There is currently much in the news about the Coronavirus that has sparked fears and concerns in our patients. Although this is a fluid situation, we would like to keep you informed on the latest findings and recommendations.
- Don’t panic.
- Think of it like the flu as symptoms are similar.
- It’s best to avoid large public gathering places for awhile: malls, amusement parks, airplane travel etc.
- Be diligent with hand washing.
- Do not travel to China including Hong Kong unless absolutely necessary.
- If you develop a high fever, body aches, chills, contact your physician.
- Contact your PersonalCare Physician if you have questions.
The Coronavirus is not a new virus but only a novel strain of the virus that was originally discovered in humans in 2003. This current strain, known as the Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) has infected over 4500 individuals in China, and has resulted in over 100 deaths. Here in the US, there are only 5 documented cases, all in individuals who traveled in the Wuhan, China area. Although this is a virus found in animals, its rapid spread seems to confirm human-to-human transmission, most likely from respiratory droplets (i.e. from coughing or sneezing).
Despite the overwhelming news, there is no need for overreaction or panic. “Right now, there is no spread of this virus in our communities here at home,” according to Robert Redfield, MD, Director of the Center for Disease Control, at a press conference on January 28, 2020. “This is why our current assessment is that the immediate health risk of this new virus to the general public is low in our nation.”
Even with the current low risk, the best way to avoid this, and other viruses, is to be diligent in frequent hand washing with soap and warm water. Some studies have shown an 85% reduction in cold and flu infections when one washes their hands frequently. Conversely, masks have limited benefit. Most surgical masks will prevent respiratory droplets from being passed in the air, but do little to stop the smaller viral particles. Slightly better “masks “ are the N95 respirators, which can be more effective if worn properly. The N95 respirators must be fitted properly and remain in the proper position to seal one’s nose and mouth from the outside.
In summary, this time of year is when we expect colds and flu symptoms, nearly all caused by the “common flu virus.” Be sure to call your physician if you have a fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and have been in Wuhan, China the 14 days before the onset of symptoms or have come in close contact with someone being investigated for WN-CoV.
PersonalCare Physicians is always here for you; don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.