The last few months have felt as though we are living in a science fiction movie. Facts and opinions change so rapidly that by the time you read this, new information will have replaced it.
How do you sift through what is critical information? How do we all learn to live our lives more safely, now and after the crisis is past? We will never go back to exactly the old life we knew, and some of that may be good. Maybe it is time to understand what we do know, what we need to rethink, and how do we plan for the unknown world around us as we move forward.
First, let’s just go over the facts. Let’s compare the flu with Coronavirus to see similarities and differences.
COVID-19 is one virus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The flu can be any of several types and strains of influenza viruses.
While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways, COVID-19 might also be spread through the aerosoled airborne route. Patients with no symptoms may transmit COVID-19.
Antiviral medications and other therapies are being tested with COVID-19 patients, with no data yet on whether they will address symptoms.
Antiviral medications for various flu infections can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of illness.
No vaccine is available for COVID-19.
Flu vaccines are available and effective to prevent or reduce the severity of some of the most dangerous types of influenza.
COVID-19 is caused by a new virus; people do not have immunity to it and a vaccine may be many months away. Containing the virus will be aided when we can test for immunity.
So how do we proceed? We will need to take responsibility for our actions, wearing masks and gloves when going out. The most vulnerable will need a modified, continued quarantine with crowd avoidance and restricted visitors.
For everyone, we may need to practice self-sufficiency and resiliency, yet knowing when to seek help when feeling overwhelmed. We need to reach out to those we know without compromising our health. Accepting that we need to do this is not without some sadness for what we have lost. We need to grieve those losses. Change can also create a sense of pride that we can become independent to some degree. We have a huge advantage over previous generations because of technology that allows us to see and speak with our loved ones. As individuals and as a nation, we will see a renewed sense of identity honed by the experience of a life-altering event. We will compromise; we will seek a healthier lifestyle to support our immune system; we will work together as a community, state, and nation, and we will prevail.
The Farmington Valley VNA is a local source of information during a community health crisis. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns; we are here for you.
—Nancy Scheetz, APRN,
Executive Director, FVVNA