As of 11 AM today, the world is at war with a virus the size of a cell known as Coronavirus or Covid-19. Each nation is working with all of the other countries to combat and prevent the continuous spread of this virus. If you look back in the historical records, the world faced a similar threat in the form of the plague and polio. Fortunately, the world had doctors who came up with a cure because if they couldn’t, human life may have gone extinct. Today, our doctors are even better and well equipped to face this threat head-on. My thought is that we will prevail. Therefore, we must follow the instructions of our leaders to help defeat this Coronavirus. Some of the instructions indicate that social distancing occurs with everybody. What does this mean?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other leaders of states, from the recommendation of their medical professionals, social distancing means no gathering of a group of people higher than 250. Since that first announcement and the situation changes daily, that number has diminished to 10 people. Also, the recommendation requires that six feet of space protect people other than less than six feet. That fact remains is that the virus is still under investigation. As doctors and scientists learn of its further and unknown capabilities, the best action to take is to follow those instructions. However, with Coronavirus, we must not forget that other healthcare needs still exist.
Paramedics, across the country, and the world are responding to emergencies in the same fashion as they have done unswervingly and with dedication since Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was established. What this means is that people are still having heart attacks, cardiac arrest, seizures, traffic collisions, burns, smoke inhalation, and many more. Since the coronavirus made its debut across the world, much focus on its destruction and prevention seemed to have overlooked those other emergencies. For instance, many people are watching the news and
looking on the Internet for answers when they get what they believe are the exact symptoms of the coronavirus. Some are calling 911 for a cough (just a cough) without a fever, body aches, or other symptoms. When paramedics arrive, these people want to be transported to an emergency room for testing.
It should be known that emergency rooms are not used arbitrarily for testing people who believe they have the virus with just a cough. Your chances of getting the virus increases when you step towards or into an environment that is taking care of people who may have the virus. Besides, when you call 911 for such a fundamental level complaint, you may be denying emergency care from the closest paramedic unit for a person who is suffering a heart attack, gunshot wound, or others who need advance prehospital medical care. The cough could be just a cough, so the best solution is to treat it that way. Of course, the latest headlines are suggesting that every person should act as if they have the virus, and by doing so, you are more aware that you may pass it on to your family, including the older generation with or without underlying medical problems. But what can you do for a person who suffers from cardiac arrest and CPR is needed, but there is an order to stay six feet away?
When a person suffers cardiac arrest, he or she needs CPR. Without it, the chances of survival are meager or none at all, even if you summon paramedics. With the social distancing order, it is expected that a vast majority of people in America and around the world will start CPR and take every precaution to protect themselves from contamination. Moreover, placing a bandana mask (any kind), that covers your mouth and nose is better than nothing. If this person who suffers from cardiac arrest is a relative and another relative is present, there is no question that CPR will be started. For those victims who are not relatives, the possibility of a stranger starting CPR still exists but less than that of a relative.
If someone decides to take that life-saving action of doing CPR on a victim of cardiac arrest, “you are my HERO!” Your effort may be successful, and the victim that you saved may not have the virus. On the other hand, anyone who is unconscious from a medical problem or trauma should be considered high risk. Therefore, give the paramedics your name and contact number as someone who was possibly exposed to the virus so the staff at the hospital can contact you.
Finally, it is prudent to be prepared for war. What that means is that you don’t go into combat unarmed. Keep a mask, goggles, and disposable gloves in your car, backpack, briefcase, or anywhere else that gives you quick access to it. Also, avoid mouth-to-mouth when doing CPR. Chest compressions alone are sufficient, and remember to use the AED if you have it and call 911. Even more, it is appropriate to place a mask (if you have it) on the victim who you are trying to save with CPR. Please, be thoughtful, stay safe, and continue to help those in need amongst this international threat. We will prevail!