Dear Patients of Signature Healthcare,
Our Physicians and Staff are always concerned about your health and well-being. The current news regarding the Corona Virus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has, no doubt, caused some degree of concern about what impact this infection might have, if any, to the Charlotte region.
While COVID-19 appears to have a higher mortality rate than influenza (1-2% vs 0.1%), worldwide the influenza virus still accounts for 100 times more deaths than COVID-19. At the present time there are still too many unknowns to predict how this may change if and when COVID-19 hits the U.S. We will continue to provide additional updates to you as more is known about this potential health threat.
Meanwhile, there are standard precautions that we advise. The ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same as the measures we use to prevent influenza. The current thought is the COVID-19 is spread by microscopic respiratory droplets that are released into the air when one coughs or sneezes, and when another stands within 6 feet of the person coughing. With this in mind, we recommend:
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues (avoid reusable handkerchiefs). If these are not available, cough into the inside of your elbow.
- Throwing away used tissues in a waste basket immediately.
- Disinfecting doorknobs, drawer handles, phones, and counter tops periodically with disinfectant wipes.
- Washing your hands frequently, after touching another person, or one of the above surfaces whose cleanliness is not certain. Hand washing could decrease transmission rates by 30-50%.
- Getting vaccinated for influenza. If you are 65 years old, or older, also get vaccinated for pneumonia. These could keep you out of doctors’ offices and hospitals, thus reducing your exposure to someone who might have COVID-19.
- Preparing to help elderly parents or relatives in the event that they fall ill.
- Being sure you have enough of your regular prescription medication in the event that you are instructed to stay at home for 14 days or longer.
If you develop a significant fever, (100.4 F or more), or if you develop lower respiratory symptoms (e.g. significant coughing, or shortness of breath), please give our office a call, and we will advise you about what to do.
For more information on how to prepare your home for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, please see this article from National Public Radio:
The Physicians & Staff of Signature Healthcare