By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND – Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program
What do I need to know about this virus?
Coronaviruses are a broad term for a group of single-stranded RNA viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, or the novel coronavirus are all terms being used to describe the viral illness causing the pandemic we are currently experiencing.
How is the virus spread, and what is the incubation period?
Novel coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets. These droplets are released from the respiratory tract by breathing, talking, sneezing, and coughing. Therefore it is important to always wear a face mask, especially when in contact with others. It can take 2-14 days for symptoms to appear (also known the virus incubation period), and people may sometimes not develop symptoms at all, but can still spread the virus to others (we call these people asymptomatic carriers).
What symptoms to look out for:
Look out for the following symptoms of COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss of taste or smell, chills, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. If you have any of these symptoms you should contact your healthcare provider. If you are having severe symptoms such as trouble breathing, chest pressure, a very high fever, chest pain, or confusion, you should call 911.
How to minimize the spread of the virus:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Limit errands and wash hands immediately after returning home
- Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you are not able to wash your hands
- Wear a face mask
- Do not share food or drinks with others
- Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and others
- Disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently
- Take care of your health by stay hydrated, sleeping well, eating healthy food, and limiting alcohol
What kinds of testing are available?
Two types of tests are available: viral tests and antibody tests. Viral tests are tests for an active infection. These test samples from the respiratory tract (usually the nose). Antibody tests are tests for a previous viral infection. Rather than testing for the virus itself, these tests detect antibodies (proteins made by your immune system that ward off infections).
How is this virus treated?
Not everyone with the virus will need to be hospitalized. For those who do need to be hospitalized, oxygen may be used, and if the patient has respiratory failure, septic shock, or multi-organ failure, other more advanced therapies may be employed.
Are there any populations who are at a greater risk than others for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19?
Based on the current data, elderly persons or people who have pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to become seriously ill from the novel coronavirus.
How to prevent the spread of rumors and stigma surrounding COVID-19:
Anyone can get the novel coronavirus, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. Some groups of people are being targeted/ stigmatized, such as persons of asian descent, those who have recently traveled, and healthcare providers. Do your part in preventing the spread of fear or anger toward these groups.
What should I do if I am feeling very depressed because of all of this?
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
For more information:
For more information about the novel coronavirus, antibody testing, or how to stay healthy during this time, please call Spark Health today at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com .
Spark Health is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!
The Spark Team
Information compiled from the following sources: