COVID-19: What you need to know

 

What is Coronavirus?

This is a large family of viruses that cause colds and upper respiratory infections.  COVID-19 is mostly spread through droplets in the air when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or speaks too closely to another person.

How can you protect yourself?

  1.  WASH YOUR HANDS! 

2.  Avoid touching your face.

3.  Avoid close contact with someone who is sick.

4.  STAY HOME if you are sick.

5.  Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough – do this in your elbow or a tissue.

6.  Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.

 

What is social distancing?

This means staying away from other people at a distance of at least 6 feet.  Social distancing matters because we have the ability to actually STOP the spread of the virus this way.  If we limit contact during the peak of this illness, we have the chance to decrease transmission to our most vulnerable population, who are the most likely to get hospitalized and potentially overwhelm our hospitals.  Stop it before it gets to them.

 

What is “flattening the curve”?

If we distance ourselves from each other NOW and PREVENT spreading the virus early, we will decrease the number of people who fall ill, and therefore hospitalizations.  If the peak number of patients overloads our hospitals, we will have to ration medications, ICU beds, ventilators, and even medical personnel.  We are already understaffed and are likely to be even more so as our healthcare workers fall ill.

In a widely shared graphic, a tan curve represents a scenario without social distancing measures and where the U.S. hospital system becomes inundated with coronavirus patients.

 

What if I am sick?

DON’T PANIC!!  It is still flu season and now allergies are in the air.  CALL your doctor’s office before driving.  It is likely they will direct you to stay home, rest, and hydrate.   It is best not to expose yourself or others in a crowded waiting room.  The CDC currently recommends no contact until you are fever free for 72 hours.  Use fever-reducers and cough medicine as directed by your doctor.

 

How do I get tested?

Again, CALL your doctor’s office to see if testing is available. In an ideal setting, we would have testing for everyone that needs it.  Unfortunately,  testing is still in short supply.  Even if you are able to get to a testing site, there is no guarantee that you will be tested regardless of your symptoms unless they are already severe.  Unless you are short of breath or have underlying medical problems, it is still best to STAY HOME.   Most medical facilities are now offering virtual visits, which is a great way to determine next steps with a doctor.

Hopefully, I will be able to amend this post to say testing is widely available soon.  Stay tuned…

 

Where should I go for accurate information?

At New South Family Medicine, we are following the guidelines set forth by of the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and locally, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Feel free to call us with any questions or concerns!

Stay safe and STAY HOME!!!

Dr. Jessica