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Update about COVID-19

March 4, 2020

While public health officials are actively monitoring the risk of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has consulted with members of the CF clinical community about its potential impact on people living with cystic fibrosis.

At this time there are no recommendations specific to people with CF other than what is recommended to the general population. We recommend monitoring the Health Canada website and/or local public health authorities in your region.

That said it seems wise to reiterate the basics: good hand hygiene, staying away from people who are sick and thinking twice (or more) about travelling to certain areas.

Some basic information about what is known about COVID-19 may help individuals make informed choices.
According to multiple sources the virus is believed to spread primarily through person-to-person contact via droplets that carry active virus. Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19 and is not believed to be a major driver of transmission. Spread may also be through contact with contaminated surfaces. Most sources believe that the virus can survive for hours, (some suggest days), on some surfaces and that infection occurs when a person then touches their eyes, nose or mouth with a contaminated hand. Therefore, avoid touching public surfaces as much as possible and clean and disinfect your hands frequently. Although there is no consensus, many sources believe masks are most effective when worn by patients with respiratory infections to prevent the spread of droplets, as opposed by healthy individuals who are seeking to avoid infection. 

  •  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Frequently use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. (Some sources suggest a mask for this purpose)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash, and washing your hands
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Staying home when you are sick

Other suggestions:

  • No handshaking. Use a fist bump or elbow bump
  • Use your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Open doors with a closed fist or hip, or use a paper towel or tissue if possible
  • Keep disinfectant wipes handy to use on some public surfaces in stores – grocery carts for example

A common cold is typically accompanied with a runny nose and mucous while COVID-19 infection is not. COVID-19 first infects the throat area and the throat becomes very dry and painful and is accompanied by dry cough.
If you are concerned about symptoms you are having contact your CF clinic.

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