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5 things every woman needs to know about coronavirus

Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen and "Morning Joe" chief medical correspondent Dr. Dave Campbell talk to Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski about special precautions women should keep in mind.
Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.
Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.Know Your Value

As the world drastically steps up restrictions to fight coronavirus, so many questions remain. Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski has been speaking to some of the best and brightest minds on public health to get answers.

Brzezinski recently spoke to Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, in addition to “Morning Joe” chief medical correspondent Dr. Dave Campbell on the five things women should know about coronavirus.

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1. Mika: Most women are the primary caregivers. What precautions should they be taking?

Dr. Wen: Watch out for yourself. You can't care for others if you are sick and infected. Think of the instruction at the airport to put on your own mask, then help others.

Dr. Dave: Women as caregivers need to first keep themselves healthy by avoiding contracting coronavirus. Use all published precautions. You can’t care for someone else if you are sick yourself.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Dave Campbell.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Dave Campbell.Miller Hawkins

2. Mika: If adults have parents in nursing homes, should they continue to visit? Many states have imposed restrictions on nursing home visitations, but if it is allowed, should you, or is it best to distance yourself completely so you don’t potentially expose them to coronavirus?

Dr. Wen: This is a tough call. Discuss with your family about the risk of the nursing home versus caring for them at home. Depending on the situation, you may not have the ability to care for them at home for prolonged periods of time.

Dr. Dave: Do not visit relatives or friends in nursing homes. Call them or FaceTime them. Keep them safe. Keep them alive to enjoy their family.

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3. Mika: What precautions should you take if your older parents live with you?

Dr. Wen: Keep older parents away from crowds, and don't invite people over to the house. Limit social interactions to minimum.

Dr. Dave: Older folks living under same roof as younger people are at grave risk. Divide up the house. Rotate time in kitchen. Wear masks at the first temperature spike with anyone. If someone tests positive, develop even more strict social distancing.

4. Mika: Are pregnant women at a higher risk? What precautions should they take?

Dr. Wen: Studies don't show this so far, but pregnant women are in the category of medically vulnerable in general and should take extra precautions.

Dr. Dave: Pregnant women at not at increased risk, nor at unborn. However, do not take that to the bank … Pregnant women should be as isolated as possible.

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5. Mika: Are there any precautions nursing mothers should keep in mind?

Dr. Wen: So far, it does not appear that the virus is transmitted through breast milk, but it can be transmitted through contact (and therefore breastfeeding may not be possible; expressing breast milk is the safer way).

Dr. Dave: Breast milk does not seem to transmit coronavirus. But again, do not take that as gospel either. Intimate and casual contact with a newborn by infected mother does transmit the inoculum, the droplets exhaled, coughed or sneezed. If breastfeeding is required and mom has been exposed, wear a mask and frequently wash hands.