How you can make a difference during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Whether you or your family members are frontline healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers, or are required to stay at home, we can all take part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Many people who are not healthcare or essential workers still want to help. So, here are some things you and your family members can do.

 

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Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Over the past few months, we have learned how quickly COVID-19 can spread from one person to another. Even if you do not show signs and symptoms of the disease, you may still be able to spread the disease. Currently, there are no vaccines or medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat the disease. So, the best way to prevent getting or spreading the disease is to avoid exposure. What does that mean? It means, stay at home as much as possible. People need to avoid close contact with each other by social distancing—staying about 6 feet apart. It is also important to wear a face mask or cloth that covers your nose and mouth when you are in stores or areas where there are more people. 

Donate blood

People who have experienced certain health issues may need a blood transfusion to help them recover. For example, accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and some cancer patients may need blood to help them get better. The same is true during the COVID-19 pandemic and with people who are seriously ill from COVID-19. However, blood donations have decreased over the past few months because of social distancing and canceled blood drives. So, if you feel well, you can contact your local donation center to make an appointment. These organizations have established steps to make sure donating blood is safe.

· AABB: www.aabb.org; 1-301-907-6977 · America’s Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org

· American Red Cross: www.redcrossblood.org; 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

· Armed Services Blood Program: www.militaryblood.dod.mil/; 1-703-681-8024

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, donate plasma

People who recover from COVID-19 have developed antibodies (proteins that might help fight the infection). These proteins circulate in the person’s blood plasma (the liquid part of the blood). It is believed that giving some of this so-called convalescent plasma to a patient who is severely ill from COVID-19 may help them recover. Although this treatment needs to be further investigated, the FDA is still asking people to contact them if they have fully recovered from COVID-19. For more information on donating plasma, go to: www.ismp.org/ext/491.

Save personal protective equipment for those on the front lines

Many states now require people to wear a face covering if they are in situations where social distancing is difficult. For example, many stores and pharmacies require people to cover their face before entering and while shopping. These face coverings do not need to be surgical masks or N95 respirators; surgical masks and N95 respirators should be used by healthcare workers, first responders, and frontline workers whose jobs put them at greater risk of being infected. Everyone else should be wearing cloth face coverings – they can be homemade masks or scarves or bandanas, for example. The face covering should be large enough to cover both your nose and mouth at all times. The virus is spread from droplets that come from your nose and mouth, so using a cloth covering will prevent them from spreading to others when social distancing is not possible.

Clean your hands often

Simply washing your hands can help prevent the virus from spreading. This should be done especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best. However, if soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended.

Advice from FDA is a feature brought to you by FDA. You can find this article (www.ismp.org/ext/492) and more on FDA’s Consumer Health Information website at: www.ismp.org/ext/422. This website features the latest updates on medicines and products regulated by FDA. Sign up for a free email subscription at: www.ismp.org/ext/262

Created on July 27, 2020