Information on Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses commonly found throughout the world. The newer (novel) strains of coronaviruses can cause a variety of respiratory infections in humans. These types of illnesses can range from a common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which was seen in the US in 2003.
The most recent strand of coronavirus, known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (now known as COVID-19), originated in Wuhan, China. While it is not yet fully understood how COVID-19 is transmitted, it appears to spread person to person similar to other respiratory viruses. It is also possible that some of the germs may be spread when a person touches an object that has the virus on it and then touches their own nose, mouth, or eyes. The CDC is still investigating this new strand of coronavirus and the most current updates are available on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Like the flu, symptoms of this new virus are typically seen 2-14 days. Reports have shown symptoms could possibly appear up to 24 days after exposure and have been reported as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you have recently traveled to an affected area or may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, and if you have developed respiratory symptoms as listed above, call your doctor immediately.
The best way to protect yourself is by washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer when handwashing is not available. Be sure to avoid close contact with others who are sick and stay at home if you yourself are sick.
Also, it is highly encouraged to cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue and immediately dispose of it in the trash. It is important to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects that may come in contact with germs (e.g., tabletops, door handles, etc.).
As a reminder, prevention is key to avoid the spread of disease. For information on coronavirus, please visit the websites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline at (800) 889-3931 or e-mail DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV with specific questions about coronavirus. Questions will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
10 Ways to STOP the Spread of Respiratory Illness
Increased interaction between people in close contact can increase the risk for respiratory disease. Everyone can do their part to help the spread of germs, and continue to support a healthy environment. Here are ten simple solutions to stop the spread of germs:
- Wash hands with soap and vigorously with warm water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes
- Sneeze/cough into your elbow (not into your hands). Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue and dispose of it immediately
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (such as computers and door knobs)
- Avoid sharing personal items such as eating or drinking utensils
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Minimize close contact with persons who have symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing
- Get plenty of rest to help your immune system stay in tip top shape
- Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated to flush out germs
- Some respiratory illnesses (like influenza) can be prevented with a vaccine. HHS still has flu vaccines! Call 847-781-4850 to schedule your shot if you haven’t yet!
Mental Health and COVID-19
Given the ongoing changes surrounding the coronavirus in the U.S. and around the globe, it is important to focus on how to manage associated stress and anxiety during times such as these. Situations like this can lead to strong emotions in people of all ages, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes that children, those with preexisting mental health concerns, and those working more closely with the response to coronavirus are at an increased risk for stress.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these important reminders for community members:
- If you are concerned about attending therapy sessions, especially if you are in a group labeled as increased risk by the CDC, you are encouraged to speak with your therapist about opportunities for services to be provided remotely, such as tele-therapy or online.
- If you take mediation, please speak with your psychiatrist or healthcare provider about options for receiving a 90 day supply of your medication. If you are unable to do this, please make sure to fill any prescription mediation as soon as possible.
- Stay informed but avoid excessive exposure to media coverage – monitor information coming from your local public health care team and listen to recommendations provided to community members. While monitoring information from the CDC is important, it is equally as important to monitor your local news and public health teams for updates that are most relevant to your community.
- Know your employers plans and expectations around potential outbreaks or what to do should you have concerns about symptoms or what to do should you feel sick. While at work, make sure you are cleaning work surfaces more frequently.
- Practice self-care – reach out to family and friends, make time for relaxing activities and activities you enjoy, eat healthy and maintain a good sleep schedule.
- Monitor any emerging symptoms and respond according to the CDC and local public health recommendations, practice recommended hand hygiene and cleaning recommendations, and practice social distancing when possible.
More information about mental health and the coronavirus can be found at: https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus
Ongoing information about the coronavirus situation can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM21539
Talking with Children About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
During times of community and public uncertainty children take their cues from the adults around them. It is important to remember that the way you respond to news about the coronavirus has an impact on the children around you, and the more calmness and confidence children observe in their caregivers the less likely they are to feel that their world or their health is at risk.
Just as in adults, children respond to stress differently. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes the following common changes you may observe in your child during increased times of stress:
- Excessive crying and stress
- Increased worry, irritability, and/or sadness
- Acting out behaviors
- School refusal or behavioral problems at school
- Problems with attention and concentration
- Increase in avoidance
- Unexplained body symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches
When speaking with children about coronavirus, please keep the following in mind:
- Talk with your children about coronavirus and do not assume they are not aware or cannot handle the conversation. Keeping age appropriate information from children can actually increase their anxiety. Make sure to talk about coronavirus in a manner that the child can understand and share facts about the virus in a developmentally appropriate way.
- Emphasize safety -reassure children that they are safe and talk about ways they can manage their stress and anxiety in healthy ways, with an emphasis on talking about their concerns with you openly and without hesitation.
- Limit exposure to media coverage of coronavirus.
- Maintain a normal routine and structure, and in the event that aspects of routine are disrupted by this changing situation work to implement routine and structure in the home until they can return to their normal daily routines.
- Model for children healthy ways of responding to stress and taking care of oneself.
More information on helping children cope can be found at :
A helpful video about how to discuss coronavirus with children can be found at: