As April comes to an end, COVID-19 continues to make headlines across the country. Dallas County’s 2,683 confirmed cases (as of April 22, 2020) has many in the DFW area questioning what precautions they can take in order to remain protected against the virus. As with any new disease, there is still a lot of speculation and research which is required before we can have any definite answers. However, in an effort to serve our PIP patients and fellow community members, PIP Aubrey and Pilot Point Family Practice provider, Nurse Practitioner Pagel is sharing her insight and advice regarding COVID-19.

Renate Pagel, FNP-C

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread person-to-person by what is known as “droplet spread”. This means that particles can be inhaled when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Although a person may initially not show signs of illness, there is a possibility that the virus was transmitted if they were exposed to it. Due to this, the ‘6-foot rule’ has been very useful in decreasing the spread of Coronavirus. It is also believed that the virus can spread though surfaces. This can happen when unsuspecting people interact with contaminated surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, nasal congestion, and headache. Some people may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Renate Pagel, FNP-C

When should I see a healthcare provider?

If you have a cough, a fever, or if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You should also seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, or blue color to the lips and face. For a complete list of symptoms, please visit the CDC website.

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

As there is currently no vaccine available for this virus, everyone is at risk. Although most people who obtain the virus will recover in a week or two, there are a few groups of people who should be very cautious. High-risk individuals include the elderly, those with already weakened immune systems and people with certain comorbidities. This includes patients with hypertension, obesity, lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease. 

How can I help protect myself?

1) Prevention

The best way to protect yourself is prevention! How can you do that? Stay at home whenever possible and prevent the illness by eliminating the possibility of exposure. Social distancing was established exactly for this purpose.  

3) Wear a Face Mask

I am sure you have heard mixed opinions on whether wearing a face mask is necessary. The current recommendation is to wear a mask or a cloth covering that covers both your nose and mouth when you are around other people. However, it is important to note that this is not a substitute for social distancing.

3) Wash Your Hands Regularly 

Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective disinfectant method. However, if not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great option. The CDC recommends that the hand sanitizer you use contain at least 60% alcohol.

If you have concerns or additional questions about COVID-19, please schedule an appointment via Telehealth with one of our PIP locations and any of our providers will be happy to assist you!