UArizona students start Spanish-language coronavirus information campaign

An effort by University of Arizona students to provide coronavirus information to a Spanish-speaking community gained financial backing from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The campaign launched by four of the university’s College of Medicine-Tucson students also received city and county support, The Arizona Daily Star reported.

The campaign includes Spanish-language posters to underscore the importance of social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement by the university said.

The student team responsible for the outreach effort includes Cazandra Zaragoza, Ricardo Reyes, Arturo Martinez, and Guadalupe Davila.

“We realized there really weren’t any posters and things in Spanish and, if there are, they have a lot of text and it’s not very visual,” Zaragoza said.

Images created by Reyes feature Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in a clinical mask, a prickly pear cactus warning others not to get too close, and saguaro cacti practicing 6 feet (1.83 meters) of social distancing.

Poster printing costs were initially supported by the college’s Commitment to Underserved People program and Tucson City Council members Richard Fimbres and Lane Santa Cruz.

CDC funding became available when the students connected with Mary Kinkade, a Pima County Health Department program manager and local director of the CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program.

The informational posters were displayed in areas where Latinos typically shop and are now featured in more than a dozen Tucson grocery stores.

The campaign has also expanded to San Francisco’s Mission District via social media.

The Spanish-language posters are important to “make sure we’re getting information out to our community in a way they can grasp and understand,” Santa Cruz said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough, and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.