Why the Hype about Coronavirus?
When the pandemic first started you could see a lot of misinformation spreading. There were those that new other corona viruses existed and those that didn’t. Some would post pictures of Lysol cans on the internet and say “see, nothing to worry about. Lysol kills this so its not new.” Others would look at that same label and say “Lysol is just trying to make money.”
Here is what you need to know. Some form of Coronavirus Causes Most Colds and Flus.
In fact, there are 4 different types of corona virus that cause common colds. They are more prevalent in cooler months, but are present year round. Hence “Summer Colds”. The most common way you contract them is by touching surfaces that have been contaminated, someone coughing or sneezing, sharing cups, etc..
Symptoms of any coronavirus include: Runny Nose, Headache, sore throat, Mild to moderate fever, cough and sneezing, Chills. More aggressive symptoms can include Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, body aches and fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to use a facemask in public if you have to go out. You should avoid public places if you are running a fever, unless you are going to seek medical treatment.
On the CDC Website, You can look at data covering the last decade on reports of number of tests reported to the CDC, number of cases of influenza treated and reported in the season, number of hospitalizations and number of deaths from the disease. Most hospitalizations occur because the virus progresses into pneumonia. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs. This causes fluid to accumulate. That means that oxygen can not be produced to be utilized by the body. There are approximately 3 million cases of Pneumonia each year in the United States.
What’s Different about Sars-COV2?
In a previous blog on November 20, 2020 I talk about the fact surrounding the current pandemic and what you should know. This is a continuation.
The Main Difference is Severity of symptoms. However, the addition of loss of Taste and Smell is of significant note. It can persist for months after the person has recovered from immediate symptoms as well. Another note is that while children with the flu may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, with SARS-COV2, this is more common across all age groups.
Testing: WHAT IS BEST?
Traditionally, about 60% of persons in the US with symptoms of cold and flu receive a standard flu test each year. Tests for flu virus usually are a nasopharyngeal rapid test with results in as little as 15 minutes. This test has been fairly specific at 90%, but only 70% sensitive, meaning you can get up to 30% either false positive or false negative tests. Tests like this have been available since the 1990’s. If the rapid test is positive, the Point of Care provider will likely prescribe some antiviral. Ask you to drink plenty of fluids, Remain home, Rest and do some light activity. It has been shown that light cardiovascular activity can reduce the risk of pneumonia and decrease time of symptoms of cold and flu.
You will likely also be asked to make sure you are following proper hygiene. This means frequent hand washing. Handwashing should be done for at least 20 seconds and cover all surfaces of the hand including under the fingernails. It should be done before and after each meal. Any time hands come into contact with the face. Always after using the restroom.
Testing for SARS-COV2 can be done in 3 ways, but one way is more effective.
First test is the Antigen test.
It is the most common test currently used in the United States. It is very similar to the Flu test in that it is a nasopharyngeal swab. Results come in a few hours to a day. The test is given at Point of Care facilities and Providers. These include Urgent Cares, Primary Care Doctors, Pediatricians and most Emergency Rooms. The test is done because it is the least expensive, Results come quickly and it is then easy to report. However, the test is not as specific to SARS-COV2 according to the FDA.Gov website. A positive test is likely positive for cold, flu, or COVID-19 and should be followed up.
Second is the Molecular PCR test.
This test is both highly sensitive and specific. It can take up to 1 week to get results. The test is also a Nasopharyngeal swab, but includes saliva testing as well. If you have a positive test at a Point of Care facility, you should ask for it to be followed up with a molecular test before it is reported to the county health department to rull in COVID-19 versus traditional Flu.
Third is the Antibody test.
While antibody testing is not recommended to actually diagnose an active case of the SARS-COV2 virus, it can catch the presence of it if you have had mild symptoms for approximately 2 weeks. According to the FDA.Gov website, best testing for actually accounting for positive cases would be a combination of the molecular PCR test and the Antibody Test.
What Do I Do Now?
If you feel like you have Flu or Cold Like symptoms, call your primary care provider in the first 48 hours to get a FLU TEST. If it is positive, you can be given antivirals right away and begin recovery. If it is negative, then you can ask for and insist on the Molecular PCR test.
Stay Home!! Recover away from family, including spouse or partner. Most cases of cold and flu take 7-10 days. Non-hospitalized SARS-COV2 are averaging 3-4 weeks.
Clean up after yourself! Wash hands thoroughly. Wipe down surfaces that you touch with gloved hands after washing them using a disinfectant wipe.
Try and do 20 minutes of walking daily.
Drink Plenty of Fluids.
If you are going to miss work in your recovery, ask your employer about their short term disability policy through the Human Resources Department. There are likely a specific number of days in a row that you need to be absent prior to qualifying. If you come back at day four and go back out at day 6, the process starts over. You want to be mostly symptoms free for 2-3 days before returning to work.
Do Your Research! From websites that are giving facts, not social media.
Stay healthy out there!!
Please be sure to FACT Check all information that you see.
Most information for this blog was taken from the CDC WebSite.