COVID-19 What Do I Need to Know as A Physiotherapist?

This page will answer some but not all of your questions however there are many links to resources which will answer most of your questions. Remember to be diligent about where you are getting your information from. 

The COVID-19 situation is changing hour by hour, anxiety levels are high but at this time we should turn to experts to shine clarity on the rapidly shifting landscape. Below is a collection of some information all physiotherapist should and need to know. Please take your time to read and share with your departments and colleagues where possible.

Physiopedia & Physioplus

The Physiopedia Team has been very busy this week creating new content about COVID-19 and everything you need to know as a physiotherapist. We have a page dedicated to all of the most important things you need to know. This includes a page summarising all you need to know – a page dedicated to the virus itself.

COVID-19 Physiopedia Page

You will have also heard of something called social distancing in the past week.  The objective is to reduce transmission, delaying the epidemic peak, reducing the size of the epidemic peak, and spreading cases over a longer time to relieve pressure on the healthcare system. You may be wondering how it works all is answered on our page about social distancing.

Social Distancing

PPE is a hot topic right now and a lot of people are wondering what different levels of protection are available and when to use them. Head over to our PPE page to find out all you need to know.

Personal Protective Equipment

Hand hygiene is crucial to reducing infection and protecting ourselves as well as out patients. If you have doubts on your technique or need resources to put up in your department check out out page below.

Hand Hygiene

In an effort to contribute towards the global effort to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic Physiopedia (via it’s online learning platform at Physioplus) is providing a FREE online programme of courses.  The aim of these courses is to provide a practicing physiotherapist/physical therapist with the knowledge, practices and skills to allow them to play a proactive role in global and local efforts to reduce the impact of this pandemic.

Check out the FREE course

Expert Respiratory Physiotherapist Advice

As always The Physio Matters Podcast Team are on it. Jack Chew interviewed Rachael Moses, a consultant respiratory physio in the UK, who offered some excellent common sense advice to us all. Definitely take a look if you are a physio who works in an outpatient or community setting and may have to be redeployed into an acute setting.

Rachael Moses has also has some written guidance which she has kindly made publicly accessible via drop box. The link is below and is a must read for anyone in an acute setting who will be treating patients affected by the virus.

Excellent Summary by Rachael Moses

Other Resources

Myth busting at a time like this is crucial and there are some excellent articles out there on the internet. ALWAYS make sure it is from a trusted source and author and seek evidence to back up peoples claims. Instagram and Twitter are excellent sources of quick and up-to-date evidence and infographics however the good is interspersed with misinformation.  Be vigilant. Below is a list of truths and the resources they have come from.

Does alcohol gel kill COVID-19? – Yes.

Are surgical face masks useful? – The leading thought at the moment is that COVID is transmitted via droplets which means masks are useful at collecting these droplets. Clearly this isn’t infallible because droplets can still be transmitted through eyes and onto your skin and transferred to your face later. Also it’s worth pointing out surgical masks are useful in close proximity to people only.

There is also lots of misinformation about the size of the virus and the filtering ability of masks. An infographic allegedly from Unicef has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp and Twitter which claims the coronavirus is 400-500nm wide and therefore enough to be stopped by masks. This is actually unture and the virus is 50-200nm wide either way as explained above a mask won’t always stop the virus unless it is

What’s The Incubation Period for COVID-19? – The WHO report this being somewhere between 1 and 14 days with symptoms most commonly emerging after 5 days. This is where the 14 days of self-isolation comes from.

How Long Does The Virus Live On Surfaces – The WHO don’t currently know how long the virus lives on surfaces for. The current thought is that COVID-19 behaves like other corona viruses and will persist on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. This is a broad timespan but this is because it is all dependant on environmental conditions which vary massively even within a persons home. The sensible advice is to disinfect surfaces regularly if you think they may be contaminated.

The WHO have some awesome Infographics available which you should definitely share amongst patients, colleagues and friends. Here is one busting the myth that dousing your body in chlorine or alcohol will kill the coronavirus.