We are fighting a deadly disease. Americans unfortunately are getting confusing answers to their many questions regarding the Corona Virus or Covid 19.
Recently, I’ve been on Bellevue’s Volunteer Hotline answering questions from frightened New Yorkers.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
1) Where can I get tested? Who is getting tested?
At this time, only patients who have breathing problems and are in need of hospitalization for Oxygen or Ventilation are being tested. The hospitals have stopped all ambulatory COVID 19 testing. Unless you are having shortness of breath, avoid the hospital emergency room. You will only expose yourself further to other people who may be infected. If you have questions, call the Covid-19 Hotline at Bellevue: 1-844-692-4692. A medical professional will answer your call and transfer you to a doctor who can help you.
2) What symptoms should I look out for?
Low-grade fever, dry cough, chest heaviness and sore throat. Some patients complained of inability to smell or taste.
3) What should I take for my fever?
Take Tylenol. Do not take Advil, Motrin, Aleve or Ibuprofen.
4) What if my breathing gets worse and I can’t get to the hospital?
Call 911. If you can get to the hospital on your own, call an Uber or a cab. Roll down the windows and cover your mouth and nose.
5) How can I protect my family and myself?
The virus is transmitted by hand-to-hand contact as well as via droplets. Washing your hands for 20 seconds often is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you are coughing, cough into your elbow. Wipe down surfaces with cleaner containing bleach. Remove clothing that may have been exposed and wash immediately. The virus remains on surfaces for several days. The only way to not get sick is to not be exposed.
Families may need to distance themselves from each other. Kids are often asymptomatic carriers of this deadly virus. Grandparents are at higher risk of having complications from the infection. If possible, consider isolating higher risk members of the family (Those over 60 years old, those with co-morbidities like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart disease, lung disease and immune compromise,etc.)
6. If I’m exposed, when is it safe for me to be near others?
The virus can stay alive for days. Keep quarantined for at least 14 days then continue to practice social distancing of staying at least 6 feet from other people.
7. When can I go back to work if I get a mild case of COVID?
Every institution has their own policies for return to work. Make sure you are communicating with your respective employer about onset of symptoms and guidance regarding return to work.