While the Iora community has not been impacted by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), we are taking the threat of COVID-19 very seriously.
Following the virus’ initial outbreak, first detected in China last month, COVID-19 has been identified in a growing number of other locations internationally, including the United States.
In spite of such a growing health challenge, the risk of catching COVID-19 in the United States remains low, while the risk of catching the flu remains high in the midst of the current flu season. Nevertheless, it is important to stay informed on the evolving situation of COVID-19, while making sure to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself against any infectious diseases.
Here are a few key questions and answers.
What is COVID-19?
The new coronavirus is a respiratory illness known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”), that ranges in severity from mild to severe. While the CDC’s current assessment is that most people have little immediate risk of exposure in the United States, the situation is fluid and evolving.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from none at all, to mild or severe. Among the most common symptoms, many may appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Mild symptoms may include:
- General body aches
- Dry cough
- Breathing difficulties
Severe symptoms may occur in people who are older or living with chronic medical conditions and may require hospitalization.
Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for coronavirus beyond supportive treatment, such as resting and staying hydrated.
How can I stay up-to-date about the evolving COVID-19 situation?
For the most up-to-date information, please consult the CDC for the full and latest Situation Summary.
What is Influenza (flu)?
Influenza (more commonly known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
According to the CDC, during the 2018-2019 flu season, there were approximately 35 million cases of the flu, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths in the United States.
What are symptoms of the flu?
Flu-related symptoms are often more severe and come on faster than similar symptoms caused by the common cold. Flu-related symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call your primary care provider first. Calling in advance will allow your provider to ensure you get the right care without risking the health of other patients and team members.
I’m not feeling well/ I’m experiencing symptoms — can I come in today?
If you or a loved one have a cough, have traveled recently or been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, please call us before coming in. While we’ll be happy to assist you and ensure you receive the proper care, we also want to minimize the risk to other patients and team members. Please call in advance to consult a member of our care team over the phone.
How is Iora Primary Care helping to protect patients against COVID-19?
Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our patients and team members by taking proper precautions and minimizing risk as much as possible. In addition to implementing safety measures within our practices, we are also postponing all upcoming groups, events and classes at our practices in an effort to limit exposure and reduce risk to our patients.
Protecting yourself against infectious diseases
Prevention is key to staying healthy. In addition to the flu vaccine, be sure to:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, to help reduce the spread of germs. Alternatively, if soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- If you feel sick, stay home, and avoid travel.
- Avoid close contact with people with flu-like symptoms whenever possible.