Coronavirus Disease 2019
We here at Pulmonary Associates of Mobile care about the health and safety of all patients and staff. We are monitoring Coronavirus disease 2019 updates daily through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). As recommendations change we will update accordingly. Below this article you will find links to both the CDC and WHO websites for any additional information.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. (CDC, 2020).
How is it spread?
The current understanding about how the virus spreads is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and the CDC and WHO are learning more every day of how it spreads and the severity of illness. This is what is known so far.
- It is considered to be person-to-person transmission. That means that it can be spread between people who are in close contact with each other (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
- It can spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets land in the mouth or noses of people near by and can be inhaled into the lungs.
- It may be possible to spread through contaminated surfaces or objects. This is not the main way the virus spreads but when a person touches a contaminated surface then touches their own mouth, nose, or eyes exposing themselves to the virus.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms may be mild to severe respiratory illnesses
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste and/or smell
- Chills or repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
How do I protect myself and family?
The best way to protect yourself and family is to avoid exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. You can do that by:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who may have traveled to an area with COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- It is recommended to wear a mask when in public or if you are going to be in close contact with anyone.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- WASH YOUR HANDS often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough into your elbow, then throw the tissue into a trash can.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects with a bleach or alcohol based cleaning solution.
Do I have COVID-19?
If you are experiencing the symptoms above and may have COVID-19 please call for further guidance. Pulmonary Associates is not currently testing for COVID-19 but can help guide to a facility that is testing. If you feel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 there are several testing sites around Mobile that are testing patients with and without symptoms. We will be happy to assist you finding a testing site.
What do I do If I think I have COVID-19?
- If you are having an emergency or difficulty breathing, call 911 and let the operator know that you may have COVID-19.
- Call your provider and inform them of your concerns immediately.
- Most patients can be treated at home, limiting contact with others in your family and the community to prevent the spread of infection.
How do I get Tested?
Pulmonary Associates is not currently testing at any of its locations. There are many testing sites in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Please call and we will be more than happy to assist you in finding a testing location.
Is there a Vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Coronavirus and Children
Most children that are exposed or contract COVID-19 have very mild symptoms. Pediatric COVID-19 patients may not have fever or cough. However, if you suspect that your child may have COVID-19 please inform your pediatrician for further guidance. We will also be happy to assist you.
If your child has asthma please call us to review your child’s Asthma Action Plan and refill any necessary medications. It is important to follow your child’s Asthma Action plan and avoid any triggers. We are here to support our patients during this unprecedented time.
It is recommended from the CDC that all children over the age of 2 wear a face mask if able. It is NOT recommended that children under the age of 2 wear a face covering or mask. This is due to the risk of suffocation and the inability to remove the mask themselves.
Coronavirus and Asthma or COPD
People with moderate to severe respiratory conditions may be at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19. Please take extra precaution to social distance and wear a mask when in public. If you are concerned, please call our offices and we will be more than happy to help. We are also seeing patients in the offices and via telehealth. Our physicians are making every effort to continue with high quality care even if you are unable to come to the offices. Some things to remember are listed below.
- Do not stop your respiratory medications or inhalers
- Avoid triggers
- Call if you experience any changes in your baseline respiratory status (increased wheeze, cough, or shortness of breath)
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Disinfect high touch surfaces frequently
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
- Most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate and can be managed at home. The more severe cases will require hospitalization. If you and your physician have determined that you do have COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19, the first step is notifying the state health department. Pulmonary Associates will abide by all CDC guidelines for notifying state health departments for the most up to date treatment and management options.
- There is no vaccine at this time or approved medicine to treat COVID-19.
- Our pulmonary patients will develop a specific treatment plan with your provider regarding medications, inhalers, and nebulized medications.
- Please see the symptomatic home care section below for recommendations.
- If you have concerns about coming into the office during this stay at home order from Governor Ivy, please know that we are now offering telehealth appointments that can be completed via telephone, smart phone, or laptop.
Home cares for mild to moderate COVID-19
- You should restrict activities outside of your home, except for medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride sharing, or taxis.
- Wear a mask or face covering if you must leave your home.
- Separate yourself from others in your home and your pets. You should stay in one specific room and use a separate bathroom, if available. If no other bathroom is available: clean surfaces and shared areas often with bleach or alcohol bases cleaning solutions.
- Do not handle your pets or any other animals while sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, if soap and water is not available use an alcohol based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol solution.
- Call ahead to any doctor’s appointment that is necessary. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from being infected or exposed. Any routine appointment needs to be rescheduled for at least 2 weeks after the resolution of symptoms.
- Wear a mask when you are around other people, pets, and in the doctors’ office.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away in a lined trashcan. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer of at least 60% – 95% alcohol solution.
- Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets. After using these items, they will need to be washed with soap and hot water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces in your home to include countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe and follow the manufactures guidelines for cleaning and drying times.
- Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids
- Follow your provider’s recommendations for prescribed medications include inhalers and nebulized medications.
- Take your usual over the counter medications (OTC) such as acetaminophen or Tylenol. Follow the directions on the medications unless you have allergy or medical problems that prevent you from taking these type medications. Do not take acetaminophen or Tylenol if you have liver disease.
- If your symptoms begin to worsen or do not improve, call your provider and inform for recommendations.
- Call 911 for any of the following and inform of COVID-19 diagnosis:
- high fever
- severe shortness of breath
- altered mental status
- skin or lips turning blue
- severe headache
- lethargic or increased irritability
- signs of dehydration
- new onset of drooling or inability to swallow