Coronavirus (COVID-19) and You
What you need to know about COVID-19
What is Covid-19? Covid-19 is a corona virus – Corona viruses are a family of viruses that can cause the common cold to more serious pneumonia. SARS and MERS were corona viruses so some of our information is from dealing with those outbreaks. Corona is crown in Latin as the virus has crown-like spikes. This virus is called Covid-19 due to being discovered in 2019.
What symptoms does the virus cause? The CDC believes the time before people start showing symptoms is about 4 days (but can be anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure) – and some people will have the virus and not have any symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever and upper respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Most people will have mild disease. Symptoms can worsen the 2nd week of the disease.
Is there any treatment? Not specifically at this point. There are studies being performed with a medication originally developed for Ebola. Care is ‘supportive’ meaning symptoms are treated.
What can I do to avoid getting sick? The highest risk patients are those that are > 60 years old particularly if they also have heart and/or lung disease and/or diabetes. Please see below.
--Everyone can help by washing their hands – for a minimum of 20 seconds after being in public or blowing your nose. Try to avoid touching your face.
--If you are at high risk – you should consider social distancing – staying home from large events and avoiding crowds, consider stocking up on medications (CVS will now deliver for free), if you go into public stay 6 feet away from other people – especially if they are coughing.
What do I do if I feel sick? If your symptoms are mild – stay home. Try to stay in another room from other family members and limit visitors to your home. Let someone else care for your pet (it’s unclear whether pets can get/carry the virus). Wear a facemask if you have to be around others. Wipe down surfaces. If you are a BMG patient and live in TN you can have a e-visit through the Mychart website. If you have Baptist insurance and need a primary care doctor you can call (844) 837-2433. There is good information on the CDC website which is frequently updated - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
If you think you may have the Corona virus and have questions you can also call the TN government Dept of Health hotline 1 (877) 857-2945.
--IF you develop difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or persistent chest pain – then you need to be seen in an emergency room – call ahead and let them know you are coming and your symptoms.
What do we know about pregnancy? We do not have a lot of information about pregnancy with this virus but based on previous corona viruses and limited information from China it appears pregnant patients may be at higher risk of developing a more severe illness. It is also unclear if babies can acquire the virus from the mother – A decision should be made at delivery whether to separate the mother and infant on a case by case basis. Breastfeeding should be encouraged – there has not been evidence of the virus in breastmilk but there is concern about mothers giving their babies the virus from respiratory droplets – if the infant is separated then breast pumping can be done.
What if I have international travel plans? The WHO website updates it’s numbers daily and has the best recommendations – as things change daily please watch their website - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice