Dr. D’s Medical Update
Happy New Year from the physicians and staff of HealthTexas Primary Care Doctors!
In reviewing my article from 2021, this one may too, feel very similar. We are still in a pandemic and some areas of our lives are no less certain. In 2021, we saw high numbers of cases of COVID and many of us lost family members, coworkers and friends very close to us due to this infection. Let’s begin by looking at where we are as a city, state and country.
In San Antonio, we are starting to see cases rise. The numbers don’t appear to be as bad as some other cities, but they are increasing. In our own office on the day I wrote this article, we had 3 cases diagnosed and several others reported to us. Hospital admissions are also increasing over the last few days. In the intensive care units, the census is fairly stable, as are the numbers of ventilated patients. Given how quickly the omicron variant is spreading in other locations, I would expect that by the time you are reading this, numbers will be increasing as a result of Christmas and New Year’s gatherings. In Texas, the worst area for new cases is in and around the Houston area. The symptoms to be aware of are runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat. These symptoms do overlap with the common symptoms of allergies and especially cedar allergies.
In the United States, we see numbers of cases increasing dramatically. On the news, we see long lines of people waiting to be tested all over the country. The seven-day case average for the nation is increasing. It is now higher than during the last surge. As has been reported, the majority of cases are now due to the omicron variant. Hospitals in some areas are being overwhelmed by COVID patients. The majority of these are still the unvaccinated.
With all of this potentially bad news, some may wonder about what we can do about it? Fortunately, we have often talked about what can be done, and it’s very simple:
1) Get Vaccinated.
2) Get a Booster Vaccine.
The current data shows those fully vaccinated and have received a booster, reduces the risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID. As we’ve said here before, you have the potential to save the life of someone you love by being vaccinated. The other is to wear a mask when in public. The latest information on masks and omicron is that surgical masks work best. Fabric masks are now being discouraged due to appearing to be ineffective at preventing infection.
Oral treatments from Pfizer and Merck have also been approved to treat COVID infection as an outpatient. The data for the Pfizer regimen is significantly better than the Merck data. At this time, the medications will likely be made available through emergency departments instead of your local pharmacy. Even with these treatments, it is better to prevent the illness by getting vaccinated and making good choices.
As always, reach out to your HealthTexas provider if you have questions about this or other health related issues.
Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Primary Care Doctors – Holy Cross, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.