5 Important Answers to Your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions

Last Updated: Tuesday 31st March 2020.

Here at Healthy Enough, it’s always been our goal to offer you ‘no-nonsense’ advice for practical health and fitness. This approach is more important than ever given the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The facts – as always – reign supreme. Given this, we would like to set you up with some straight answers to five of the most pressing questions you might have about the current state of things.

Of course, the situation related to this illness continues to change daily. As such, we will do our best to continually update the information here as more facts become available.

5 Important Answers to Your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions

Understandably, there’s an onslaught of information you can find regarding the so-called ‘coronavirus.’ Therefore, we feel it’s important to present a clear set of answers to several important questions you may be asking.

Sourced from reputable professionals and experts, these questions tackle the basics of the illness, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Let’s start with an explanation of the illness itself.

1. What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the official World Health Organization (WHO) name for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 – throughout this article, we’ll simply call it “coronavirus.”

It’s a respiratory illness brought on by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), that can cause mild to fatal symptoms. To avoid confusion with the 2003 SARS outbreak, the WHO has refrained from using this term to communicate about the current illness.

Coronavirus in Humans

While the common human coronavirus is already known about, the current strain we’re dealing with is potentially zoonotic in origin. This means until now it was found primarily in animals.

A virus mutation means it was able to transfer to humans and be spread through the population. Since we have not previously had exposure to this strain of the virus, it’s known as ’novel’. This means we don’t have any prior immunity to it even though our bodies have likely encountered the human variant at some point.

2. How is Coronavirus Spread?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that while they are still learning more about how the coronavirus disease spreads, they do know several key indicators:

  • Proximity: The CDC states the illness can be spread from person-to-person within a six-foot radius.
  • Respiratory droplets: Droplets created when someone sneezes or coughs can infect another person who gets them in their nose or mouth.

Researchers and health professionals are still monitoring other forms of how the disease spreads. However, as of yet, no other form of potential spreading has been identified that’s more dominant or probable than the two listed above.

Understanding ‘Community Spread’

Another aspect of the illness is ’community spread’. This is essentially when some people in a given region become infected without understanding whether they’ve had any known contact with an infected person, or traveled to a region with known positive cases.

In the United States, all 50 states have reported cases at this time. Out of those, 27 states have reported evidence of community spread.

3. What Are the Typical Symptoms of Coronavirus?

There are several verified symptoms to be aware of, and the effect on an individual has been from mild to fatal. However, predicting fatality rates in the midst of a pandemic comes with a lot of caveats, according to researchers, which is why we won’t be sharing numbers in this piece.

Fever

A fever has been one of the main symptoms in people displaying moderate to severe symptoms. A temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater is what doctors consider to be a ‘fever’. It has been noted as a key symptom that can start anytime from 2–14 days after someone has been exposed to the virus.

Cough

Persistent coughing has been noted as another primary symptom. Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville described the cough to CNN in specific terms.

He indicated it’s not just a little tickle but a cough that doesn’t produce anything but comes from deeper in the respiratory system. The cough will come from your sternum area, Schaffner told the news organization.

Shortness of Breath

The third most notable symptom is shortness of breath. According to Harvard Medical School, this manifests as a feeling of being winded or an inability to catch your breath. They do caution that if shortness of breath is your only symptom, it’s likely not caused by the coronavirus disease.

However, they do note that shortness of breath should be assessed by a medical professional in most cases, regardless of whether coronavirus is suspected.

4. Should I Seek Treatment if I Think I Have Coronavirus?

The CDC recommends a specific set of actionable steps if you think you have become ill with coronavirus. Obviously, if you have become short of breath and are displaying signs of respiratory distress, you should seek emergency medical care – but try to have someone call ahead first.

In terms of the steps you should take, the CDC advises the following:

  • Recover at home. In an effort to reduce the spread of the illness, if you have mild symptoms or suspect you might be sick due to the coronavirus, it’s advised that you stay home and treat your symptoms. This includes hydration and rest.
  • Monitor symptoms. Keeping tabs on your symptoms is another recommendation. The CDC recommends you keep in touch with your doctor.
  • Self-isolate. Treating yourself at home also means you should self-isolate. This includes staying in one room away from others in your home, if possible. Additionally, in an effort to reduce the spread of the illness, you should not use public transportation or gather in public places.
  • Call ahead. Should you require medical attention or develop signs of emergency symptoms, the CDC also recommends calling ahead if possible. Doing so will enable doctors to receive you quickly, while also putting on any appropriate protective gear.

On the subject of protection, we want to also note the current recommendations regarding face masks. The CDC advise that face masks are recommended only in two situations for individuals:

  • If you are caring for someone infected with coronavirus.
  • If you are symptomatic and need to go out in public to receive medical care.

On the whole, keeping a distance of six feet from others can be helpful in preventing transmission of the illness to others. We’ll cover this more in the next section.

5. What Is ‘Social Distancing’ and How Do I Do It?

According to Johns Hopkins, social distancing means intentionally reducing your interaction with others, especially in large groups. In many cases, this might mean making arrangements to work from home or postpone events and gatherings.

By now you’ve likely heard the term used in reference to how to stop the spread of coronavirus. While different countries and regions around the world are issuing different variations to their citizens, the basics of the recommendations are the same.

Some examples of social distancing include:

  • Canceling school and moving learning to an online environment.
  • Limiting capacity at childcare facilities .
  • Switching to only carryout or delivery for food establishments.
  • Staying six feet away from people not part of your household if you are out in public.
  • Closing non-essential businesses.

In addition to observing strict social distancing practices, washing your hands for 20 seconds and avoiding touching your face have all been recommended. Professionals have encouraged these as ways to reduce the spread of the illness.

How to Help Reduce the Transmission of Coronavirus

As we all adjust to less physical interaction and new routines, remember that your efforts are all geared towards ending a global health issue. It’s likely new information and recommendations will emerge as researchers collect more data.

However, the following key items will help you navigate all the current information on coronavirus:

  1. Coronavirus disease has been named COVID-19 by the WHO and is previously unknown to human immune systems.
  2. The spread of coronavirus disease happens when mucus droplets from an infected person enter the system of a healthy person.
  3. The three main symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath – varying from absent to fatal.
  4. If you suspect you have coronavirus, doctors recommend mild to moderate patients should self-isolate at home and avoid contact with others. Those infected who experience shortness of breath in addition to other symptoms of the illness should call ahead and seek urgent care.
  5. Social distancing is the recommended method of reducing the spread of the illness, and includes taking steps to work from home, learn online, avoid groups, and events. Closing non-essential business is another aspect of social distancing.

The CDC and the WHO remain the most recommended sources of information on coronavirus by local and national health authorities. We will work to keep our information updated here as the situation evolves based on input from the experts.

Be safe, wash your hands, and stay informed.

How to Lose Weight Easily: Set a Modest Target

When it comes to weight loss, the biggest mistake many people make (in my opinion) is to set ambitious goals (such as losing 3lbs per week). Such goals are difficult to achieve at the best of times, and once you have a single off-day or discover that you’re not quite on target, the inevitable chipping away of your drive and enthusiasm begins, which typically leads to failure.

On the other hand, if you set a very modest target (such as any ongoing weight loss – even if it’s only 0.5lbs per week on average), you’ll find success far easier to come by. Furthermore, you may find yourself surprised as to how far such “modest” goals can take you – after all, half a pound a week is equal to a whopping 26lbs per year.

If you allow yourself to consider the prospect of losing weight slowly but steadily (which makes it far more likely that you’ll keep that weight off, incidentally), it opens up some pretty exciting opportunities. In other words, you may discover that losing weight doesn’t actually have to be that hard, and doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of sacrifice.

