COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know

Worried about COVID-19? We all are. Here is a no-nonsense guide to staying healthy. And wash your hands!

Staying Healthy When You’re Away From Home

Crowded airplanes, lack of sleep, and exposure to new germs your body doesn’t know how to fight can make it hard to stay healthy when traveling. The recent outbreak of coronavirus in several countries is a good reminder to plan ahead so you don’t get sick. The most important step is to avoid passing germs around. Wash your hands regularly, wipe down surfaces on planes, and wear a mask if you’re coughing or sneezing. Traveling soon? Get more tips on how to stay healthy when you’re away from home.

The Best Way to Avoid Colds and Viruses (including COVID-19)

Germs can cause all sorts of illnesses, including coronavirus, the flu, and the common cold. Some of these viruses have been around for centuries, while others are new, but the best way to keep them from spreading is still the same: wash your hands. Scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you eat, prepare food, go to the bathroom, cough, sneeze, or touch animals. Keep hand sanitizer on your desk, in your car, or in your bag for times when you don’t have soap. Washing your hands may seem like a small thing, but it can keep you and the people around you safe and healthy.

What Are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are common—they are viruses that sometimes make people and animals sick. They usually spread the same way a regular cold or the flu does. Most people will recover, but in rare cases, viruses and colds can be dangerous. The best ways to keep germs from spreading are to wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your face, and stay home if you think you might be sick. Learn more about how to treat a cold yourself—and when to call a doctor.

Learn more about…

With the recent outbreak of coronavirus, staying healthy when traveling is more important than ever. Traveling soon? Get the scoop: Travel Health.

Old viruses or new, the best way to avoid the spread of many illnesses is the same: wash your hands!

Coronaviruses, colds, and the flu are no joke. Learn how to stay healthy and avoid spreading germs this season: colds.

Need more information? Check the CDC website for the most up-to-date details and guidance.

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COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know

Worried about COVID-19? We all are. Here is a no-nonsense guide to staying healthy. And wash your hands! Staying Healthy When You’re Away From Home Crowded airplanes, lack of sleep, and exposure to new germs your body doesn’t know how to fight can make it hard to stay...

Wine Country doctors save lives, lose homes

Surgeon Elizabeth Tito directs traffic outside Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as wildfires consume large areas of Wine Country. Tito and her family were evacuated from their home early Monday morning. Photo: Marissa Lang, San Francisco Chronicle

As a flurry of ash began to fall from the sky outside Santa Rosa Memorial hospital Monday afternoon, Elizabeth and Joseph Tito took comfort in controlling what they could: the flow of ambulances, cars and panicked families in and out of the hospital’s main parking lot.

The Tito family had evacuated their new home in Fountaingrove, an upscale community north of downtown Santa Rosa, about 3 a.m. Monday after seeing flames licking the tops of nearby hills. They had just moved to the area in August — an attempt to escape East Coast blizzards and “bad weather,” Elizabeth Tito said.

“I guess we traded the blizzards for fire,” she said.

Fires raged across Northern California as firefighters battled back…

Elizabeth and Joseph Tito, who work as surgeons at St. Joseph Health’s outpatient facility and Healdsburg District Hospital, respectively, said they were happy for the distraction of directing traffic.

It kept them from spending too much time wondering whether their home was still standing.

Santa Rosa Memorial was the northernmost hospital to remain open in the midst of the North Bay fires Monday.

Officials said the hospital opened its command center about 1 a.m. and has since seen a steady stream of people in need of care.

About 60 people arrived at Santa Rosa Memorial throughout Monday morning, including two burn patients in critical condition, 15 people with moderate injuries and 43 with minor injuries, Colleen Flynn, a spokeswoman for the St. Joseph Health group said.

Santa Rosa Memorial, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa and Petaluma Valley Hospital remained open as of about 3 p.m. None of the medical centers had suffered any structural damage, officials said.

Santa Rosa Memorial also accepted evacuees from our neighboring hospitals — including six transfers from Kaiser Santa Rosa, which was evacuated and shut down, and six from Sutter Medical Center.

Among the patients transferred from Sutter were several mothers with newborns as well as expectant mothers in active labor.

Queen of the Valley, in downtown Napa, treated about 50 patients, the majority of whom were suffering from smoke inhalation, Flynn said. One patient brought to Queen of the Valley…

Take Good Care of Your Gums in Your 60s and They’ll Take Care of You Forever


I grew up seeing some of my older relatives remove their ‘teeth’ before going to bed. Sometimes, they expressed discomfort with chewing or dentures that were either too tight or too loose. I decided early on in my life that I was not going to go down that same road.

As the saying goes, “ignore your teeth and they will go away.” I wanted to keep my teeth because my smile was just too important to me!

So, I go to the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings, floss daily and avoid sugary foods. During my visits, my dentist or hygienist usually says things along the line of “keep your gums healthy and they will help keep you healthy.”

I always smile and thank them for the advice. Honestly though, I just wrote their comments off as great marketing – a way to keep me coming back.

I now know that they were giving me sound advice since research is proving more and more that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Also, people with gum disease may have a higher risk of various other conditions such as diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular problems.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can affect the bone that supports and surrounds your teeth. Just like your intestines, your mouth is home to different types of bacteria. When all the types of bacteria are in balance, your gums are protected from disease-causing bacteria.

However, disturbing the bacteria balance provides an opening for disease-causing bacteria and other microorganisms to invade the gums.

According to the British Dental Journal, activities like smoking, taking certain medications like antibiotics, poor oral hygiene and poor diet may disturb the balance of bacteria in our mouth and enhance the activity of these disease-causing bacteria.

This increase in disease-causing bacteria generally results in your body’s immune system, and the white blood cells that get rid of them, to produce substances that not only destroy the bacteria but also damage your gum tissue. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to loss of teeth.

How Can You Be Proactive?

While going to your dentist regularly, brushing and flossing, and reducing your sugar intake will go far in preventing bacterial infection and reducing inflammation of your gums, those steps alone are not enough.

You may want to avoid smoking because people who smoke are more likely to develop gum disease. Also, discuss with your doctor any effect the medications you take may have on your gums.

Consider using a periobiotic toothpaste. I have been using this specialized toothpaste for over a year. It reportedly has a probiotic that competes with the unhealthy strains of oral bacteria and helps to maintain my gums healthy.

Finally, you need…