Coronavirus Houston: How To Understand and Find Local Resources
Coronavirus has made it’s way to Houston.
This is a serious respiratory illness, however, with preparation, understanding, and planning you can protect yourself and family. Not only that, but a better understanding can help to reduce any anxiety you are feeling about the virus.
In this guide I’ll provide you with a basic understanding of the virus as well as local resources to contact if you need help.
Coronavirus Houston: How To Understand and Find Local Resources
The following topics will be covered in this guide:
- What is the Coronavirus and what are it’s symptoms?
- How does the virus spread?
- Who is at high risk for the virus?
- 10 Ways to protect yourself from Coronavirus
- What do you do if you feel sick?
- Houston numbers you can call to have your Coronavirus questions answered
Note: The majority of the information in this article was found at the CDC website. Feel free to follow the links in this article to learn even more about Coronavirus.
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus Disease 19 also known as COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.
The virus is spread from person to person via respiratory droplets from coughs, sneezes or people touching dirty surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, etc.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China.
What Are The Symptoms Of Coronavirus?
Coronavirus symptoms can range from being mild, severe and even leading to death. Symptoms like fever, coughing and shortness of breath can appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Whether you have these symptoms or not if you feel you have a medical emergency its best to contact 911, your doctor or the local Free Nurse Line at 713.338.7979. They will be able to better direct you at these places.
How Does Coronavirus Spread?
Coronavirus is new therefore researchers are still learning how it spreads. According to the CDC this is what they believe about the spread of this virus right now:
- It is spread mainly from person to person
- Can potentially be passed between people who are within 6 feet of each other
- Passed by respiratory droplets from the infected person coughing or sneezing
- These droplets can be inhaled or someone can self infect if they touch a surface with the virus and then place their hands in their eyes, nose or mouth.
It’s important to do everything in your control to protect yourself and others, because this virus is easily spread.
Those At High Risk For Coronavirus In Houston
The CDC states that these populations are at higher risk of getting very sick from Coronavirus.
- Older adults, 60 and over
- People with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease
Those in the high risk population can guard against Coronavirus by limiting contact with the general public and especially those that are sick. You can also try to gather enough supplies (groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies and medicine) in case the outbreak lasts a long period of time.
In the case of groceries try having a family member or neighbor visit the grocery store for you. For medications you can speak with your doctor about a 90 day supply of medications or consider having your meds mailed to you home. Many insurance plans have a mail-order medication service so contact the number on back of your insurance card.
If you are the family member or neighbor of someone who is high risk consider offering them help with runs to the grocery store or any other errands they need.
10 Ways To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus
At this point there is no vaccine for Coronavirus, although the CDC states that these are things you can do to protect yourself against it:
- Clean your hands OFTEN. Wash your hands with with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash with soap and water use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Cover your entire hand and rub them until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact. Try to place distance (6 feet if possible) between yourself and others. Remember the virus can spread through respiratory droplets that come from an infected person coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if you feel ill. To help protect others you should isolate yourself if you feel sick.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes. Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer (60% or greater alcohol) to clean your hands after.
- Wear a face mask if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick.
- No face mask is needed IF you are not sick. However if you are caring for someone who is sick you should wear a face mask.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often. This includes doorknobs, light switches, phones, keyboards, faucets and sinks. More CDC recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting here.
- Pregnant women are encouraged to read up and take these precautions.
- Children can be protected with these steps.
Again there is no vaccine for Coronavirus however these are ways to avoid infection for yourself and family members.
What To Do If You Feel Sick (Coronavirus)
The CDC suggests that you take the following steps if you have Coronavirus or believe you could be infected.
Call Your Doctor Or Hospital Before Visiting
In the past we would simply show up as a walk-in to our doctors or even an emergency room, however, with Coronavirus it’s different.
If you have a medical emergency and believe you have Coronavirus call 911, but be sure to tell the dispatcher about your condition. To protect medical workers, wear a face mask to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
If you feel sick the CDC encourages you to call your doctor or the hospital first. This is important to prevent the spread of community infection of Coronavirus in Houston.
To avoid a similar situation in Houston, it’s best to follow this recommendation and call before you visit your doctor or a hospital.
