More than ever, in these times of global pandemia, we all have learned that health really matters —and we can never take it for granted. More than anything else, we have learned that much of it is in our hands, that our health might depend on what we do to protect or improve it.
We launch this letter with that in mind, as an effort to help ourselves to take care and live a healthier life. Every week I will be posting small, practical advice for what we can do at home to deal with the numerous health issues we face every day —we and those under our care. It is important to always bear in mind that these recommendations do not preclude the need to visit a doctor when the case arrives, for they cannot substitute for professional medical care when circumstances call for it.
As a nurse with professional specialized training in family and community nursing I can offer you advice on a number of issues. I can help you deal with a diabetic condition, or to monitor hypertension or many other chronic conditions, and I can also help you learn how to better care for the elderly, dependent or handicapped people that might be under our care.
I will always propose you very simple, practical advice —recommendations that would not requiere of you any special ability or formation, nothing more than a will to take care and the desire for a better life. Disease is part of our lives: we can get sick because we are alive. But being ill should not bar us from working to have a better, easier, more confortable life.
Today, under the circumstances, what matters most is to know how to protect ourselves not to get infected by COVID-19 and how not to infect others in case we are ill. Let us be clear: there is no such thing as zero-risk, but there are many ways in which we can substantially diminish that risk for us and for others.
There is a very short list of practical recommendations to follow:
- Wash your hands frequently. Soap and running water is enough, but alcoholic based gel can serve as well.
- Avoid touching your face: eyes, nose or mouth, for you might carry the virus in your hands.
- When sneezing or coughing cover your mouth and nose with your flexed elbow or with a disposable tissue —and discard it as soon as you can.
- Whenever possible, in public places try to keep the safety distance of five or six feet (about two meters) with other people.
- If you are not feeling well, even with vague symptoms, try to keep yourself at home.
- If you have fever, intense cough, and if you experience difficulty in breathing, seek medical care.
We have to keep in mind that we might be infected with COVID-19 even if we have no symptoms whatsoever. That is why we have to follow these rules at any time.
As usually happens in times of uncertainty, there are rumors and fantastic ideas running around. You might hear a number of different theories and get different recipes. It is important to tell the difference between sound medical advice and those false or unfounded ideas. Next week we will look into those myths of the COVID-19.