com for other local resources.
• The United Way has established a National COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. This assistance may be accessed by dialing 211 or visiting unitedway.org/recovery/covid19.