Given all that is going on in our world at this time, it is necessary to devote this month’s article to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. That said, if I discussed numbers related to the virus, they would be inaccurate by the time I hit save. So, I’m going to try to approach this issue from the big picture view.
Coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets. These viral droplets can be spread by sneezing, coughing, and, possibly breathing and talking. This is the reason for the rules on social distancing. As of this writing, the CDC suggests that everyone should wear social cloth masks when unable to maintain social distancing measures at places like grocery stores and pharmacies. The purpose of this is to protect others in case you have the virus but have no symptoms.
A pandemic is a disease affecting an entire country or the world. The World Health Organization declared the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Many of us have been home for 3 weeks or so, at the time of this writing.
As more has been learned about the symptoms that come with the disease, more confusion has arisen. For now, if you have a temperature above 99.6, a cough, shortness of breath, and body aches, you could have the infection. The San Antonio city government website has a self-screening tool on their website: sanantonio.gov. If, based on your answers, you are at risk, the next page will tell you to call the Metropolitan Health Department to schedule a test.
Overall, the message is basic: wash your hands, cover a cough or a sneeze (or wear a fabric mask), maintain a 6 foot distance from everyone, and go out for essential activities only.
If you feel ill for any reason, please call your primary care physician. At HealthTexas, we have been seeing patients via telemedicine since the end of March. For our patients, our staff members assist with the process and make it feel like you are in our office. A few of our clinics can see patients when necessary, however, your primary doctor will make those arrangements for you.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve grown tired of describing our current situation as “crazy times.” However, I struggle with finding another word that fits. We should all focus on doing the next right thing. That is more true now than ever. In these times, that right choice can save lives.
Stay inside, reach out to the elderly and ill to make sure they are okay, send one person to the store for the essentials, and be kind. The empty streets are a sign that we do care about each other and we’re all working together to get through these crazy times.
Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.