Dealing with COVID-19
The threat of COVID-19 is something that is making it harder to recover from the recent tornado. It is adding more stress to our lives, but we should use all that high level of attention to educate ourselves about how to adequately face this pandemic.
The priority is on stopping the spread of the virus. The time from the moment when you get infected with a virus to the beginning of symptoms is what we call the incubation period. For SARS-CoV-2 (virus causing COVID-19) the incubation period has been determined to be between 1 and 14 days. We all can be aware of the threats if a person is sneezing or coughing nearby but the SARS-CoV-2 is a highly contagious virus that can even be transmitted by a person that has no symptoms. Because of this it is recommendable to limit unnecessary exposure to people that could be carrying the virus without having symptoms.
Please follow the recommendations that has been given by the healthcare authorities.
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol base hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Disposed the tissue immediately.
- Maintain a least 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. In general, avoid unnecessary close contact with anyone.
- Stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 information from healthcare authorities. I advised all of you to be cautious with information that is not from official sources or your healthcare provider. This period of crisis makes people more vulnerable, and unfortunately represent an opportunity for the bad guys that want to harm others or profit off of them. Be aware of the scams!
The symptoms of COVID-19 are not very specific for this particular infection. Some symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Body aches and pains
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Symptoms are mild at the beginning of the disease and they progress gradually. Some people become infected and don’t develop any symptoms, they do not feel ill. Most people (80%) recover from this disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. At higher risk for severe disease are older people and those with underlying medical problems like smokers, and those with chronic lung problems, heart problems, diabetes and hypertension.
Q: How to act if you present any other symptoms above?
COVID-19 symptoms are mild at the beginning. As soon as you notice the first symptoms isolate yourself from other people. Stay at home and do not go work, school, church, theaters or other social events. Restrict all activities outside your home except for getting medical care if required. This is the very important measure to prevent transmission to family members, coworkers and healthcare workers. The more people we can keep healthy the better so they can carry on with all the collective work that takes to face this serious situation.
If you had medical appointment scheduled prior to geting sick, you should call the office of your health care provider and let them know that you are sick, and you might have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare providers office to take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
The virus SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus very similar to others found in bats. At this point the main form of transmission is person-to-person; but since our knowledge about this problem is, at this point, limited and evolving we cannot exclude the possibility that animals could be transmitters or reservoir. For that reason, limit your contact with pets and other animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. When possible have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If that is not possible and you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear face mask.
If the symptoms are severe like high fever or difficulty breathing please call 911 or seek attention in the nearest emergency room. Notify the medical personal of your symptoms and asked them for a face mask that will keep safe those that will be providing you care. Emergency rooms and Hospitals have protocols in place that follow the latest recommendations from healthcare authorities to manage patients with possible COVID-19 infection.
If symptoms are milder, please contact your physicians office immediately. If you are already one of our patients you have the members direct number to contact me. Just in case you do not have it, you can call or text the office number at (615) 823-4434. I would like to video chat with you so I can have a better idea of how sick you are.
It would be very helpful if you have a thermometer that can be used to monitor your temperature. Ideally a different thermometer should be used to monitor the temperature of other family members with no symptoms but if a second thermometer is not available then disinfect the thermometer using disinfecting wipes or alcohol solutions. Keep registry of the temperature for the household members with symptoms and those without symptoms but that have been exposed.
For patients with other chronic conditions I would recommend having additional medical devices to monitor your health:
- Blood pressure monitor -very important for patients with hypertension or cardiac conditions.
- Pulse oximeter - this would be helpful for the monitoring of patients with chronic lung conditions and smokers.
- Glucometer - every diabetic patient should have one of these but if any of my diabetic patients do not have it, we can get it through the office or I can send an order to the pharmacy of your preference.
Other items that you should keep at home are:
- Medication for fever and pain: I recommend you use acetaminophen (Tylenol) if you do not have any contraindication for the use of this medication. If acetaminophen is contraindicated for any reason, then ibuprofen (Motrin) could be an option.
- You also should review your prescribed medication and make sure that you have enough for a least 4 weeks. If you do not have enough meds for four weeks call me or your pharmacy to get refills.
- You also should have some first aid items like disinfecting solutions and bandages (Band-Aids, gauze, etc.).
Together we will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay in touch and contact me soon if you feel any changes to your usual state of health. I will be providing you more information as this problem evolves.