Coronavirus (COVID-19): Facts, Symptoms and Prevention
By: Courtney Floyd
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common in people and many animals.
This new strand of coronavirus is a respiratory disease that was first detected in China and has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (“COVID-19”).
Who is at risk?
Currently most individuals in the US have a very small immediate risk of exposure to the virus.
How does it spread?
The virus is thought to be spread through respiratory droplets produced by an infected individual. Individuals can contract the virus by inhaling these droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing, by sharing eating or drinking utensils, or by touching a surface that has the virus on it then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
What are the symptoms?
Today, those who are been diagnosed with COVID-19 report a range of symptoms from mild to severe. These symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
What steps can you take to prevent becoming sick and/or infecting others?
The best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends the following prevention steps:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
As our communities continue to feel the increased impact of coronavirus, we feel it is important to share with you what we are doing to help keep our patients and staff safe. We want our patients to know we have protocols in place and are following the CDC and local health officials recommendations and updates very closely.
To provide the safest environment for our patients and based on recommendations from the CDC to minimize the spread of Coronavirus, we are asking all patients call our office before entering the facility. Once the doctor or nurse is ready to see you we will give you a call and escort you directly to your consultation room.
Dial in number is 210-692-1181 extension 0.
In addition to eliminating gatherings in our waiting rooms, our safety protocol includes verbal screening of every patient and visitor before entering the office for:
- symptoms of acute respiratory illness (including a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing)
- any recent travel to another country or high risk area
- any possible exposure to an infected individual
Please also inform us before coming to your appointment if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have been exposed to anyone who is sick.
Any person who is sick, or symptomatic staff, patients or visitors will be instructed to stay home. Appropriate plans for follow-up care will be made for symptomatic patients on a case-by-case basis.
We have also heightened our already vigilant cleaning and disinfecting procedures to ensure a healthy environment for patients and staff.
Because patient safety is our number one priority, we strongly recommend patients consider the potential risk involved with public transport and close personal contact in crowds during this time, especially for individuals who are currently undergoing, or have recently completed breast cancer treatment who are at a much higher risk of developing severe symptoms from the coronavirus. Currently the CDC is recommending high risk individuals avoid crowds and any non-essential travel.
For out of town patients traveling for a consultation at PRMA, we are happy to convert this in-person consultation to a virtual consultation via Skype.
If you or a loved one does become sick with any type of respiratory virus or illness (cold/flu/coronavirus), it is important to notify your healthcare providers immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment planning. It is also important to remember to notify your surgical team if you have an upcoming surgery scheduled and develop flu-like symptoms, a fever, a cough, or shortness of breath.