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More from COVID 19 Resources:

COVID 19 Resources


For the Lay Public:

(EM Provider section below)


PREVENTION – DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE (& Wash your hands): Like many respiratory viruses COVID is often spread when your hands are contaminated and you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.  Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face.  Wear a bandana and glasses when you go out.  It may screen out many but not all of any airborne droplets, but it will help you stop touching your face. Best Hand Hygiene Video

PREVENTION – MASKS: I have heard lots of opinion on mask use but both good science and good common sense strongly support that masks help decrease the spread of many types of infections, not just COVID.  No masks are perfect: N95’s (if sized and fitted properly) are better than surgical masks, which are better than cloth masks, which are better than nothing.  Masks are best at protecting others from you (though less so if they have a valve).  Valve masks should not be used if  you are ill and should only be used if you can’t tolerate other masks.  Masks also protect the wearer by filtering out different degrees of virus (they also may decrease how much you touch your face).  Listen – if I can wear a mask for a 10 hour shift, you can wear one for an hour or so when you go to the store or to the gym.  Don’t be selfish or cavalier; wear a mask in public.  Even if you do get COVID while wearing a mask, the infection will likely start with a smaller inoculum that your immune system can overcome earlier leading to mild symptoms or no symptoms at all (sort of like a vaccination).  Also make sure to throw away, wash or sunshine sterilize your masks so you are not wearing dirty masks.

PREVENTION – 1% IODINE: Iodine has been shown to kill SARS CoV2 in seconds and the virus often starts and to some degree stays in your nose and the area between your nose and throat.  Swabbing or spraying your nose with a small amount of very dilute iodine has been shown in preliminary studies to decrease the risk of infection.  Most iodine is 10% and can damage your own tissues but if diluted 10 fold to 0.5-1% should be safe if not overused.  Just don’t use full strength or drink any of it please.  I have a bottle of diluted iodine and after each ER shift I use a Q-tip to swab each nostril and sniff some of it back towards my throat.  It may not fully prevent COVID, but it may, and even if it doesn’t it will likely decrease the viral load 10-100 fold or more which will make it easier for your immune system to battle.

PROTECT OTHERS – COUGH & SNOT ETIQUETTE: If you have to cough or sneeze, even if you are not sick, pull your shirt collar up over your nose first and do it into your shirt.  This is probably better than coughing into the crook of your elbow, which is a good plan B.  Do this even if you feel fine as there is ample evidence that there are MANY people with the disease before they get symptoms or who even NEVER get symptoms.  In additions some people with COVID feel like they just have their seasonal allergies. Safest way to Sneeze or Cough Video

PROTECT OTHERS – ISOLATING: If you are well, limit the pandemic by staying home as much as possible. If you do fall ill, there is usually no reason to see a doctor if you only have fever, sore throat, runny nose and/or cough.  If you want medical advice try calling your doctor or telemedicine.  Currently many colds are due to COVID so just assume you have it, even if you test negative as current testing misses 20-30% of cases and even more if the mouth is swabbed or you have been sick for less than 4 days.  Just quarantine yourself until all symptoms have resolved, which typically takes up to 2-3 weeks.  This is the usual time it takes the human immune system to achieve victory.  If you get severely ill it will take longer.  If you have an exposure only to a small inoculum of virus (because you wore a mask) your illness will likely be shorter or  you may have no symptoms at all.  Remember, if you are short of breath, light headed, coughing up blood, having chest pain or a fever >104.0 or lasting more than 4-5 days then see a doctor.

IF YOU DO GET SICK – FEVER: If you do get sick, as many of us will, you can use Tylenol, Advil or the equivalent but there is at least some data that NSAIDs like Advil (AKA Motrin AKA ibuprofen) may worsen prognosis, which makes sense if you consider the fact that fever kills viruses and has likely evolved in mammals because it improves the chance of survival.  I’ll bet in 50 years people will be talking about how odd it was that doctors used to give medications to reduce fever.

IF YOU DO GET SICK – LUNG PROTECTION: Taking deep breaths occasionally and not lying in bed too much helps prevent atelectasis (air sac collapse) and decreases the chance of pneumonia.







For EM Providers:


Reproduced with permission of Nick Mark, MD, Intensivist, Seattle, WA