There is a lot of information circulating about the Coronavirus, some accurate and some just completely false. In all the details, I find that it is helpful to drill down to the most important points.
My goal here is to provide you with the best and most helpful information I can so that you will be able to remember and share this with others in order to help keep you and others around you healthy.
In the vast majority of cases, people present with a flu-like illness (fever, body aches, cough and shortness of breath) with focus of infection more on the lungs.
Thankfully, children are largely spared from the severe disease, with the majority of deaths being in the elderly or otherwise high-risk individuals.
If you have any of these symptoms AND:
CALL ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
There are a few key difference between COVID-19 and other viruses like the flu. Typically flu is more of an abrupt onset with fever, body aches and cough, whereas COVID-19 appears to be more gradual with fever, cough and shortness of breath developing over a few days. Common cold viruses produce more runny nose and congestion as well as seasonal allergies.
The problem we face here is twofold:
We don’t yet have the test to diagnose COVID-19 or have a test that can be used in a clinically useful way (rapid and simple).
Even if we did, there is no clear treatment for COVID-19, other than supportive care.
If this infection becomes more widespread in our area, here is what we plan to do:
Identify patients who may have COVID-19 and treat them outside of our clinic. While we want to help people who are sick, we don’t want to expose high-risk people to this virus.
We ask that if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, that you do not come into the office. Instead we ask you to contact us via phone, email, or text. Be patient, as we are likely very busy with other sick people!
Please tell us about your symptoms and we'll guide you in what to do next. This may even include triage and evaluation in our parking lot. Remember that we cannot test at this time, and we cannot give you any treatment if you do have the virus. Yes, that makes things very difficult for all of us, but it is the situation we face and thankfully most people recover from the virus very well.
Also understand that we may have high-risk people at the office with other problems. Infected individuals in our office may spread the infection to others, so please understand, we are working to reduce risk to everyone.
Again, if we become concerned about more exposure in our area, we will ask that you not come to the office if you are a high-risk person:
Over age 60
Diabetic (poorly controlled)
Significant lung problems (COPD, moderate/severe asthma) or heart problems
Other immune-compromising problems or medications.
Also, do not go to the Emergency Room for routine symptoms. The reason to go to the ER is if you:
Have persistent shortness of breath or chest pain or
Are unable to hold liquids down and may be getting dehydrated
Remember to stay up to date on the most recent information. The best source, in my opinion is the CDC website dedicated to this pandemic, www.coronavirus.gov.
We will also be providing updates here on our blog if we have any changes.