In the past few weeks we have all had our lives turned upside down due to the influence of COVID-19. Although this virus has made its way to the US shores and is sweeping across the country at an astounding rate we have the ability to take action. We can only do this if we stay informed, follow sound advice and do not let fear or rumor overcome us.
COVID- 19 is a specific type of Coronovirus that was discovered in 2019. It has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning that is a novel disease present and spreading in all over the world. The virus spreads by person to person contact and from touching infected surfaces. The infection can occur if a person inhales the airborne droplets containing the virus from an infected person or by touching a contaminated surface then touching the face, specifically the mouth, nose or eyes. The incubation period is 5-14 days, which is the time it takes for the infection to occur after an exposure. Scientists believe that an infected person may shed the virus infecting others for up to 2 days before they actually show the symptoms of cough, fever, body aches and shortness of breath.
There is no immunization although they are working on it, and there is no FDA approved treatment although the state of New York is beginning a drug trial and the FDA is working quickly to make treatment and vaccines available.
Testing in Florida is limited to people that have symptoms and have had close contact to someone suffering from COVID-19. The numbers of test positive cases in Pasco county is currently low, however this number will continue to rise unless people follow the suggested measures to stay away from others and practice social distancing.
The current best course of action is to stay home, only leave the house for necessary reasons and limit the time out avoiding unnecessary traveling. Avoid all crowded or public places attend no gatherings with more than 10 people.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wipe down all surfaces with a known disinfecting agent that is at least 70% alcohol or any product proven to be germicidal or virucidal.
Social distancing, staying at least 6 feet or twice your arms length away from others can also slow the spread of the disease. Avoid hugging and kissing your friends and family.
In an effort to keep my patients at home and out of harms way, we have implemented tele-health visits. These are virtual visits which you can do through the home computer, lap top or smartphone. You can call and schedule a tele-health visit in the same way you schedule a regular visit, or go onto our patient portal and self schedule your tele-health visit.
Keeping patients who are already healthy is our goal. There are some patients who will still need to come to the office for necessary visits. I encourage all patients who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of illness to contact the office first so that we can determine the best course of treatment, which may be meeting you in the parking lot to check a flu or strep test rather than coming into the waiting room. We also offer waiting in your car for appointments; the front desk will call you when it is your turn to go back into the exam room, just call and let the front desk know.
We continue to follow very strict cleaning and decontaminating procedures after every patient. Keeping you healthy is our priority.
Stay calm vigilant and informed.