Burning Topics COVID-19

Preventing the Coronavirus: What You Should Know

Recent outbreaks of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have created fear and confusion for many people. In an effort to keep Members of the Sedera Medical Cost Sharing Community as healthy as possible during a concerning virus season, here are a few tips that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other common active respiratory viruses. Sedera acknowledges that there is a lot we do not know at this time. Information is moving quickly. Situations are constantly evolving. We will do our best to update these resources as we receive information.

Fact or Fiction?

Before you read our helpful tips, take a minute to test your knowledge of COVID-19

Simple Actions, Big Protection

Coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets. These are produced and released when someone sneezes or coughs. Here are a few practical steps you can take to help minimize the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Stop shaking hands with people, even if everyone is healthy. Need an alternative? We are trying out a respectful bow in the Sedera office.
  • Do not share food or drinks, even with people in your immediate family.
  • Wash your hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water. Say the alphabet or sing the Happy Birthday song while you wash to make sure you are doing it long enough. In between hand-washing, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Try to stop touching your face with your hands. Did you know that people touch their faces an average of 200 times per day?
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, do not risk exposing other people to a virus. Work from home and postpone social engagements.
  • Based on current reports, “contact” can be considered 6 feet or closer, so try to stay more than six feet from anyone who is ill and certainly if you are ill. Also, disinfect surfaces you touch.
  • If Coronavirus comes to your community, help protect your older and sicker relatives and friends by keeping in-person visits to a minimum. Instead, consider connecting with video and telephone communication.
  • Lysol should work as a disinfectant. Use it often to clean bathrooms, sinks, door handles, and common surfaces in and around your home and office.
  • Get your flu shot! This will decrease your likelihood of confusing flu symptoms with Coronavirus.
  • Overall, this new virus provides a good reminder to care for your health: sleep well, moderate your stress, eat healthy foods (lots of plants if you can), and exercise regularly.

If You Have Symptoms

  • Call First:If you are ill and you know Coronavirus is in your city, or if you have reason to suspect you might have Coronavirus, call your medical provider to let them know. They will work with health authorities to guide you through what steps to take. If you are very ill and your doctor does not call you back, you may need to seekemergency care.
  • Stay home unless seeking medical help. This is the easiest way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Telemedicine is a great resource to use to discuss alleviating symptoms.
  • Stay informed. The CDC is the best resource to stay up-to-date. For more information, see CDC guidance on “What to do when sick with COVID-19?”

Bear in mind: healthy children seem to have mild symptoms from this Coronavirus. The people most at risk are the elderly, those with chronic lung and heart disease, and those with diabetes. It makes sense to do our best to protect them.

Spread Common Sense, Not Germs 

There are a lot of simple things you can do to prevent spreading the disease and incorrect information about it. We recommend checking the CDC website for up-to-date data and guidance.

Burning Topics Reading Books

An Attitude of Gratitude

As we enter the busy, holiday season, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the importance of gratitude. A practice of gratitude can bring so much to our lives! Recent research suggests that rituals of thankfulness may even have lasting, positive health outcomes.

UC Davis psychologist, Robert Emmons has studied gratitude extensively, and remarks in a recent study, “Research has shown that gratitude enhances nearly all spheres of functioning. It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep.” We know it is not a magic cure-all, but an attitude of gratitude has its merits, so how can we practice it more frequently?

Here are a few ideas to establish a practice of gratitude:

1.) Write a thank you note. When was the last time you wrote a handwritten card to a loved-one or acquaintance? Hand deliver it to a coworker or snail mail it to provide a joyful mailbox surprise.

2.) Journal daily. Make a goal to record one thing that you feel grateful for per day. Jot it down in a beautiful notebook or keep it easy and type it in a notes app on your mobile device. Set yourself up for success, it does not need to be complicated.

3.) Find a gratitude buddy! Choose a friend to text your thankfulness to and ask them to do the same with you. You do not necessarily have to share your gratitude for them. Although that will likely not go unappreciated!

4.) Create a gratitude jar. Set a goal to place a note of gratitude in your jar for however many days you want. Collect your notes for days, months or years! In the end, you will have a collection of your thankfulness.

It may take some time to build a habit of expressing your gratitude: on a note or a card or a text. Be patient with yourself. Change takes time, and gratitude will always be there.

If you would like to read up on practices of gratitude, Sedera board member Dr. Felicity Dale recommends Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers, noting that it tells the simple story of one man learning to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

We also recommend neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sack’s book Gratitude which features stories, research and Sack’s personal reflections on gratitude.

Want to practice expressing your thanks? Tell us what you are grateful for. We would love to know.