Immediate care centers, urgent care centers, and hospitals across the country, and the world, are being inundated with new patients every day due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). With so much misinformation out there on the coronavirus, and what you should do to protect yourself and your family, it is important to understand the answers to some of the biggest questions about COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 is abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been closely monitoring the spread of the virus and are updating everyone accordingly.
What Are The Symptoms?
COVID-19 has symptoms that are similar to the flu or the common cold. However, doctors are reporting patients having mild to severe respiratory illness that may lead to severe illness or death. These are the most common identified symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
If you or a loved one have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare professional.
Who Is At Risk?
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you fit into any of the following groups, you may be at an increased risk of COVID-19:
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Those with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People with serious heart conditions
- Conditions that can cause a person to be immunocompromised
- Those with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with Diabetes
- Those with chronic kidney disease and who are undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
Is It Really That Contagious?
Yes! The novel coronavirus disease 2019 is an extremely contagious disease. It can spread in a variety of ways including:
The virus mainly spreads from person-to-person. It can spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from infected surfaces
It is possible to get infected with COVID-19 even if you have not come directly into contact with another person. The virus can live on surfaces and objects, and a person may be infected if they touch that object and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Thankfully, this is not the virus’ main source of infection.
How To Prevent Contracting Coronavirus
There are many precautions that you and your family can take in order to avoid contracting COVID-19. However, the best way to prevent contracting the coronavirus is to avoid being exposed. That means the one thing that has been on everyone’s mind the past few weeks: social distancing.
It is important to avoid close contact with anyone who might be sick. The CDC is recommending keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from one another even for healthy people. If you have to touch a surface, be sure to wash your hands afterwards. It is recommended that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot find soap and water or are not near an easily accessible sink, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. It is incredibly important to avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, or anywhere on your face.
What To Do If You Are Sick
If you are already sick, it is important to avoid passing respiratory illness to others. Be sure to stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. If the illness becomes serious, it is important to contact a medical professional.
How Do You Treat COVID-19?
Unfortunately, since the coronavirus is new, there is no known proven cure. In fact, treatment is left up to the individual practitioner based on the severity of the case and available resources. Those with COVID-19 will receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. They should also limit movement and contact with people and animals to avoid spreading the disease.
The trusted medical professionals at Nanticoke Hospital are on the front-line fighting this disease every day. Our dedicated staff remain committed to helping every single person who comes through our doors, especially those affected by this horrible pandemic. For more information on COVID-19 and what you can be doing to stay safe and flatten the curve, contact the immediate care center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital today or visit the Peninsula Regional Health System.
There are a variety of problems that can be treated at urgent care and immediate care facilities, and there are even some diagnostic tests the facility is capable of running.
Visiting Immediate Care
The environment at immediate care centers is part clinic, part doctor’s office. At Nanticoke Immediate Care, the staff is made up of nurse practitioners, in addition to typical medical support staff. Urgent care centers are a lot like large doctor’s offices, but with more equipment and an in-house lab. You don’t need to call ahead or make an appointment at an immediate care center; simply show up when you need treatment or testing. In most cases, you will receive treatment and/or testing within a few hours of your arrival.
While many tests including blood work can be done at an immediate care center, there may be times when you require additional or more extensive testing, such as mammograms, CAT scans, and MRIs. If you need additional tests, the nurse practitioner who treats you will tell you where to go to have these diagnostics performed.
If you need common medical testing performed, some of our immediate care centers can provide everything from X-rays to blood tests. Visiting an immediate care center is designed to be efficient and quick, for someone and for the facility. Get your basic medical tests done here, and save yourself the time and aggravation of going somewhere else.
An immediate care center should be used when you can’t wait to see your doctor but your concern is urgent. If it is a life-threatening emergency, you should always go to your closest hospital’s emergency room.