The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has released a document describing in detail what veterans needs to know about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves during this pandemic. The following guide will help veterans learn about the virus, as well as describe how you can use health care benefits and where to find important resources.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you are a veteran, the VA recommends you take the following four steps to protect yourself immediately (note that links to resources are provided below the graphic):
Click on the following links to find the most current information about COVID-19:
- CDC COVID-19 information page
- VA’s public health response to COVID-19
- FAQs for veterans about accessing your health care benefits during this outbreak
- Ways to manage and enhance your mental health
- Send a message through MyHealtheVet to your primary care provider
Here is some additional information from the VA to help you understand the coronavirus:
How is COVID-19 spread?
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Droplets can also land and remain active on surfaces several hours to days depending on the surface material.
Who is most at risk of contracting COVID-19?
Older adults (60+) and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19. If you are in this population, please consult with your VA health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
What are the most effective ways to protect myself?
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm (or hot) water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently
- Touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them—use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For more complete and updated information on cleaning and disinfecting visit CDC online at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
MAIN PHOTO: LOS ANGELES (March 30, 2020) Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Erick Galindo, from El Paso, Texas, takes a test sample in the micro laboratory aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), March 30, 2020. Mercy deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense’s missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Released)