With the news and effects of COVID-19 making its way across our nation, we know this is a stressful and uneasy time for our patients. This doesn’t mean anyone should live in fear or panic. At Wellbox, our mission has always been to help people live longer, healthier lives. The virus doesn’t change that. In fact, with our experience and understanding of chronic conditions, we’re prepared to assist patients worried about possibly contracting the virus and how it could affect them.
We hope that by answering your most pressing questions about the novel coronavirus, you can be more at ease during these uncertain times and continue to take the steps necessary to protect your health.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus that causes respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and lung infection (pneumonia). This respiratory disease is caused by a new coronavirus and is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans like the common cold.
COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets rather than through the air. Someone with COVID-19 can spread these droplets by coughing or exhaling onto objects that others then touch. Consequently, if that person then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, that person can catch the virus. It’s important to stay more than 3 feet away from someone who is exhibiting symptoms.
Although it’s not known exactly how long the virus can survive on surfaces, it seems to persist on surfaces for a few hours up to a few days. If you believe a surface may be infected, clean it with disinfectant followed by cleaning your own hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water, according to the World Health Organization.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough. Some patients may also experience aches and pains, runny nose, sore throat or nasal congestion. These symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after contact with the virus.
Many of our patients are older people with underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes and are more susceptible to developing serious illness from the virus. These patients should not panic, especially if they believe they have these symptoms. Instead, they should call a healthcare professional. The government is strongly urging a telephone screening or telemedicine be used wherever possible to prevent the spread of the illness.
If you or someone you know develops emergency warning signs such as shortness of breath, persistent pain, bluish lips or face, or new confusion, please seek medical attention immediately.
The CDC reports that if someone has been quarantined, a period that lasts for 14 days from the last date of exposure, then that person is no longer considered a risk for spreading the virus because they did not develop the illness during the incubation time.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus and practicing good hygiene.
Take steps to protect yourself by:
If COVID-19 breaks out in your community, the best prevention is to stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of exposure.
Take steps to protect others by:
Keep watch for symptoms of the virus and tell your provider right away if you have them.
The level of risk from COVID-19 to Americans depends on exposures versus the risk of serious illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people in locations of “ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk depends on the location.” Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19, people in close contacts of persons with COVID-19, and travelers returning from affected international areas are also at higher risk for catching the virus.
Based on information from China and other countries experiencing COVID-19, some people are at a higher risk of getting severely sick from the illness. They include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
Stay home and call your healthcare provider or chronic care coordinator if you:
We encourage our patients to contact their chronic care coordinators even if their symptoms are mild. They will let you know if you should be tested.
There currently isn’t a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. However, there are treatments available that will help your body while it fights the virus. People with COVID-19 should seek supportive and medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Supportive care may include:
For severe illness, medical care may include:
Wellbox is committed to helping our patients manage their long-term health concerns successfully. With the coronavirus putting older patients with underlying conditions at risk, we’re diligently working to prevent our patients from experiencing both the virus and its potential complications.
Our experienced registered nurses are available to offer their assistance to patients with questions or concerns. They can also ease some of the burden being felt by in-office staff. If an appointment or prescription refill is needed, our team can assist in coordinating this care. Following these calls, all relevant information is communicated with the patient’s provider.
As we learn more about this virus and its effects continue to evolve, Wellbox is dedicated to continuing to assist patients.