COVID-19: Video offers expert advice to fight virus

Mar 28, 2020

Dr. Sonja Ehrhardt

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has scared the world and left people with so many questions about how, when, where and even why?

The virus originated in China in late 2019 and soon entered our lives silently and quickly. It has spread globally, causing so much panic and confusion.

During these times, the media and other influencers around the world have caused quite a stir about what exactly is the coronavirus and what we are dealing with. False information about the fast-growing virus is rampant.

Who can be trusted as a reliable source about this virus and how to battle it?

One such source is Claflin University’s Dr. Sonya Ehrhardt, who compiled key information for the university family in a video. Here is a link:

Ehrhardt is an assistant professor of nursing. She has more than 29 years of clinical experience and 20 years of experience in infection prevention and epidemiology.

“The coronavirus is not a new virus; it has been around. You have heard of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), this is just a strain that we have yet to see,” she said.

According to Ehrhardt, symptoms of the virus are fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain and sometime tiredness.

The virus is transmitted via respiratory droplets and the incubation period is from two to 14 days.

“The virus is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing and close personal contact, such as touching, or shaking hands. Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes is also a way to get the virus.”

Ehrhardt stresses that all should wash their hands frequently. She provided detailed steps as to how to wash your hands:

1. Wet hands

2. Lather with soap

3. Wash for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself)

4. Rinse

5. Dry

6. Turn of the faucet with your elbow or a dry paper towel. Never touch the faucet to turn it off.

“We need to stop the spread,” Ehrhardt said.

Another piece of key information pertains to hand sanitizer.

Ehrhardt said the product must contain a percentage of alcohol to be effective in fighting the virus. “Your hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol.”

One should also try to avoid touching his or her face and avoid being around people who are sick, Ehrhardt said. Stay inside if you are sick and cover your coughs and sneezes.

A term that has gained relevance amid the coronavirus is “social distancing,” meaning remaining 6 feet apart from other people.

“We need to keep social distancing in mind because as in Italy, hospitals would become overwhelmed. (Due to the large amount of cases) If we have all of our out breaks in a peak like this, the same may happen. If we practice social distancing, it may stretch out our outbreak and not overwhelm the hospitals.”

Studies have shown that the virus mainly affects older or elderly people. Adolescents exposed to the virus generally have the equivalent of a cold and not a life-threatening sickness.

“Do not panic,” Ehrhardt said. The main point is to stay inside, practice social distancing and remember to wash your hands and keep them off of your face.

If everyone can follow the rules, the virus can be contained and life can slowly start go back to normal.

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