We continue to learn more about coronavirus.
For up to date information see the CDC Novel Coronavirus
Dr. Stuppy has written about Coronavirus in three blogs to date.
Who is at risk of COVID-19?
- Those who live with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
- Those who come into close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 – Examples include close conversation, eating together.
- People who have traveled to an area of high risk per the CDC. Currently the countries with a travel advisory include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan.
- Those with a fever with acute lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and no alternative diagnosis even if no source of COVID-19 exposure has been identified.
These are NOT considered close contact exposures:
- Living in a city where there is a confirmed COVID-19 infection (though this increases the risk of exposure).
- Being in the same building as a person with COVID-19 (unless you are within 6 feet for a time, such as a conversation).
- Walking by a person with COVID-19.
- Eating Chinese food.
- Receiving packages from China. It appears that COVID-19 does not survive long on surfaces, so there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packages.
Important if you are high risk for COVID-19:
Call our office if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
DO NOT use any walk in clinic or schedule an appointment without specifically identifying your risk. This will allow you to be directed to the location that can best serve your needs and for proper precautions to be taken when you arrive at the facility.
All travelers returning from geographic areas with widespread community transmission are encouraged to remain at home and avoid large gatherings for 14 days after returning to the United States.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19
If you have a potential exposure, the most important thing initially is to not spread the virus further. This can happen even before symptoms start, so don’t wait until you have symptoms to take precautions.
- Call your local health department (click for Johnson County Health Department) or our office for instructions.
- Stay home unless you have need for medical attention. This means no work, no school, no shopping, no sports, no church.
- Do not have visitors come to your home.
- If you need food or medicine delivered to your home, advise people to leave it at your door. After they leave you can retrieve it.
- If symptoms develop, call the health department for further instructions. Do not go into a hospital or clinic without first calling!
Who should be seen at their doctor’s office?
The recommendations for who should be seen in their doctor’s office remain the same overall. If you do not need medical treatment, it is best to stay home, but if your child has the following symptoms, they should be evaluated:
- Any infant under 2 months of age with fever (>100.4F) or older child with persistent fever – call for advice first
- Mild difficulty breathing (rapid breathing, barky cough, inability to run/play without distress) – allergy and asthma season is upon us: make sure you have your needed medications!
- Sore throat, fever, swollen glands, abdominal pain WITHOUT runny nose (due to possible treatable Strep throat)
- Pain that is not controllable
- Symptoms of urinary tract infection (painful urination, accidents, altered urine smell or color, fever)
- Call your doctor’s office if there is a fever or cough that starts within 14 days of a potential exposure to COVID-19.
When to go to the ER?
- Severe respiratory distress – struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words, blue lips: Call 911.
- Any difficulty breathing that occurs within 14 days of exposure to a known or suspected case of COVID-19 (call ahead – DO NOT show up unannounced)
The CDC and WHO sites have information about COVID-19.
This is a great tracker from Johns Hopkins CSSE.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different animals.
Most human cornoavirus infections cause symptoms of the common cold: runny nose, cough, fever, and headache. Most of us have had coronavirus infections.
The coronavirus making the news was first identified in Wuhan, China. It is thought that this virus had an animal host initially, then spread to humans. There is evidence of human to human spread in China. In the United States at this time all of those infected were infected outside the US. No person to person spread has been seen here yet.
How is this coronavirus spread?
Some viruses, like measles, are known to be highly contagious. Others are less contagious.
Because so little is known about how the new coronavirus is transmitted, this risk is not yet known. Scientists around the world are working on learning about its transmission, prevention, and treatment.
The CDC states that at this time, the risk to the general US population is low.
What's the US Situation?
There have been people in 36 states, including Kansas, who have been tested based on risk factors for coronavirus. No one has been confirmed to have the virus in Kansas to date.
So far 5 people in the US have tested positive
. These were in Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington state.
There have been no deaths in the US.
At this time only supportive measures are available to treat symptoms. There is no antiviral medicine known to help.
Supportive measures include things we would typically do for similar symptoms and listed on our cold and cough
At this time there is no vaccine for this coronavirus, but there are things to do to help prevent spread of this and other viruses.
- Wash hands.
- Rub the soap onto all surfaces of your hands and wrists for 20 seconds minimum before rinsing with water.
- Use hand lotion if needed. Dry cracked skin can harbor germs.
- Teach kids to do the same.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose and mouth unless you clean your hands before and after touching. These are the portals into your body.
- Wash hands before and after eating.
- Avoid going into any public areas when sick, especially within 24 hours of a fever.
- This includes work, school, and running errands. Even a superbowl party.
- What seems like a mild cold to you could lead to significant illness in an infant, elderly person, or immunocompromised person. You never know who you'll expose.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, then clean your hands as above.
- Clean and disinfect objects around you often. This includes toys, door knobs, phones, remote controls, keyboards, countertops, and more.
- Avoid travel to areas with known person to person spread of this coronavirus or contact with people known or suspected to have this virus.
- If you have been in an area with confirmed person to person spread (ie China) see this CDC page.
What if you think you or your child has coronavirus?
First: don't panic. Most of the people with suspected coronavirus in the US have tested negative. It is far more likely at this time that influenza or another virus is causing symptoms unless you have been in an area of high risk, such as China.
If you have traveled to China or have been around someone who has suspected or confirmed coronavirus and develop fever, cough, runny nose, or other illness, call your physician.
Do not go to any public building, including a medical clinic, without calling first. Precautions will be taken to prevent exposing others.
For those who like to watch videos
I really like this one about coronavirus. Well done and helpful. Dr. Mike reminds us to be Alert, Not Anxious.