How to help during the coronavirus pandemic

The best way to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus is washing your hands -- thoroughly -- with soap and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SAN ANTONIO – News surrounding the novel coronavirus can make people feel concerned and even helpless.

But while it’s easy to sit back and watch what unfolds next, people can take action and help the community or those reeling from the virus.

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It’s still OK (in fact, it’s encouraged) to give blood if you are healthy and haven’t traveled to a country where COVD-19 is widespread. It is a great idea to give food during the San Antonio Food Bank’s coronavirus preparedness and prevention campaign.

But perhaps the easiest ways to help include washing those hands, checking up on the elderly and staying home in you think you can hand off an illness to others.

Colleges and universities that have canceled classes due to coronavirus

Here are some tips on how to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donate blood

Donation centers are still encouraging people to give blood, as COVID-19 is not transmitted through blood because it’s a respiratory disease.

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center said it is taking extra precautions to keep centers sanitized by wiping down chairs and donation beds after each use, adding hand sanitizer stations and asking staff to stay home if they feel sick.

Because some community sponsors are considering canceling blood drives, a shortage is a possibility, the center said.

Coronavirus concerns could spark a blood donation shortage. Here’s why you should keep donating blood and not worry.

You can also donate blood with the University Health System and the American Red Cross.

Those who traveled to countries with widespread COVID-19 are asked to wait at least 28 days before donating.

Donate food

The San Antonio Food Bank launched a coronavirus preparedness and prevention campaign this month.

The goal is to supply 300,000 low-income households with a 14-day supply of food and a coronavirus preparedness kit, according to a press release from the food bank.

The food bank is asking for items on its “12 Most Wanted” list, such as rice, beans, pasta, soups, canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruit, diapers and pet food.

Monetary donations can also be made on the San Antonio Food Bank’s website.

Prevent others from getting sick

It’s been said time and time again: wash your hands, avoid touching your face, cover your coughs and stay home if you feel sick.

When it comes to prevention, treat COVID-19 like the flu. COVID-19 symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just because a person experiences these symptoms doesn’t mean they have contracted COVID-19.

If you have symptoms and reason to believe you could have been exposed, you should contact the Metropolitan Health District and your doctor.

Know the symptoms and how to protect yourself, others from the coronavirus

Don’t hoard supplies

Libby Castillo, the regional communications manager for the American Red Cross serving Central and South Texas, suggests that people don’t panic by purchasing a surplus of groceries or emergency supplies.

People should go through their inventory and purchase the supplies that they would need to get them through an emergency.

Officials recommend a three-day supply for most emergency scenarios, but even if local authorities were to issue a quarantine order, it would be unlikely to go beyond 14 days.

How you can responsibly prepare for an emergency (without hoarding supplies)

If store shelves are wiped out of the necessities, it could create an even bigger danger as Texas heads into the spring storm season.

Check on the elderly

The CDC says those with a high risk for serious complications from COVID-19 are people over 60 years old or people with serious underlying health conditions.

The CDC is urging people who fit in those categories, and their caregivers, to take precautions and be prepared.

CDC urges people over 60, those with health conditions to prepare, stay near home amid coronavirus

Now’s the time for healthy people with elderly relatives, friends or neighbors to check on them often.

Caregivers are urged to be familiar with loved ones’ medications and to help them get the food, medications and supplies they need at home so they won’t have to go out in public as much.

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