Lynn Penfold, Family Nurse Practitioner

North Pointe clinic’s Lynn Penfold, Family Nurse Practitioner, is here to answer all your questions surrounding COVID-19.

Can you briefly describe what COVID-19 is?
This what is known as the coronavirus. There are many types of coronaviruses some are the common cause of mild upper respiratory infections. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not been seen in humans previously. This name was selected by the world health organization.

How does it spread?
The virus mainly spreads from person to person. This is mainly through droplets produced when people cough or sneeze. So this is why it is important to distance oneself and adhere to the six foot space designations.

Should everyone get tested?
Unfortunately everyone will not be able to get tested. You will have to contact your healthcare provider to see if you meet criteria for testing. The guidelines are constantly changing maybe in near future more will be able to be tested but as of now we have to meet strict criteria for testing.

If I feel that I may have COVID-19, what should I do? What should the others in their household do?
If you feel you may have COVID-19 it is important to contact your PCP. Do not go to the hospital without contacting them first. They can help you decide what will be the best treatment for your specific case. The only time you would go to the hospital if you are having shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face. You would call 911.

What treatments, if any, are available for COVID-19?
Treatment for most will be symptomatic Tylenol, Fluids, Rest and Vitamin C. For the extreme cases they have found that the use of Plaquenil and Zithromax have been useful. Plaquenil is a treatment that was originally manufactured for the use of malaria treatment and is used for Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Why do we need to stay at home? And why is social distancing important?
Staying home helps to slow the spread of this virus. Some people will have this virus and be asymptomatic. So think of it this way every time you go to the store and if you are one of the people who may have the virus without symptoms if you come in contact with 8-10 people every time you go to the store over a time span of 14 days you could infect 140 people.

We keep hearing to wash our hands or use sanitizer. Which is best to do?
They are both equally as good as long as you wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. Also, make it a concentrated effort to not touch your face. While we are talking about hand washing, if you are going to wear gloves to help protect, that does not mean you can touch your face. I am seeing so many people wearing gloves and touching their face. Just because you have gloves on does not make it safe t touch your face they are still dirty.

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