Dr Clodagh Ryan
Covid Update: March 30th 2020
Today is National Physicians Day. While we are all isolating, please think of those frontline physicians and all healthcare workers who are risking their lives to help your loved ones. They are sacrificing seeing their families, hugging their kids and fear for their lives. The article below gives some good ways in which you can show your appreciation for these brave hospital workers.
If you have friends or family who are working through this, a handwritten note or text thanking them can help boost their spirits. Thanks to all of you who have already shown your appreciation to the Cara Direct Care staff - it really does mean a lot!
We do not know yet why some young healthy patients are getting sicker than expected. Until we figure that out, we must all assume that we can get a serious course if contracting COVID. So please listen to our state and public health officials and follow all the guidelines found here at the Center for Disease Control website:
WHAT CARA DIRECT CARE CAN DO FOR OUR PATIENTS DURING THIS CRISIS:
Please know that we are here for you. Let us know you are not feeling well. Our protocol is to follow every sick patient at least once daily by email/video/text/phone during the course of their illness. You will be given a list of things to report- fever (how high), cough (how bad) shortness of breath, other symptoms and we will decide if you are safe to stay at home or need to go to the ER. Unfortunately that may not happen until the middle of the second week of illness (that is when our patients have been hospitalized or getting worse) so it may be a long illness.
MONITORS: we advise that every family - especially those with a member with chronic condition consider purchasing:
1. Pulse oximeter - a fingertip monitor which measures your blood oxygen (found online for about $20-60)
2. Blood pressure monitor
The oxygen monitor in particular has proven EXTREMELY HELPFUL for assessing if a possible COVID 19 patient needs to go to the ER. When you start getting sicker with COVID-19, your oxygen levels drop. We can assess by video if you are able to stay home, or need oxygen support at hospital, with the help of this affordable machine.
TESTING: We are able to access testing at the local ER's now with a doctors order so please call us or your own physician if you feel that you need to be tests. Results can still take up to 10 days but that is changing quickly.
SELF ISOLATION AND CONTACT TRACING - the public health department is overwhelmed and some are trying to advise each positive or preemptive positive patient what to do, how long to stay home, what contacts should be informed etc, on an individual basis. Here are the current IDPH guidelines:
TYLENOL VERSUS ADVIL?
There is a lot of talk in the media about the risk of using anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) during a COVID 19 illness. The CDC webinar update for physicians last week was very helpful in analyzing this advice. The current evidence is too weak to suggest that Advil is a bad choice. If you are on an anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis/pain or an autoimmune disorder please stay on it. The benefits outweigh the risks. That being said, if you get sick and want to use Tylenol (acetaminophen) instead of Advil (ibuprofen), that is absolutely fine.
5. Hydroxychloroquine? This is still under investigation too and the small study in France that showed benefit was very weak. It appears it is being used in very sick hospitalized patients, but for now not in mild cases as an outpatient. It is out of stock everywhere until the companies ramp up production, which will hopefully coordinate with more research that shows benefit.
6. SITUATIONAL ANXIETY:
This deserves another post in the future. Laughter helps a lot - find reasons to make you laugh. Watch funny tv instead of serious. Limit your news intake to once daily, through reputable sources. Avoid social media where possible. Do not panic when you see stories of children, young adults etc stricken with this virus. The media will always show us the worst cases. As we go through this, we can share happy stories of mild cases, many of which we are already seeing. This well-written blog post by a local Amita psychologist has some very helpful tips.
7. HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Helping someone else will make you feel more in control and less anxious. Think of someone in your life who may appreciate a call/check in/grocery pick up and keeping contact with them. Especially our seniors.
All for now. Wash your hands, stay home, and call us at Cara Direct Care if you need anything.
Dr Clodagh Ryan
Cara Direct Care