April 14, 2020
Much has changed in the last month since my last post on COVID-19. Most of the nation is sheltering in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection. Many people are questioning how much longer we have to isolate from one another. Because we have stayed home, the latest statistics in Colorado show that the curve is flattening for deaths and overall positive cases of the infection.
In order to continue on this path, it is very important to continue social distancing. Stay at home as much as possible. Keep at least 6 feet away from other people. Wearing a mask has shown to slow the spread of respiratory droplets. Since we still have a shortage of personal protective equipment, you can not just run to the store to pick up a package of masks. Create your own or use a bandana to cover your nose and mouth when going out. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer when going out.
Stay occupied with hobbies, reading, activities that keep the mind busy and active. Get outside to get some sunshine every day for at least 10-15 minutes. Eat a healthy diet and avoid junk food.
If you become sick with symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell or other cold/flu symptoms, stay home and consider contacting my office to be tested for COVID-19. I am doing testing in the parking lot by appointment.
We are open to see patients through telehealth visits during this crisis. If you call the front desk and get on the schedule, you will receive instructions on how to connect in a virtual visit. It’s the next best thing to being here.
March 16, 2020
I wanted to give some information about the COVID-19 virus and a direction for you and your family in the weeks and months ahead.
FAST FACTS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
1. VIRUS REPLICATION. Coronavirus, Which causes COVID-19 infection, is a virus. Viruses replicate by hijacking a susceptible cell, and multiply inside, destroying the host cell. In fact, a virus isn’t even alive. Once the virus replicates, the new viruses attack other host cells and replication magnifies. The host becomes sick from all this viral activity taking over and destroying cells.
2. ORIGIN. The Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 first appeared in China, presumably at a wet market in Wuhan, China, where wild animals are sold. There are several theories about how the virus started, but it is clear that an explosion of spread occurred since early January 2020. Coronavirus is suspected to have originated from bats.
3. SPREAD. As of March 16, 2020, there have been over 170,000 confirmed cases of infection and over 6500 deaths directly related to the virus world-wide.
4. MORTALITY is highest in those over age 60. There have been no reported deaths in children under 10.
5. NOT THE FLU. COVID-19 is not the flu. A new flu vaccine is available every year to protect against getting the current season’s flu strains.
6. DOGS ARE SAFE. It is believed that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted to a dog. Your pet is safe.
HOW TO AVOID GETTING SICK FROM CORONAVIRUS
1. Avoid travel of disease outbreak areas.
2. Avoid crowds of people
3. Use SOCIAL DISTANCING. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when you are outside your home.
4. Surgical masks are not recommended to prevent contracting the disease. They are not meant to keep the virus out of your nose and mouth. However, if you have a cough, you can prevent spreading your germs by wearing a surgical mask.
5. Sterilize surfaces you will touch. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean an area commonly touched by others.
6. Wash your hands with soap and water. AT LEAST 20 SECONDS. Sing the Happy Birthday song twice.
7. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. The average person touches their face over 20 times an hour. You will need to consciously think about this.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW
1. PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS. Make sure you have a two week supply on hand.
2. AVOID HOARDING. Don’t hoard toilet paper. That creates a shortage of TP. If everyone clears the shelves at the grocery story, it makes it hard for everyone else.
3. Check your supply of cough/cold medicine. If you get the infection, expect to be sick for 2 weeks.
4. WASH YOUR HANDS often. Of all the methods, this works the best.
WHAT IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE COVID-19?
The World Health Organization has outlined the symptoms of COVID-19 vs a cold or flu. Here are the top symptoms of each:
- COVID-19 - Fever, Dry Cough, Shortness of Breath
- COLD - Sneezing, Aches/pains, Runny nose/congestion, Sore throat
- FLU - Fever, Fatigue, Cough, Aches/pains, Headache
Of course, there can be overlap, but this will give you a guide to help you decide if your symptoms match up.
If you think you have the Coronavirus infection, DO NOT HEAD TO THE ER OR URGENT CARE unless you are short of breath and your condition is obviously declining.
I am not equipped to assess for COVID-19 in my office and if you think you have the virus, you can call to notify me, but I cannot see anyone with suspected COVID-19 in my office. I do not have the testing kits and cannot make the diagnosis in the office. In fact, if our staff is exposed to a documented COVID-19 infection, we could be forced to close down for 2 weeks for a quarantine period. That would be unfortunate since closing down means being unable to help others.
If you have commercial insurance, check their website for the telemedicine provider. I can also advise you over the phone if you need treatment advice.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK
Here’s my advice about what to do to treat yourself if you are sick:
1. SLEEP as much as possible.
2. DRINK lots of fluids. If you are not peeing at least every 2 hours, you are not drinking enough.
3. Treat a FEVER over 101 degrees with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.
4. SUPPLEMENTS might help. You can try immune support with Vitamin C 1000mg four times a day and Vitamin D 5000iu daily.
5. COUGH can be relieved with a conventional cough medicine. Also, try honey and lemon in hot water, or gargle with warm salt water. Even a piece of hard candy can sooth the throat.
WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER?
Many are asking how long we will have to deal with the COVID-19. Experience in China reveals that it has started to quiet down after initially being diagnosed in January. Currently, there are just a handful of new cases in China daily and life there is getting back to normal. If the same thing happens in the US, that means we are 3-4 weeks behind them. In the meantime, remember that if you use common sense you can avoid getting infected. Spend more time outside when it is warm and sunny. We expect the virus will be less active when it is warmer outside.
I’M SICK, WHAT DO I DO?
You need to stay at home to recover. If you are at all worried about the severity of the illness, you need to connect with me. Call the office. If it is determined you are sick enough, I will want to speak or video conference with you. We can help determine what steps you may need to take.
Stay safe, my friends. Use common sense and remember that prevention is the best medicine.
Glenda Weeman, DO