As of 2/26/2020, the CDC states that there have been 415 people in the US tested for the virus. 14 of those people were positive. Of the 14, 12 had traveled to areas known to harbor the virus. The other 2 were from person-to-person spread.
Coronavirus spreads just like the flu virus spreads. Sneezing and coughing on someone will spread virus particles through body fluids. It is thought that if these particles are on surfaces (like tables, rails, shopping carts) it can still cause infection if it gets inside the body.
The CDC is recommending that people stay away from others who are sick with respiratory illnesses. They recommend avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. People should stay home if they are sick. If you cough or sneeze, you should cover your mouth with a tissue and then throw it away. Use regular household cleaning spray or wipe to clean commonly touched household areas.
The CDC is not recommending that everyone wear a facemask at this time. If you are feeling well, there is no current indication to wear a mask. If you are sick with a fever or cough you should wear a facemask.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. If this is not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
It is thought that people with the virus are the most contagious before they are aware they are sick. The CDC just updated their website on 2/27/2020 to state that people can start to exhibit symptoms within 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It basically presents like any other upper respiratory virus or cold. Some people have very mild symptoms. Others get really sick and can’t breath. If you or a loved one are having a hard time breathing, you should either reach out to us via text or phone call, or just go to the ER directly.
We don’t have a test for this at our office, or any other outpatient office in the country currently. Not every hospital has the test right now either. If a patient is suspected of having this virus, the hospital contacts the CDC.
At this point, if people have respiratory symptoms, we would like to start caring for them by speaking with them over the phone or over text. We can also do video visits through the Spruce application. This is one of the great things about our practice: we can help treat you over the phone! This will help prevent the spread of infections to other people in the office, and also protect you from catching things from others.
There is not a prescription medication that can treat this virus at this time. Flu medications like tamiflu or xofluza will not treat the coronavirus. Instead, we’ll use other over the counter medications to treat your symptoms. Common recommendations we’ll give include mucinex, antihistamines, nasal sprays. We will recommend the use of a bedside humidifier.
If someone has underlying lung problems and is sick but not critically ill, we might see you in the office but will ask that you wear a facemask while there. There are facemasks currently on the front desk counter.
If a patient sounds severely ill over the phone (as in they are unable to speak a full sentence without stopping to catch their breath) or if one of their loved ones thinks their oxygen might be low (blue lips, physically struggling to breath) we will recommend you go directly to the nearest emergency room. The ER is better equipped with high flow oxygen. The hospitals, but not any outpatient office, can obtain testing supplies from the CDC.
If the government does make testing supplies available to outpatient offices, we will attempt to obtain these.