Dear KSNA members, health care staff, and our Kansas community,
We appreciate all you are doing regarding this stressful time related to COVID-19 along with the additional care you provide to your patients, family and friends. As the most trusted profession, your concerns are extremely import to KSNA and the Board of Directors. We will keep you updated as the days progress and with communication we receive by the CDC, KDHE, our legislators and governor, Kansas Board of Nursing, and other associations.
On March 12th, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 allowing her administration to mobilize resources and activate personnel to assist in the state where needed and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.
As nurses, many of the tips regarding handwashing is drilled in our heads when we begin nursing school. Here are a list of possible symptoms and some additional tips that you can use to share with others.
Possible symptoms or COVID-19 2-14 days after exposure include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
If you develop emergent warning signs for COVID-19 seek medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Severe cough
- High fever
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or difficulty to arouse
- Bluish face or lips
****This list is not all inclusive. Please contact your doctor or medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
- Call your doctor or provider if you have any of these symptoms. KSNA encourages those with symptoms or exposure to some who was COVID-19 positive to obtain the care needed.
- Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Have sick family members use a separate room and use a separate bathroom in your home, if possible, to reduce the spread of germs. Wearing a regular face mask can also help protect others in your home. Avoid contact with pets.
- Quarantine for 14 days.
- Continue practicing preventive actions. This includes washing your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds; cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough into your elbow, not your hands, and avoiding touching your face.
- Keep a supply of tissues, over-the-counter fever reducers, cough and cold medication, and plenty of fluids for those in your household.
- Identify everyone who needs to be part of your plan and what his/her needs are. This should include things like health or medical conditions, medication needs, medical equipment needs, dietary needs, and other things you’d take into account during any other type of emergency. Current information about COVID-19 suggests that older adults and those with underlying chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more serious complications.
- Create an emergency contact list. Identify everyone who needs to be part of your plan and what his/her needs are. This should include things like health or medical conditions, medication needs, medical equipment needs, dietary needs, and other things you’d take into account during any other type of emergency. Don’t forget to include social services that are part of your daily life, including things like student meal programs and mental health services.
- Notify the employer and/or school of changes in schedule. If your child gets sick, talk with teachers about classroom assignments that can be done from home to keep up with schoolwork. Ask your employer to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick or your child’s school or daycare is temporarily dismissed.
- Wear a mask to protect your family, friends and community.
- Avoid gathering in public places. Use “social distancing” by keeping 6 feet, or more, away from other persons in the event that you must go out in public. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to 6 feet. When schools or employers are temporarily dismissed, avoid gathering in groups in public places. This will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you live alone and become sick, you may need help. Stay in touch with family, friends and healthcare providers by phone or telemedicine if possible. Check on those with chronic medical conditions periodically.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information. Check KDHE’s website, kdheks.gov, and http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/, to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 information. You can also check the websites and social media pages of your local health department. The CDC website also has resources: www.cdc.gov.
- Check with employers and schools periodically about potential closings or changes in attendance policies.
- Take care of your family’s emotional health. Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children. Children respond differently to stressful situations than adults. Talk with your children about the outbreak, try to stay calm, and reassure them that they are safe.
- Take care of yourself! Make sure you and your family drink plenty of water, eat regular meals, allow yourself to get 8 hours sleep and breathe.
Remember that most cases of COVID-19 are mild. Taking these precautions are not only to help yourself but to prevent spread to others in your community especially those who are high-risk based on age and pre-existing conditions.
Make sure to reach out to your health care provider by phone if you have any health concerns.
VIGILANCE (not panic) is key for reducing the burden of disease and for all of us to return to life as usual.
Resources are from KDHE and the CDC.
Kelly R. Sommers, RN, BSN
Kansas State Nurses Association