Let’s break down some simple numbers to make my point. I don’t claim that the following numbers are precise – because they aren’t – but they work well enough as approximations.

A pound of fat is often said to be equivalent to 3,500 calories, which means that if you consume 3,500 calories less than your body needs over any period of time, you’ll lose a pound of fat. The simple weight loss equation, therefore, is to achieve a calorific deficit that is equal to the amount of fat you wish to lose.

The rules of the game are made simple if you set a modest goal. If you shoot for say an average loss of just 0.5lbs per week on average, your deficit needs to be 1,750 calories per week – or 250 calories per day. That kind of deficit can be achieved with relative ease. By making just a handful of small, barely noticeable tweaks to your eating and exercising habits, you can make that weight loss happen (and stick).

For example, here are a few potentially easily executable strategies you could use to achieve such a calorific deficit:

The key is to find the strategies that you can implement with little effort or willpower required. Different strategies will work for different people. The point is that you won’t have to do much, because you’ve not set a huge weight loss goal. Start tracking your weight loss trend, and as long as that trend points downwards, you’re doing all you need to do in the long-term.

I believe that throwing ambitious targets out of the window and focusing instead on steady, gradual progress is the single most impactful step you can make to long-term sustainable weight loss. The process is simple: set the lowest possible goal (i.e. any ongoing weight loss), then do the bare minimum to achieve that goal (by cherry picking simple strategies that work for you). You’ll experience no feelings of hunger, deprivation, or frustration – just results. That’s the kind of balance that will eventually get you to where you want to be, and keep you there.

How to Track Your Weight Loss

I recently explained why I believe you shouldn’t set a time-sensitive weight loss goal. My alternative philosophy is that any consistent weight loss caused by sustainable habit change will eventually get you to where you want to be, without you putting undue pressure on yourself or setting yourself up to fail. (That, in a nutshell, defines the Healthy Enough approach.)

More specifically, I discussed the concept of “statistically relevant” weight loss, and that you should be observing the general trend of your weight loss, rather than what you weigh from one day or week to the next. In this article, I want to go into more detail regarding the above, and provide you with the tools you need to track your weight loss in a way that is both useful and informative.

Continue reading How to Track Your Weight Loss

How to Set a Weight Loss Goal

I’ve previously discussed whether you should weigh yourself. In short, you probably should, because it is an objective yet simple means of determining whether you are losing weight or not.

That being the case, how do you go about setting a weight loss goal?

The simple answer is that you don’t. At least, I wouldn’t advocate setting a weight loss goal in the way that most people do. Specifically, I wouldn’t recommend that you (for example) set a goal to lose ten pounds in four weeks, or get down to 160lbs by Christmas.

Why? For two key reasons:

  1. Realism. When people set weight loss goals, they don’t typically first consider (to any level of accuracy) how realistic their goal is. And more often than not, in my experience, such goals are unrealistic – they’re not representative of what is reasonably possible. If you accept the above to be true, then by creating a weight loss goal, you are setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even begun.
  2. Pressure. The concept of putting pressure on yourself to lose weight is anathema to the Healthy Enough way. And yet, by setting a specific goal, you’ll feel pressured to ‘perform’ from day one.

You may argue that setting an ‘unrealistic’ goal and putting pressure on yourself will help you to lose more weight than if you’d set no goal at all. You may be right, but at what cost? Life is too short to stress yourself out unduly.

Besides, you’re more likely to be wrong, in my opinion. You’re more likely to fail to reach your goal, and quite possibly fall off the dieting wagon as a result and put back on the weight you lost. And if you do reach your goal, what then? Set a new goal, perhaps? Or possibly slip back into bad habits, and watch the pounds creep back on.

Continue reading How to Set a Weight Loss Goal

On Doing What’s Good For You, Not What You Enjoy

I recently read a particularly thought-provoking article in which the author, in a nutshell, says that in order to live a truly fulfilling life, don’t do what you like – do what’s good for you.

