Covid-19 education < Return to News

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 stands for "coronavirus disease 2019." It is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. 

How is COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. This usually happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks near other people. The virus can be passed easily between people who live together. But it can also spread at gatherings where people are talking close together, shaking hands, hugging, sharing food, or even singing together. Doctors also think it is possible to get sick if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

A person can be infected, and spread the virus to others, even without having any symptoms. This is why keeping people apart is one of the best ways to slow the spread.

It is also possible for the virus to spread from an infected person to an animal, like a pet. But this seems to be uncommon. There is no evidence that a person could get the virus from a pet.

Experts do not think the virus is spread through food like some other viruses. There is also no evidence that it can be spread through the water in a pool or hot tub. But because the virus can spread when people are close together, things like swimming in a crowded pool are still risky.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms usually start 4 or 5 days after a person is infected with the virus. But in some people, it can take up to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear. Some people never show symptoms at all.

When symptoms do happen, they can include:

●Fever

●Cough

●Trouble breathing

●Feeling tired

●Shaking chills

●Muscle aches

●Headache

●Sore throat

●Problems with sense of smell or taste

Some people have digestive problems like nausea or diarrhea. There have also been some reports of rashes or other skin symptoms. For example, some people with COVID-19 get reddish-purple spots on their fingers or toes. 

For most people, symptoms will get better within a few weeks. But in others, COVID-19 can lead to serious problems like pneumonia, not getting enough oxygen, heart problems, or even death. This risk gets higher as people get older. It is also higher in people who have other health problems like serious heart disease, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sickle cell disease, or obesity. People who have a weak immune system for other reasons (for example, HIV infection or certain medicines), asthma, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, or high blood pressure might also be at higher risk for serious problems.


What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor or get seen at an Urgent Care. If you do need to go to the clinic  cover your nose and mouth with cloth mask. 
If you are severely ill and you think you are having a medical emergency, call 911

Is there a test for the virus that causes COVID-19?
Yes. If your doctor suspects you have COVID-19, they might take a swab from inside your nose for testing. If you are coughing up mucus, they might also test a sample of the mucus. These tests can help your doctor figure out if you have COVID-19 or another illness.

There is also a blood test that can show if a person has had COVID-19 in the past. This is called an "antibody" test. Over time, this could help experts understand how many people were infected without knowing it. Experts are also using blood tests to study whether a person who has had COVID-19 could get it again.

How is COVID-19 treated?
Many people will be able to stay home while they get better. But people with serious symptoms or other health problems might need to go to the hospital.

Mild illness – Mild illness means you might have symptoms like fever and cough, but you do not have trouble breathing. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can rest at home until they get better. This usually takes about 2 weeks, but it's not the same for everyone. It is important to observe self-isolation for 2 weeks. We advise you to hydrate vigorously ( drink about a gallon of water a day) and use Tylenol ES 2 tabs po q 6 prn for fever/bodyaches.

If you are recovering from COVID-19, it's important to stay home and "self-isolate" until your doctor tells you it's safe to go back to your normal activities. Self-isolation means staying apart from other people, even the people you live with. When you can stop self-isolation will depend on how long it has been since you had symptoms, and in some cases, whether you have had a negative test (showing that the virus is no longer in your body).

Severe illness – If you have more severe illness with trouble breathing, you might need to stay in the hospital, possibly in the intensive care unit (also called the "ICU"). While you are there, you will most likely be in a special isolation room. Only medical staff will be allowed in the room, and they will have to wear special gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection.

The doctors and nurses can monitor and support your breathing and other body functions and make you as comfortable as possible. You might need extra oxygen to help you breathe easily. If you are having a very hard time breathing, you might need to be put on a ventilator. This is a machine to help you breathe.

Doctors are studying several possible treatments for COVID-19. In certain cases, doctors might recommend medicines that seem to help some people who are severely ill. They also might recommend being part of a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a scientific study that tests new medicines to see how well they work. Do not try any new medicines or treatments without talking to a doctor.

Can COVID-19 be prevented?

WE NOW HAVE EFFECTIVE VACCINES!  Call our office and schedule your appointment.

●Practice "social distancing." It's most important to avoid contact with people who are sick. But social distancing also means staying away from all people who do not live in your household. It is sometimes called "physical distancing."

Avoiding crowds is an important part of social distancing. But even small gatherings can be risky, so it's best to stay home as much as you can. When you do need to go out, try your best to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 meters) away from other people.

●Wear a cloth face mask when you need to go out.  

●Wash your hands with soap and water often. This is especially important after being out in public, getting your mail, or touching packages or other deliveries. 

Make sure to rub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, cleaning your wrists, fingernails, and in between your fingers. Then rinse your hands and dry them with a paper towel you can throw away. If you are not near a sink, you can use a hand sanitizing gel to clean your hands. The gels with at least 60 percent alcohol work the best. But it is better to wash with soap and water if you can.

●Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes.

●Boost your immune system by consuming an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nuts, avocado, fatty fish and low in sugar, processed food and carbs. 

•Regularly clean things that are touched a lot. This includes counters, bedside tables, doorknobs, computers, phones, and bathroom surfaces.

•Clean things in your home with soap and water, but also use disinfectants on appropriate surfaces. Some cleaning products work well to kill bacteria, but not viruses, so it's important to check labels. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of products here.

What if I feel fine but think I was exposed?
If you think you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, but you don't have any symptoms, you should "self-quarantine" at home for at least 14 days. This means staying home as much as possible, and staying at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people in your home. Self-quarantine is slightly different from self-isolation, which is when a person who is sick stays in a completely separate room from others. We also recommend getting tested for Covid 19. 

You should also monitor yourself for any symptoms. If you do start to have symptoms, call your doctor right away.  We also recommend steam inhalation for 10 minutes three times a day. 



What can I do to cope with stress and anxiety?
It's normal to feel anxious or worried about COVID-19. It's also normal to feel stressed or lonely when you can't do your normal activities or see friends and relatives. You can take care of yourself by trying to:

●Take breaks from the news

●Get regular exercise and eat healthy foods

●Try to find activities that you enjoy and can do at home

●Stay in touch with your friends and family members

It might also help to remember that by doing things like staying home, wearing a mask, and avoiding large groups, you are helping to protect other people in your community.

Keep in mind that most people do not get severely ill from COVID-19. It helps to be prepared, and it's important to do what you can to lower your risk and help slow the spread of the virus. But try not to panic.

Where can I go to learn more?
As we learn more about this virus, expert recommendations will continue to change. For more information on this topic, visit the CDC Website.

Information for this article was taken from uptodate.com.



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