What Is Coronavirus?

COVID-19, the disease currently sweeping the world, belongs to the coronavirus family of diseases. A coronavirus causes symptoms which vary from those of the common cold to those of a severe respiratory infection. The newest coronavirus was first detected in China in 2019. The first infections were linked to a live animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since then, COVID-19 has spread to almost 70 nations, including the United States. The signs of coronavirus infection are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

In more severe cases, coronavirus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and fatal kidney failure. The symptoms typically appear within 2-14 days of exposure. If you have recently traveled in an area afflicted by coronavirus or you have been in contact with a person who may have COVID-19, call your healthcare professional to get tested.

The coronavirus has arrived in the United States. In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported community spread (rapid person to person infection) in California, Oregon and Washington, primarily among the elderly. Health officials have quarantined people who test positive for the disease.

Nationwide, the CDC has reported over 100 coronavirus cases, 11 of them fatal. Residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in the following 12 states:

Scientists who are studying the new virus have discovered that certain populations are at greater risk for infection, particularly children, the elderly, people with other illnesses, and people with compromised immune systems.

Should Coronavirus Prevent You from Going to Rehab?

With much of the country paralyzed by coronavirus fears, you might think that you should postpone or cancel rehab for alcohol or drug addiction until the crisis subsides. However, at this time, the CDC appears to be managing the spread of the disease, and the risks of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose far outweigh the risk of contracting coronavirus. According to the CDC, opioid overdoses alone continue to claim over 100 lives in America everyday, and alcohol remains one of the most prodigious killers in the country.

If you are struggling with addiction, you still need help. As always, overcoming addiction could make the difference between life and death, and there is no evidence that rehab facilities are more likely to host coronavirus outbreaks than any other place. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider today to learn more about your options for rehab and get answers to your questions about recovery.

COVID-19 and Drug Abuse

The most vulnerable individuals to coronavirus are those with low immune systems, especially people with a nicotine addiction, since COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. Studies in China have been examining populations affected by the virus and have found that men account for more than half of the cases. Several experts believe this gender disparity is occurring because Chinese men are more likely than women to smoke cigarettes, which weakens the immune system and causes other health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory difficulties. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease which impairs breathing, so smoking may increase the risk of coronavirus complications.

Smoking marijuana can also increase the risk of contracting coronavirus. Several posts have circulated social media making false claims that CBD (a chemical found in cannabis) has medical properties that can treat coronavirus. Although some studies have shown that CBD can be effective in treating pain and anxiety, there are currently no known treatments or cures for COVID-19. In fact, inhaling hot smoke of any kind can be damaging to your lungs. When smoking marijuana and sharing joints, pipes and paraphernalia, be aware that they may contain saliva and potentially spread virus-bearing germs.

The use of other illicit drugs, such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and hallucinogens, can also put a person at risk for coronavirus. Studies have shown that drugs of abuse alter not just neuropsychological and pathophysiological responses, but immune functions as well. Social practices connected with drug abuse, such as sharing contaminated needles or unprotected sex, also increase exposure to infectious pathogens, including COVID-19.

Prescription Drug Shortages in the U.S.

The spread of COVID-19 in China has negatively impacted the country’s economy and has forced medicine manufacturers to shut down. A shortage of medications in America is a possible result of the coronavirus outbreak. About 90% of active ingredients used by American drug manufacturers originate in China. Although no manufacturing disruptions have led to reported shortages in the U.S. at this time, the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) is currently monitoring supplies of about 20 drugs which are manufactured primarily in China, including generic antibiotics and blood pressure medications.

Many individuals in recovery from addiction rely on prescription drugs for medication-assisted treatment during drug and alcohol detox, or when managing the symptoms of withdrawal.

It is recommended that people who take prescription medications stock-up on supplies if they are able. Unfortunately, there are patients who are not actively seeking care or renewing prescriptions out of fear of leaving the house and being contaminated. This can be dangerous for anyone experiencing withdrawal or complications from substance abuse, such as cardiovascular disease. At this time, it is important to stay up-to-date on refilling prescriptions.

How to Avoid The Virus

Since coronavirus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets and bodily fluids, you should follow standard sanitary procedures to avoid spreading or contracting COVID-19, including:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who shows symptoms of a respiratory illness.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid incessantly touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Substance abuse takes a negative toll on your health. A drug-dependent body with a weakened immune system is more likely to contract disease, including COVID-19. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, treatment for your addiction may be one effective way to avoiding coronavirus if the disease becomes a pandemic. There are many different options for treatment, including outpatient and inpatient rehab, and a rehab center is the ideal environment for someone battling addiction and withdrawal. For more information on treatment options, contact a treatment provider today.

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Ginni Correa

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  • Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and activist living in Orlando,FL. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and double majored in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies. After graduation, Ginni worked as an educator in public schools and an art therapist in a behavioral health hospital where she found a passion working with at-risk populations and advocating for social justice and equality. She is also experienced in translating and interpreting with an emphasis in language justice and creating multilingual spaces. Ginni’s mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse while creating more accessible treatment in communities. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and attending music festivals.

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