- Dr. Kate Henry
COVID Precautions, Prevention & What To Do if You Get Sick
Updated: Feb 22
Wondering how to interpret news about COVID like a researcher or doctor? Or how to prepare and what you should do if you get sick? We cover these issues in this post today.
Good Points to Remember as You Evaluate Risk in Your Area
My first piece of advice when you're looking at trends and trying to determine risk is to listen to professionals who are trained in infectious disease management, statistics, projections, and public health. They spend their entire lives researching and compiling data so that you don't have to. You can also look at data you need to give you context by considering projections and ICU availability in your area.
ICU Bed Availability Near You: https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/hospital-utilization
COVID Numbers + Projections: https://covid19.healthdata.org/global?view=daily-deaths&tab=trend
Your doctor's advice to you given your unique medical history and circumstances. You need to be up to date on your physical exams and follow ups for your doctor to give you advice. Your own unique medical history greatly affects your risk of severe illness from COVID.
Remember when interpreting the data above that case numbers give you an idea of how many folks are testing positive in your area, and you need more qualitative data (i.e. how sick are people getting from particular variants) and quantitative data like hospitalization / ICU numbers (links to those below) in order to determine risk based off of these numbers. Infection rates matter because they reflect the overall disease burden in an area, and if a virus with a 1% severe disease rate spreads fast enough, hospitals can still become overwhelmed because U.S. hospital systems are not designed to handle more than a few dozen or few hundred sick people per given area at a time. This is why ICU bed availability numbers are important. If all the beds are used up, the likelihood of death from severe COVID goes up because the hospitals near you may not have the capacity to care for you if you get very sick. Remember that cases / infection numbers will go increase a few weeks before hospitalization / ICU use numbers increase, because it takes a few weeks to develop severe illness after being infected. From the beginning of the pandemic, hospital capacity has been a major issue that has determined public health actions and personal health directives. Avoiding the spread so we can avoid hospital overwhelm is an important part of caring for our communities and ourselves.
Prevention, Illness Reduction and General Wellness
Nutrition and Preventive Measures That Work to Reduce COVID Severity
If you've stopped taking vitamin D, eating healthfully, exercising or sleeping enough, now is a good time to get back on track. You can (and should) go read this post detailing the nutrients that have an evidence-basis for preventing and reducing the severity of COVID-related illnesses.
You can also make an appointment with me to make sure you're doing everything you can to prepare for an illness. It's possible to use food to get these nutrients, but only if you do it intentionally and it helps to have a professional plan to help you make sure you're on the right track. You should also get vaccinated if your doctor has cleared you to do so and stay up to date on boosters since no vaccine lasts forever. Wear a mask if you're inside around lots of folks who could be sick, don't go to work or school if you don't feel well, wash your hands, and do all the thing we know work to slow infection spread.
Precautions and Preparations
You Should Have the Following In Your Home in Case You Get Sick
- Pulse oximeter
- Stockpile of one week's worth of soup, Pedialyte or electrolyte mix, fever reducing medications, and cough relievers for each person in your home.
- At least 2 weeks additional supply of any medications that you take in case you have to quarantine for 2 weeks and can't get out to get new prescriptions.
- Emergency and non-emergency numbers for your and your family members' primary care doctors' offices.
- Knowledge of the local emergency rooms near you.
- Multiple surgical masks, cloth masks and at least one N95 mask per person in your home.