What Makes Coronavirus so Scary? {One Mom Weighs In}

Disclosure: I am not in any way a medical professional. Please seek advice from a qualified medical professional if you have questions regarding COVID-19. Additionally, this is not an opening for a vaccine debate, please use your internet voice respectfully.  

What is Coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization, Coronavirus is a virus which causes illness in humans and animals. MERS and SARS were both coronaviruses. The most recently discovered coronavirus is COVID-19 which was discovered in Wuhan, China in December of 2019.

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

When I read the symptoms of the Coronavirus, it read similar to the flu to me. Those symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath, and sometimes aches and pains, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea. The scary statistic is that 1 out of 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill with respiratory distress and needs medical attention. Older people and the immune-compromised along with those with high-blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are also at risk.

What Makes COVID-19 Different than the Flu?

It’s not necessarily the symptoms that differentiate COVID-19 from the flu, it’s the virus itself, and therefore the treatment, that is creating difficulty managing the illness. I’m not quoting this from any source, but here’s my take:

If there’s a flu outbreak in my child’s school, many of their peers have received the flu vaccine. If the child gets the flu, there are specific anti-viral medications that help to mitigate symptoms and reduce severity. If my child comes home with the flu, our household is vaccinated, does not have respiratory, immune, heart or diabetic issues and should be able to withstand the short-term symptoms without long-term harm. As a result, the flu, while terribly inconvenient, is not a major threat in my particular household.

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in my child’s school, neither my child nor any of their peers will have been vaccinated. There are no anti-viral medications that are known to help mitigate symptoms or reduce severity, which means longer periods out of work and school for those infected (and the family taking care of them). While I don’t believe my household falls in an at-risk category medically, the longer-term implications for our house of six will primarily be work and school related, and those could be severe. <– This right here is what makes it so scary to me. I also worry about at-risk family and friends, though all we can do on that front is protect ourselves from spreading it as best as we can; control the controllable.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

  1. The CDC says the number one way to protect yourself is: Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash often and for at least 20 seconds using soap.
  2. Maintain a social distance of at least 3 feet from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching your face or eyes.
  4. Follow good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth with the inside of your elbow (like a vampire!) and disposing of used tissues properly. Then see #1 again.
  5. If you feel ill, stay home from work or school and seek advice from a medical professional.

When It Feels Impossible

Mainstream media can make a scary situation feel impossible. The best thing we can do is to take precautions, remain calm and have a plan. Talk to your family, share information on how to stay healthy and practice good hygiene.

You got this, mama.

What are your best tips for staying healthy? Share with us in the comments!

Tara Rosenkranz
Tara is a mom of four and lives in Metairie with her husband, kids, dog, birds and turtle. When she's not at home with her circus, she's at work or taxiing children around the city. Her favorite holiday is Mardi Gras. Tara loves to read, drink KranzCoffee and eat Double Stuff Oreos.

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