24 Mar College Health, The Coronavirus and You: How to Protect Yourself
The blog is dedicated to helping college students stay healthy and maintain their well-being while in college–it’s another way that Umergency is there for you!
By Maddy Arnold, recent LMU alumna
COVID-19 is quickly impacting college life all over the world. In the United States, many colleges and universities have decided to either hold classes remotely or have cancelled them altogether, with numbers increasing daily, according to Education Week. These moves are aspects of social distancing which are now standard strategies to contain the spread of the pandemic, specifically to its impact on students, faculty, and staff members’ potential chance of contracting the virus from someone who may have it without realizing it. Social distancing practices include staying at least 6 feet away from another person or place in order to avoid catching the virus. It also includes other recommended steps–but doesn’t mean that you have to remain indoors (https://www.uchealth.org/today/what-is-social-distancing-you-can-go-outside/). Social distancing is potentially very effective in limiting the potential chance of contracting the virus from someone who may have it without realizing it.
A Few Basic Rules of Thumb
To make sure college students — and anyone for that matter — stay safe from the virus on or off their college campus, basic hygiene must always be considered. According to the CDC, washing your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water is one of the safest ways to protect yourself. Also, keep your hands to yourself! Someone else’s hand may be (and probably is) covered with germs, so don’t shake their hand, even if they offer it. Stand up for yourself and gently tell them that you are keeping yourself protected and flattening the curve by not accepting the handshake. The virus is carried by clothing, so even a friendly alternative like the popular elbow bump should be avoided as well. Remember, stay at least 6 feet away from others. The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay at home.
Be aware of other people. If you notice someone coughing or sneezing, keep your distance. Germs can travel whether it’s through airborne illnesses, saliva, or casual physical contact. The best defense against germs on campus or in your hometown is simply being aware of those around you. And, if someone looks or acts sick, be sure to keep your distance.
If you are particularly concerned about COVID-19, know that symptoms typically appear two to fourteen days after exposure, according to the CDC. Fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19. If your shortness of breath involves difficulty breathing, persistent pain in your chest, or a tint of blue on your face, seek immediate medical attention. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster you can begin your recovery.
Don’t Put Others at Risk
Even if you do not present the tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19, you still may be a carrier of the virus. The COVID-19 data from South Korea and Italy was analyzed and showed shocking statistics. According to Statista, people aged 20-29 had the highest percentage of positive tests for the Coronavirus in South Korea compared to their older and younger counterparts. Now that more research has been done on data from China, it appears that no one is invulnerable–40% of all cases were in individuals 24-54 years of age and 40% of all fatalities due to the virus were in people under 60. Instead of in-person social gatherings, do them virtually! This will help to prevent spreading the pandemic as well as contracting it. Researchers have found that the young people in this age bracket, while showing lower symptoms and death counts, are the largest number of carriers of the virus.
What this means for college kids: Simply put, stay inside! College students, whether they are on-campus, off-campus, or have returned to their hometown, should stay inside and practice social distancing as much as they possibly can. The World Health Organization warns, “When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.”
If you suspect that you may be sick and/or a carrier of the Coronavirus, then it’s best to contact your healthcare provider. If you are still on campus, you can definitely visit your student health services to see which option is best for you. Healthcare professionals are now recommending calling your physician’s office first to discuss any symptoms.
Umergency is Here for You
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or find yourself suddenly presenting symptoms and are scared that you may have it, then Umergency has your back! Hop into the app to quickly and easily find the on or off- campus health resources necessary to get the care you need. The app also has a built-in GPS signal so you can alert your family contacts, if you feel like you are in danger or are too weak to seek help on your own. Inside the Umergency app, you’re also able to pre-upload your insurance card information and signed medical consent form so medical professionals can conveniently access it in any emergency situation, and be able to inform your parents or other family members of your status.
Just remember: Umergency is here for you whenever and wherever you need it. The last thing you need is for your health to impact having the best college experience. Most of all, stay safe & healthy out there!