7 COVID-19 tips from an Emergency physician

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are some things we can all do to help ourselves and each other. UC Davis Emergency Medicine physician Bryn Mumma has 7 tips that can guide us along the way:

1.) Don't wait if you're having an emergency: Come to the Emergency Department.

We are here to care for you in all cases, including medical and psychiatric emergencies. Our Emergency Department has the equipment and processes to keep everyone as safe as possible. We're seeing people come to us when they are critically ill and need more intense treatments. Those same people might not have needed these measures if they'd come in earlier. In some cases, patients are coming in too late to receive interventions. Don't delay care.

2.) If it's not an emergency, still get help from a physician.

Minor health problems like a sore throat, ankle sprain or cut can be handled at a UC Davis Health primary care clinic or urgent care center. We are offering telehealth video visits for UC Davis Health patients, which allows you to be seen by your health care team from the comfort and safety of your own home. We also have Express Care visits for non-patients wondering if they should get a COVID-19 test.

3.) Stay home if you feel sick.

Aside from seeking medical care, stay home if you feel seek. Do not go to work, to the store, to visit family – anywhere. COVID-19 can cause many different symptoms, so the fact that you have different symptoms than a friend doesn't mean that you don't have COVID. Even if you don't have coronavirus, you may have another contagious illness. Our society tends to value “sucking it up” and working while sick; this was never good, and hopefully COVID-19 will be the catalyst for changing this mentality.

View a list of COVID-19 symptoms you should watch for

4.) Get a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to prevent severe disease and hospitalization. Everyone ages 5 and older is eligible for a vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer remains the only vaccines for ages 5 to 17. While you may experience some side effects from the vaccine for a day or two, it's much better than getting sick for longer with COVID-19. Most people are also eligible for COVID-19 booster or third dose after they've completed the initial series.

Learn how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine

Get information on how COVID-19 vaccines work

5.) Wear a face mask.

As COVID-19 variants continue to emerge and spread across the world, health experts urge everyone to wear a face mask indoors and outdoors in crowded settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its mask recommendations to say that people should wear an N95 or KN95 mask when possible. Surgical face masks are the next best protection, followed by cloth face masks.

Find out which face masks are best at protecting you and your family against COVID-19

6.) Get outside.

Being outside has many physical and mental health benefits, including increased energy, creativity, and vitamin D, as well as better sleep. There's lower – but not zero – risk of COVID-19 transmission in outdoor environments. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or start a garden in your backyard. Enjoying some fresh air is good for all of us.

7.) Be kind to others.

Recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges for everyone. Everyone has different struggles, and everyone responds differently to these challenges. Some are working overtime, while others wish they had a job. Offer to pick up groceries for a friend or medications for your elderly neighbor. Thank essential workers in all industries for providing the goods and services you want and need. We're all in this together. Crises tend to bring out the best and worst in people – focus on the good.

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