That may seem rather daunting or even unrealistic, but before we cross that bridge, let’s first explore why this is such a blindingly good idea.

Continue reading On Doing What’s Good For You, Not What You Enjoy

Why You Should Never Say No to Your Cravings (and How You Can Still Lose Weight)

Few people would describe me as an optimist, but when it comes to weight loss, I can’t help but look on the bright side.

I firmly believe that you can eat just about everything you want and lose weight. That may sound crazy, but consider that all your eating habits are just that – habits. And habits can be changed.

In other words, if you can become an habitually healthy eater, you’ll eat what you want and lose weight. One day, you’ll suddenly find yourself a little bit baffled that you’re happily choosing healthier food options – not out of obligation or guilt, but out of a genuine desire borne of habit.

Continue reading Why You Should Never Say No to Your Cravings (and How You Can Still Lose Weight)

How Considering Your Eating Habits More Carefully Can Help You to Eat Less

I typically eat food in one of two ‘states’:

  1. For the pure enjoyment of it. I love the taste of food, and I enjoy the act of eating more than most things in life.
  2. Out of sheer habit. Eating food also scratches an itch for me; it’s something I do habitually. Sometimes I catch myself not enjoying food per se, but simply eating it out of habit.

One of the keys to being Healthy Enough is to eat food ‘habitually’ as little as possible – the upshot of which means you’ll enjoy what you do eat more.

How so? It’s all to do with the diminishing returns found in eating food.

Continue reading How Considering Your Eating Habits More Carefully Can Help You to Eat Less

How to Combat and Conquer Gluttony (in 4 Steps)

I am a glutton.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt most rewarded by eating in volume. Given the choice (and putting dietary concerns to one side), I’d choose a big dish of adequate quality over a small yet sublime meal. To an extent, I don’t feel truly satisfied by a meal unless I’m a step beyond comfortably full.

I have managed to succeed in being Healthy Enough despite my predilections, however. I’d largely put this down to my adoption of intermittent fasting (which enables me to eat a big dinner), and it says a lot about how there are many different approaches to losing weight.

That said, avoiding gluttonous behaviour is the ideal; I don’t think anyone’s going to argue that gluttony is a good thing. With that in mind, I’ve recently been putting a lot of thought into how to curb my own gluttonous behaviour – more specifically, how to control the temptation to eat huge portions. I came up with an effective four step approach. If you find yourself succumbing to gluttony at times, follow the steps below, and you may find your appetite far more controllable.

Continue reading How to Combat and Conquer Gluttony (in 4 Steps)

How to Make Meals from Scratch Quicker and Easier (6 Key Tips)

I know that many people are put off making their own meals from scratch (or doing so more often) because it can seem like such a time suck.

And it can be, in fairness. You can quite easily spend hours in the kitchen producing just one meal. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Healthy Enough approach to cooking focuses on simplicity, efficiency, and enjoyment. With that in mind, this article offers some key practical steps to making cooking a simple, efficient, and enjoyable process – perhaps even something you’ll actively want to do.

Let’s get to it!

Continue reading How to Make Meals from Scratch Quicker and Easier (6 Key Tips)

One of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Promote Long-Term Weight Loss

If you can control what you eat, you can control your weight.

While I’d be the first to say that the practical reality of the above statement isn’t so simple, it is nonetheless valid in principle.

A clear corollary of that statement is if you don’t know what you’re eating, you can’t control your weight. Therefore, an important step when it comes to weight loss is to know what you’re eating.

When I say “know”, I don’t mean on a superficial level. Being aware that a Big Mac is a Big Mac isn’t the same as knowing what is actually in a Big Mac.

And that brings me to the main point of this article: one of the best things you can do to promote long-term weight loss is truly know and appreciate (for better or worse) what you’re eating.

Continue reading One of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Promote Long-Term Weight Loss