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COVID-19: Protect Yourself This Winter

COVID-19: Protect Yourself This Winter

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It’s been eight months since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Frederick County. As of December 29, our county has confirmed nearly 11,000 cases and 182 deaths from the virus. As cases continue to spike throughout the country and in our area, it’s more important than ever to take extra measures to keep you and your loved ones healthy. It’s also important to recognize if you have COVID symptoms—and know what to do next.

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways, and anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Some may not have any symptoms (asymptomatic) but can still spread it to others. Generally, symptoms appear two days to two weeks after you’re exposed to the virus. You may have COVID-19 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Having a few of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19, but you should get tested as soon as possible if you suspect you could be sick.

Testing is available to all; you don’t need to experience symptoms to get a test. Frederick Health’s drive-through COVID testing site is located at Frederick Health Village off Monocacy Boulevard; at 1 Frederick Health Way. There are also various testing sites throughout the county.

Due to the high testing volume, there is an increased turnaround time for results. You will be notified of your results by phone.

I Tested Positive. Now What?

Even if you have COVID-19, you may not have to go to the doctor. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you have COVID-19, follow these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for taking care of yourself:

  • If your symptoms are mild, stay home and self-quarantine except to get medical care.
  • Know your risks. Those with cancer, obesity, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain autoimmune disorders have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Keep track of your symptoms daily and notice any concerning changes. It also helps to have a daily log of symptoms you can discuss with your doctor if you begin to feel worse.
  • Separate yourself from others to avoid getting them sick. If possible, stay in a specific room away from other people and pets in your home. Use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in your home, wear a cloth face mask over your nose and mouth. Wash your hands frequently and wipe down surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 two days before they show symptoms or test positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed, you help protect everyone. Reach out to any friends or family members you’ve been around in the days leading up to your diagnosis.

COVID-19 Warning Signs

If you or a loved one shows any of these severe symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Lips or face turning blue

Preventing COVID-19

If we work together as a community and care about one another, we can stop the spread of COVID-19. The most important things you can do to prevent COVID-19 include:

  • Wear a cloth face mask over your nose and mouth when you’re around people not from your household
  • Avoid those who aren’t wearing masks
  • Practice social distancing; stay at least six feet apart (about two arms’ length) from those not in your household
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching any public or high-touch surface
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like doorknobs, counters, and light switches
  • Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care

Need a COVID-19 test or an antibody test, feeling under the weather, or need a simple check-up? We’re right here. Get access to exceptional care.

This article was first published in the January 2021 issue of the Emmitsburg News Journal.