By Dr. Erika Gonzalez, South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals

After the 2009 flu pandemic or swine flu (H1N1), how could we have guessed that another disease could scare our population? We couldn’t. The new Coronavirus (COVID-19), though, has frightened our communities into shock and a bit of hysteria.

Presenting with similar symptoms as the common cold, COVID-19 is the latest and greatest of viruses causing shelves of Lysol and Purell to disappear. Just this morning, I saw a bottle of hand sanitizer going for $200 and change because of the low stock since Coronavirus hit breaking news just days ago.

My patients, however, are still coming in. They are trusting in their doctors and the federal regulations that are in place to keep them safe. The doctors and officials that develop the guidelines to keep the public safe and out of harm’s way have done the research. The guidelines and recommendations that determine how and when to release a patient, what complications a patient may experience , and how we, as a community, can reintroduce the patient back into our communities reflect this research and evidence based medicine. 

In San Antonio, grocery stores report having empty shelves in the water aisles and where the Lysol would usually sit stocked and ready to go. Not to mention, face masks are now a commodity as well.

Wide spread concerns and empty shelves are what happens when all of the facts are not clear to the public. People are cancelling vacation plans and choosing to skip concerts and other public events out of fear that our community is unsafe. But there are things that we can do to keep ourselves safe. 

If I could give you one piece of advice  —  trust your healthcare professionals and credible sources. Trust will keep our community, and our economy, healthy.

If you don’t have a doctor, follow the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and a trusted news source to keep informed and up to date.

When in doubt, stay at home until you feel healthy, wash your hands when necessary, and keep your body nourished.

Coronavirus may be affecting our community now, but follow these general guidelines, and in no time, the malls will be flooded with people again.