The news about the new coronavirus is sobering, and every state in the nation has been affected, including us here in Colorado.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, our physicians, nurses, and team members at WestMed Family Healthcare want you to know that you should avoid panicking. We’re here to help you stay healthy, get care if you are sick, and prevent the spread of this novel coronavirus in our community.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause various illnesses such as SARS and the common cold. In late 2019, a new coronavirus emerged in China and spread to other countries, including the United States. Experts have named the novel coronavirus “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2) and the illness it causes is COVID-19, which is short for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
The World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuously monitoring this coronavirus outbreak.
COVID-19 symptoms to look out for
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those caused by other flu viruses. The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Feeling achy
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Am I at risk for COVID-19?
Anyone can get this new coronavirus, but the risk of serious complications increases with age. For this reason, older adults are most at risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. People with compromised immune systems are also at risk, such as those who take immunosuppressant medication or have disorders that affect the immune system.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 spreads from person to person through droplets when an infected individual sneezes, coughs or exhales. The droplets land on surfaces and objects around you and spread when you touch the object and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.
COVID-19 also spreads when someone coughs or sneezes and you breathe in the droplets, but the primary route of transmission is through direct contact with droplets.
How do I protect against COVID-19?
The best way to reduce your risk is to stay informed with reliable resources such as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Incorporate habits into your daily life that lower the chances of getting sick. Here are some effective ways to reduce your risk:
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean surfaces of your home with household cleaning products
- Clean cell phones regularly
- Stay home if you aren’t feeling well
Should I get tested for COVID-19?
COVID-19 testing requires a doctor’s order. Testing is important for anyone who has symptoms severe enough to require medical attention. A positive test result helps guide your care. People with mild symptoms may not need to be tested. The treatment for mild symptoms is the same as the typical cold or flu.
What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
Get medical help immediately if you experience serious symptoms including:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
You might be confused about what steps to take and who to contact first if you suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms of a cold or flu, there’s no need to panic. Contact us at WestMed Family Health if you:
- Have recently traveled abroad
- Had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Are an older adult
- Have an underlying health condition
- Experience symptoms that get worse
At WestMed Family Healthcare, we’re here to assist our community in navigating COVID-19. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions and concerns.
Call our Westminster, Colorado, office to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians. We also offer same-day urgent care appointments.