Stay Home Unless Its To Get Medical Care
If you are sick with Coronavirus you should not leave your home unless its related to medical care. Areas you should avoid include work, school, public transportation and generally any public areas. Avoiding these areas can help prevent community spread of Coronavirus in Houston.
Avoid People and Pets In Your Home
Avoid people and pets in your home if you are quarantined. The reason being is Coronavirus is highly contagious.
The CDC suggests staying in another room of the house and using a separate bathroom is possible.
There have been no reports of Coronavirus being passed to animals, however there is not enough information available to completely rule this out. If you must care for your pet avoid petting or sharing food with them. Be sure to wash your hands before and after interacting with them and wear a face mask.
For more information on protecting your pets use this link and scroll down to the COVID-19 and Animals section.
Don’t Share Personal Household Items
This includes drinking from the same glasses, sharing utensils, towels or sheets. After using these items be sure to wash them.
Follow Each Recommendation From The Above “How To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus” Section
This includes things like washing your hands often, cleaning high-touch areas, and wearing a face mask if you are sick.
Check Your Symptoms
If your symptoms worsen (problems breathing, etc) seek medical attention. Before visiting your doctor or the emergency room call them to let them know you have/possibly have Coronavirus so that they can take proper precautions.
Also be sure to wear a face mask when entering a hospital, doctors office or interacting with medical personnel.
Remain Isolated Until Your Doctor Tells You It’s Ok To Return To Normal
It’s best to isolate yourself until you are no longer at risk of passing the virus to others. Your doctor or someone with your local health department will be able to let you know when its best to come out of isolation and resume normal activities.
Houston Coronavirus Resources
Below you will find local resources to provide you with services, answer your questions and keep you updated on any Coronavirus news in Houston.
HoustonEmergency.org provides updates on Coronavirus in Houston. The updates include the latest counts of COVID-19 in Harris County, statements from local leaders and general information on keeping you and your family safe.
Note: The Houston Health Department manages this website.
Bottom line, if you want to keep up with the latest news on COVID-19 in Houston HoustonEmergency.org is a viable source to check.
Houston Coronavirus Call Center (832.393.4220)
The Houston Coronavirus Call Center is a phone number that you can call to have questions answered about Coronavirus.
The helpline is managed by the City of Houston Health Department and operates Monday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm. It’s open on Saturdays from 9 am to 3 pm.
Citizens can contact the Coronavirus Call Center at 832.393.4220.
Healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, etc) have their own helpline they can call at 832.393.5080.
Free Nurse Health Line In Houston (713.338.7979)
Whether you have questions about Coronavirus in Houston or some other illness, the Houston Nurse Health Line.
Note: This health line is operated by the Memorial Hermann Health System. You do not need to have insurance or be a Memorial patient to call this health line.
This health line is open 24-hours a day, offers bilingual staff, language interpreters and available to anyone in the Houston and surrounding counties.
Registered nurses will listen to your concerns and provide recommendations on treatment. This can include taking over the counter medications or encouraging you to get to a hospital.
You can call the Free Houston Nurse Health Line at 713.338.7979 or 855.577.7979.
Situations that are out of your control can lead to anxiety. The best way to put yourself at ease in these instances is to focus more on the circumstances you CAN control.
Washing your hands often, keeping your distance from others, “Lysoling” the heck out of your work area and avoiding large crowds are all things that you can control.
If none of this works and you do become sick, don’t panic.
Instead, seek medical help because this is something you also have control over.
Unlike normal instances where you would just show up at your doctors office or emergency room Coronavirus requires that you call before you visit. Doing this allows the staff at the doctors office to prepare for your arrival to protect you and prevent further community spread in Houston.
If you have questions about resources for Coronavirus in Houston you can find answers at places like:
- CDC website
- Calling the Houston Coronavirus Help Line (832.393.4220)
- Houston Nurse Helpline at 713.338.7979.
- Harris Healthy System (Gold Card)
Nick Bryant is the author of Understanding Healthcare Is Half The Battle and a Senior Counselor with 13+ years of experience working in community health and mental health. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching WWE on Friday nights, and working toward a Google Data Analytics certification. If you have additional questions about community resources or government assistance programs, simply leave a comment below and he will follow up as soon as possible.