Helpful Resources for Patients
Southwestern Health Resources (SWHR) is committed to providing valuable, up-to-date information to patients concerned about the coronavirus and how it may affect you and those you care about. This page offers resources and tools for you to use and share with others, including printable handouts and web links.
If you have questions or think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, call the Texas Health Coronavirus Hotline at 682-236-7601 to speak to a nurse. The hotline is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Returning to your physician's office
Staying up to date on important preventive medical care may require an in-person visit to your doctor. But how can you be sure it's safe?
You can be confident that your physician and other healthcare facilities are following strict guidelines to minimize risk and your exposure to others. Here are some things you can expect when you go.
Visit only trusted, credible sites for news and information. Below are some agency and government resources that provide the latest guidance and education.
These helpful PDF guides can be printed or shared.
Just for Kids
- Q&A for Parents/Talking to Kids About COVID-19 (English | Spanish)
- Charlie Learns About Coronavirus (storybook) (English | Spanish)
- Q&A for Teens (English)
Prevention and Care
- Coronavirus Prevention Tips (English)
- 5 Steps to Wash Your Hands (English | Spanish)
- Keeping Your Home Safe (English | Spanish)
- What to Do When You’ve Been Exposed (English | Spanish)
- Caring for Yourself at Home if You're Sick (English | Spanish)
- How to Care for Someone Who Is Sick (English | Spanish)
Information and Guidelines
- Your Heart and the New Coronavirus: Don't Ignore Heart Symptoms (English | Spanish)
- What is COVID-19? (English | Spanish)
- Social Distancing (English | Spanish)
- Slowing the Spread of COVID-19: Flattening the Curve (English | Spanish)
- Advice for People at High Risk (English)
- Call First! Avoid Exposing Others to COVID-19 (English | Spanish)
Coronavirus questions? Call 682-236-7601.
The Texas Health Coronavirus Hotline is staffed by nurses to help answer your questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19. The hotline is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads to many areas around the world. The World Health Organization has called COVID-19 a pandemic because the disease has traveled worldwide.
An epidemic is an outbreak of infectious disease (or sometimes another health problem) that is happening much more than usual in an area. When COVID-19 first appeared in China, it was called an epidemic because of the rapid rise in the number of infections there.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus in people. That’s why it’s called a novel virus. Because it’s new, people have little or no immune protection from it. This makes it spread quickly and widely.
There are many types of coronaviruses. The most common type causes the common cold. But unlike the common cold — which almost everyone gets over without problems — COVID-19 can cause serious illness and death. Some coronaviruses affect humans, and some affect undomesticated animals. Sometimes, a coronavirus that affects an animal changes a little and is then able to infect humans. That’s how COVID-19 is believed to have started.
A new study shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive in an aerosol form for at least three hours. An aerosol is something under pressure that can be released as a spray, like a sneeze or a cough. The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to three days, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine. How well it survives may depend on the surface it’s on. In the study, the virus lasted longest on plastic and stainless steel. It didn’t live as long on cardboard.
Because the virus can live for hours to days, it’s especially important to keep items around you clean. Experts advise cleaning surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as tables, door handles, faucets, toilets, handrails and remote controls. You can use household disinfectants, a bleach solution or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
The virus is new, so it’s not known how warmer weather will affect it. Some illnesses (like the flu and colds) are more common in colder weather than warmer weather. But it’s not known if that will be true of this virus.
There’s no evidence that the virus can be spread through water or food. The virus is believed to be spread from person to person. This happens through close contact (being within 6 feet) and droplets when a person who has the virus coughs or sneezes. Experts also think it may be possible to get the virus by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
City water treatment disinfects water. While food doesn’t spread the virus, it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before you prepare food. It’s also important to disinfect surfaces like kitchen counters, tables and objects that you touch.
Experts say it may be possible to get the virus by touching something that has the virus on it. This includes surfaces like tables and countertops and objects such as doorknobs, faucets, toilets, remote controls and handles on the fridge and microwave.
To clean and disinfect surfaces and objects:
- Wear disposable gloves. Throw them away after you clean and disinfect. Wash your hands after you take off the gloves.
- Use a detergent or soap and water to clean any dirt from surfaces and objects.
- To kill the virus, use a household disinfectant cleaner, a household bleach solution, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol. Make sure the product is right for the type of surface you are cleaning. Follow the directions on the product. You can make your own bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach with a gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach with a quart of water.
You can wash an ill person’s items along with other people’s clothing. Just take care when handling the person’s dirty laundry.
- Wear disposable gloves. If you don’t have disposable gloves, wash your hands after handling the laundry of a person infected with the virus.
- Don’t shake out the laundry before you wash it. This can prevent releasing the virus into the air.
- Wash the clothes in the warmest temperature that is allowed for the type of fabric.
- Make sure the clothes are completely dry.
- Use a separate basket to hold the person’s dirty laundry. Line it with a disposable or washable liner to keep the basket clean.
Experts don’t know why some people, even those who are healthy, get very sick. Overall, COVID-19 seems to cause fewer problems in people who are young and healthy. Those who are older or have other health problems, like diabetes or heart disease, have a higher risk of getting very sick. But the virus can affect anyone, even those who are young and healthy. And it can cause serious problems (even death) at any age. Data from the CDC has shown that 38% of people who have needed care in a hospital for COVID-19 have been between ages 20 and 54.
No. Antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. Viruses are different than bacteria. Antibiotics don’t help and can even cause other problems.
The length of time someone is sick with COVID-19 varies. It depends on how sick a person is. When people are mildly ill, they usually get better in one or two weeks.
People who are more severely ill have worse symptoms, like severe shortness of breath and pneumonia. They need care in a hospital. They usually get better in 3 to 6 weeks. Some people who get very sick may need even more time to recover.
Some people with COVID-19 have very mild or no symptoms. They may get over the infection without even
knowing they had it.
FAQ Source: Healthwise