What you don't know will hurt you
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Here we are, another day in the life, in the middle of a pandemic. I go through the stages just like everyone else , only difference is that I am a few days ahead of you. Some moments I am stressed about how to complete all the things on my to do list, afraid that I will miss something important because I'm rushing. At times, I am mad that things are changing, pissed my friends are going into work scared for their safety and health.
Today, I am grateful. I am grateful that I have a job that makes me feel like I am making a difference. I am so proud of the way every department in Hopkinton has pulled together to offer help, advice or assistance to make the best decisions to protect the town and one another.
Out of all the emotions I am going through, there is one that trumps all the others. I am worried.
I am worried that people won't recognize COVID-19 because we are told that that the main symptoms are fever of 100.4 or higher , cough and shortness of breath. The reality is that COVID-19 is tricky, it can certainly present in this way but it's not a guarantee. The most common symptoms I have noticed are an elevated body temperature of 99-100, runny nose or congestion, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, sore throat and malaise but this is not a complete list. The severity of these symptoms does not equal a positive or negative.
All symptoms include:
shortness of breath
I am worried that we will find out we are carriers too late. Maybe a headache pops up and you feel a little extra tired, couldn't be COVID-19 though because you don't have a fever or at least it doesn't feel like you do.
Entertain me and take your temperature. If it's 99 or greater, stay home and isolate from others within your home.
Maybe your nose is runny or a little stuffy right now. Did you develop a new dry cough? It is probably just allergies, it is spring right ?
Entertain me and take an antihistamine see if it gets better, stay home and isolate from others within your home.
I am worried about the repercussions of not following social distancing guidelines. COVID-19 will not always be obvious in others and because there is community spread you won't necessarily know how to avoid it. If you are really following social distancing and avoiding any unnecessary contact with others then you have done all you can to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you continue to hang out in small groups or allow your children to meet up with friends you are taking a chance with someone's life.
In one of the Emergency Management Group meetings, I said that I refuse to be the first public health nurse to have someone die from COVID-19 because of my inability to react and suggest strict guidelines to protect the most vulnerable population. Thankfully this is true. I wasn't the first but I don't know that I will make it out of this pandemic without losing one of our residents. I am warning you that if you continue to try to find ways around social distancing or you do not head the warnings that you could lose someone you know or love.
If your loved one gets COVID-19 and becomes very ill and needs to go to the hospital, you will not be allowed to visit. If they become even sicker, you will not be allowed to be by their bedside. The nurse that is caring for the patient and does not have proper PPE, may have to choose to limit her interactions and can't spend extra time consoling the patient in order to protect herself from contracting the virus.
I want everyone to understand that the ramifications of a "little" get together are huge. There is the potential to "miss" COVID-19 and downplay it as nothing serious because for most of us it won't be a big deal.