Corona Virus (COVID-19) Update for Members of Bethesda Integrative Medicine
If you are sick,
· mildly ill patients (fever, sneezing, cough) are encouraged to stay home and contact Dr. Lucas by phone for guidance about clinical management
· severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should go to the ER
· older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact Dr. Lucas early in the course of even mild illness (fever, sneezing, or cough)
Here’s a summary of the corona virus and why we care about it. This information is taken from North Carolina’s Public Health and CDC’s websites.
What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Human coronaviruses commonly circulate in the United States and usually cause mild illnesses like the common cold. COVID-19 is a coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, and is now spreading throughout the world. Because this virus is now so commonplace the world is experiencing a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or worldwide.
Cases in North Carolina as of 3/15/2020-32; 0 Deaths
Cases in United States as of 3/15/2020-1694; 42 Deaths
How does it spread?
· spread through the air by coughing or sneezing
· through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands)
· through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands
What can I do to prevent it from spreading?
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched with one of the following: 1/3 cup of household bleach in a gallon of water, alcohol solutions of 70% or more, or a cleaner from this list: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
Should I wear a mask?
- If you are healthy, you do not need to wear a mask
- If you are having any of the symptoms of a “cold”, flu, or COVID-19, you need to wear a mask to protect others from getting infected
- If you are a health care worker, you should wear a mask around people with COVID-19 or you suspect may have COVID-19
Can you get COVID-19 from touching contaminated objects?
· If you touch a surface with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. However, this is not likely to be the main way the virus spreads.
· The virus may remain “alive” for hours to days on surfaces. WASH YOUR HANDS!
What are the symptoms?
- Shortness of breath
Thus, it causes a mild to moderate respiratory illness (“cold”). If you have these symptoms it does not automatically mean you have COVID-19. A small percentage of people will have severe symptoms that result in hospitalization or, even, death, just like happens with the flu.
When do symptoms appear?
· Two to 14 days after exposure
· Person is most contagious when had symptoms.
What treatments are available?
· Mild and moderate symptoms are treated with fever reducers and cough medicines
· Severe symptoms are cared for in the hospital
Am I at risk? Who is considered a high-risk individual?
· As of 3/15/2020, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Elizabeth City area.
· If you have traveled to a community that sustained transmission, you are more at risk of contracting the virus, but that does not mean you would get very sick from the illness.
o If people around you did not have any symptoms, you do not need to change your routine.
o If they had symptoms, you should monitor yourself for symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing, or shortness of breath. If you have these, please call Dr. Lucas.
· Older people and people with diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, chronic kidney disease, or those who are on immunosuppressive medications are at high risk because they are more likely to experience serious illness if they become infected. These people should avoid situations where they might be exposed.
Who needs to be tested for COVID19?
· Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; or
· Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test
· Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control.
· Any persons including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from China, Iran, most of Europa, South Korea.
What is social distancing?
· Maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet away from others
· This is recommended at this point on a community level
· Canceling school and gatherings are part of social distancing
What is self-monitoring?
· This is for those that may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19
· They should monitor themselves for symptoms--fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
· If they develop symptoms during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from Dr. Lucas
What is isolation?
· Separating people who are sick from those who are well
· People who tested presumptive positive and positive in North Carolina are in isolation.
What is quarantine?
· This is for people who were exposed to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms.
· Contact your Dr. Lucas if you are unsure if you should self-quarantine.