Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates
The situation around the coronavirus epidemic is changing rapidly. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, we highly recommend that our patients refer to the CDC website and Maryland Department of Health Website. Please be mindful of the widespread misinformation about coronavirus online, and always refer to trusted medical sites such as the CDC or WHO for verified information.
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) strain?
Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.
Experts believe that there are a substantial number of people who contract COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. Most people who develop symptoms will do so 2-14 days after they were exposed to the virus. Click here for more information.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
As we currently understand it, this virus is spread much like the flu. Transmission can occur through:
Close personal contact (shaking hands, etc)
Touching a contaminated surface, then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands
Unfortunately, it appears that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people with COVID-19 can transmit the virus. This is one of the reasons that social distancing is vital. We strongly encourage all our patients and families to comply with the stay-at-home orders currently in place in Maryland, Virginia and DC. When you must go out of the house,wear a cloth face covering, keep distance (6 feet) between yourself and others and avoid physical contact (handshakes and hugs). Work from home if you can and avoid nonessential errands and travel. This is a great time to use technology to connect virtually with friends.
In addition, continue to:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home! Leave the house only for essential errands, medical visits and outdoor exercise.
Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash.
For more information, click here.
Do I need to wear a facemask?
The CDC is now recommending that all adults and children over the age of two wear cloth face coverings when out in public. This is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Even while wearing a mask, it is important to keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others. In the home, people who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms should wear a face mask whenever they are around other people. chances of spreading the infection to others.
How are people with COVID-19 treated?
While various medications are currently being tested in patients with severe illness, we do not yet a proven treatment for coronavirus. Thus far, most people who have contracted COVID-19 have had mild to moderate illnesses, and have received supportive care to relieve their symptoms. People with severe illness need treatment in a hospital setting.
Beware of misinformation about supplements and unproven “cures”. Always refer to trusted medical sites such as the CDC website for verified information.
What should I do if I think I might have been exposed or contracted the virus?
**Please note that recommendations for evaluating people with exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus are continuing to evolve. Please check here for the most up-to-date information.
Unfortunately, testing for COVID-19 is still quite limited, although this will hopefully change in the coming weeks to months. There are circumstances in which testing may be advisable, as with exposed or symptomatic healthcare workers, individuals with severe disease, or symptomatic individuals in close contact with elderly family members or friends.
Most children, adolescents and young adults who develop symptoms of COVID-19 will have a relatively mild illness. If you have flu-like symptoms, with or without a known exposure, you and your family should self-quarantine. If you have concerns or questions, please call the office to schedule a virtual (telemedicine) visit with one of our doctors, who will evaluate you and determine the best course of action. More information about caring for a family member with COVID-19 symptoms can be found here. We also recommend this short video on YouTube.
Anyone with difficulty breathing or speaking, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, trouble waking up, or a bluish discoloration of the lips or face should seek medical attention right away.
To limit the spread of this virus, patients should always CALL FIRST before going to any medical facility to be evaluated. All patients with respiratory symptoms should put on a mask before they enter a healthcare facility.
Should I cancel my trip?
Yes. Social distancing is crucial to “flattening the curve” and limiting the spread and scope of this pandemic. Click here for specific recommendations regarding travel safety.