Thank you for investing in your lung health by taking the time to learn about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. During this challenging time, we hope that you will follow the protective measures and recommendations provided by trusted evidence-based sources. Please take good care of not just your lung health, but your entire well-being. We are stronger together, one breath at a time.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread, we have a shared responsibility to inform you and help protect the most vulnerable among us. This new disease that impacts the lungs is easily spread by small droplets through the nose and mouth and can survive on surfaces for a certain amount of time. COVID-19 is more contagious than the seasonal flu. While most of all COVID-19 cases to date are being reported as mild, some people have become seriously (requiring hospitalization) and critically (requiring intensive care) ill. The virus can also result in death. Older populations and people with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to serious to severe cases of COVID-19.
Mental & physical well-being during a pandemic
Tips for mental and physical well-being during a pandemic [PDF] by the Canadian Lung Association.
Are you more at risk?
- 60 years of age and older
- Have cardiovascular (heart) disease
- Have diabetes
- Have chronic (long-term) respiratory (lung) disease
- Have high blood pressure
- Have cancer
- Those who smoke, vape or use water pipes.
What are the most common symptoms?
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
What are the most reliable sources?
- Government of Saskatchewan
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)
- World Health Organization
Do you think you have COVID-19?
Perform a self-assessment using the Government of Saskatchewan's Self-Assessment Tool.
What can you do to help protect yourselves, your loved ones and your community?
- Practice social distancing and stay home. Research has found that aggressive social distancing reduces the spread of the virus and saves lives.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Be appropriately responsible and vigilant, and please do not panic.
- Avoid non-essential outings.
- If you are required to be around others, maintain a 6 foot distance.
- Do not shake hands or hug.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
- It is important to be adequately prepared but please do not hoard supplies. You can eliminate the need to leave your home if you ensure you have plenty of food and medications on hand.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including phones.
- In general, keep your body and immune system in the best possible shape by getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and get outside and enjoy some vitamin D from the sunlight.
- If you smoke, vape or use a water pipe it is an especially good time to quit. COVID-19 disrupts the immune system, which is already weakened with smoke.
Learn the best way to wash your hands
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When unable to wash hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. [PDF] via Public Health Agency of Canada.
What should you do if you think you might have COVID-19?
- Take the Government of Saskatchewan’s Self-Assessment Tool
- If you feel ill, self-isolate for two weeks immediately.
- If you have come into contact with someone who is ill or have returned from an international trip, self-isolate for two weeks.
- If you fit the criteria of potential exposure, are exhibiting mild symptoms and suspect you may have COVID-19, you can obtain a referral to a community testing centre by:
- Calling HealthLine 811
- Calling your local Public Health Communicable Disease Control office
- Calling your family physician
What should people with lung disease do in addition to protect themselves?
- Make sure all your medications are up-to date and filled.
- Take your prescribed medications as recommended, especially if you take inhaled corticosteroids.
- If you have seasonal asthma and/or allergies and are advised by a health care provider to take additional medications during the spring, it has been recommended to start your medications now.
- Follow your action plan.
- Be extra diligent at avoiding your triggers.
- Check out these videos by Dr. Erika Penz, from the University of Saskatchewan. (March 28th, 2020)
We assembled some of Canada’s leading lung health experts for an interactive webinar that will focused on questions around COVID-19 and its impact on those with lung disease. A written FAQ is also available.