As ENT doctors, we have been asked many questions about COVID-19. Here’s a general 101 about the viral illness, compiling information from abroad and across the US.
COVID-19 is a virus that can cause mild to severe symptoms, most commonly causing fever, cough and shortness of breath. Early or mild symptoms may include partial or complete loss of smell.
The highest concentration of virus lives in the nose and throat. The infection is spread mainly by droplets. This mean that if an infected person sneezes or coughs, it can spread to anyone nearby as well as on surfaces/objects within 6 feet. If an adjacent person rubs their eyes, nose or mouth, this can lead to viral transmission. The virus can also live on surfaces/objects for several hours up to several days. Therefore, touching affected objects and then touching mucous membranes in the head can be a means of spread.
Populations at risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness include persons over 65, immunocompromised patients and those with chronic lung, heart or kidney conditions. We recommend these patients stay at home. If you suspect that you have COVID-19 and only have mild symptoms, it is best to self quarantine for 14 days. If you have severe symptoms, go to the ER and wear personal protective equipment if possible. This includes a mask, gown and eye protection.
We urge everyone during this unprecedented time to take the highest degree of caution. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
At this time, we kindly ask that patients with a scheduled appointment who have a fever, a recently developed cough, or who have traveled overseas or to an affected area to please contact their local Health Department before coming into our office.
The Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery Associates is following CDC guidelines in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is taking precautions to prevent its spread. Our goal remains, as always, to provide you the best possible treatment for your healthcare needs. However, the safety of our employees and patients is our utmost concern.
During a COVID-19 pandemic, patients should be careful to practice good hygiene:
- Minimize contact with those who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call ahead before visiting your doctor
Those who suspect they may have been exposed to the virus should take care to minimize their contact with others if they experience a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness.