JACKSONVILLE, FL | July 23, 2020
The mission of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative is to raise awareness and research funding for lung cancer, our nation’s number one cancer killer. In Jacksonville, LUNG FORCE initiatives are guided by a cabinet, made up of healthcare and business leaders from the community. While our focus remains on addressing lung cancer, we are deeply concerned about COVID-19, especially in the wake of businesses re-opening, increased social gatherings, and in anticipation of large scale public events to be held in our state and local area.
The LUNG FORCE cabinet is troubled by the increased number of cases in recent weeks, in addition to a rebound in hospitalizations witnessed by the healthcare providers among our committee. Now is the time to continue protecting ourselves and each other from COVID-19, not the time to relax protective measures like social distancing and wearing face coverings.
While cases increase and re-opening continues, it is easy to be confused about what to do and how to go about protecting yourself, family, and friends. We encourage everyone to consider the following actions to help stop the spread and ensure our health systems remain accessible and our most at-risk stay safe:
- Stay home. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
- Maintain social distance, at least six feet, from other people in the community if you must be outside of your home.
- Wear a mask when in the presence of other people if you must be outside your home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a good alternative.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth—as it allows the germs on your hands to reach moist, porous surface tissue where the germs can enter your body and cause infection.
- Cough in your elbow and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze. Then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Avoid any unnecessary exposure to people who are sick with COVID-19. Stay home if you feel unwell and call your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms that could be COVID-19.
As advocates for lung health, we cannot overstate our concern, especially for those with underlying lung health issues. The lungs are the first and main body organ affected by COVID-19. In the early days of an infection, the novel coronavirus rapidly invades cells in our lungs.
Some of the earliest studies on COVID-19 have found that patients who experience severe disease develop pneumonia in both lungs, accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath. For these individuals, lung damage continues to build—which can lead to respiratory failure. That's why it's important to listen to your body and make note of any symptoms and stay in close contact with your healthcare provider—especially if you have an underlying lung disease.
Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet, and we urge everyone to remain vigilant about the protections that have been promoted throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to slow the spread and protect our communities.
Kimberley Collins, EVP| Marketing & Engagement, Brunet-Garcia
Carolyn Baggett, MSN, RN, OCN, Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator
Tonya Zeiger, RRT, Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville
John Moss, MD, Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville
Catherine Madaffari, MD, Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville
Lee Ann Clements, Ph.D., Professor, Biology and Marine Science
Bethany Webb, American Lung Association – Northeast Florida
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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