COVID-19: Prevention Tips for Orange County Patients & Residents
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has already become a major health concern for most countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency and pandemic due to its widespread nature, severity, and unavailability of vaccination.
The Orange County Healthcare Agency revealed that 125 COVID-19 cases were reported in Orange County as of March 23, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also revealed that 33,404 cases were reported in the US as of March 23.
You may be worried about the epidemic situation, as the virus is airborne. However, being informed about the disease and the current situation and preparedness to fight coronavirus are the best ways to stay safe and healthy.
Below are answers to the questions or concerns you may have about the coronavirus.
I have a routine medical appointment set up with my doctor. Should I go or have it rescheduled?
Now, CDC recommends healthcare and urgent care centers to restrict patient visits to emergency or urgent care and consider postponing non-emergency procedures until a patient is not infected with airborne diseases. If you are healthy and have no symptoms or have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, you can currently visit your doctor for your scheduled appointment.
Also, you should not ignore your urgent medical conditions just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If conditions including fractures, scrapes and bruises, cuts, sprains, sore throat, fever, flu, and cough are not treated on time, they become worse and can significantly impact your health. You can visit your family care center if your condition requires immediate healthcare assistance.
We are currently also offering a video appointment facility to our existing patients at our primary care locations and also to the urgent care and new patients. If you’re an existing patient at one of our primary care locations or a new patient looking for online urgent care services, you can call us at your nearest FCCMG primary or urgent care clinic to schedule your video appointment. Learn more about our telehealth services, how it works, and what are the benefits.
The healthcare and family care centers follow CDC guidelines to control infection and prevent the spread of the virus. Without being worried about the situation, you can go to your healthcare center for scheduled or emergency appointments.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People may experience cold or flu-like symptoms 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the COVID-19. However, the symptoms vary from one person to another depending on their severity of infection, and can include:
- Fever with mild to severe respiratory illness
- Difficulty breathing
Older people or people with medical conditions such as heart disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), or asthma have an increased risk of infection.
I’m experiencing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19. What should I do?
It is also a time for seasonal allergies. As plants, weeds, grasses, and trees release pollen, people with hay fever start experiencing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing, and watery eyes. These symptoms are consistent with the flu, common cold, seasonal allergies, and the COVID-19, so it can be difficult to determine whether you are infected with COVID-19 or other diseases like flu.
You do not have to panic about your symptoms; instead, you should cross-check your health and travel history. You should contact one of our urgent or primary care centers in OC for further advice or instructions if:
- You or any family member or someone you have been in close contact with has recently traveled to Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Seattle or New York City.
- You had close contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks.
- You have a cough, fever, difficulty breathing, or severe respiratory problems.
People who experience mild symptoms are recommended to follow social distancing and stay at home during their illness, as they can recover on their own just as they recover from the common cold.
However, if you experience severe symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.
If you need healthcare assistance, you should contact your family care center to check on your appointment so that they can be prepared to treat you and protect other visitors, patients, and staff.
I have pets in my house. Can they get infected from COVID-19 and spread it to my family members?
As of now, there is no evidence that pets, including dogs and cats, can spread or be infected with the COVID-19. However, it is recommended to follow good hygiene and healthy habits such as washing hands after contact with pets and not kissing and sharing foods.
You should avoid contact with pets and other animals if you are infected with COVID-19. This will help the virus from transmitting to their coat or skin. If your pet has been exposed to COVID-19 from you, they won’t get infected or spread the virus, but anyone who touches your pet can get infected.
Physical and mental exercises are important for pets to stay healthy and happy, so take your pets for a walk in the area that is safe to venture outside and not crowded. Pet owners should carry hand sanitizers while walking their pets outside and wash hands before and after each walk.
Are children immune to COVID-19?
Children are not immune to COVID-19, and there are children diagnosed with COVID-19. In China, several hundred children, including newborns, were diagnosed with COVID-19. However, children have experienced milder symptoms than adults, and children with existing medical conditions have an increased risk of infection.
What can I do to keep me, my family, and my community safe?
Follow these coronavirus tips to prevent the transmission of infection and keep your family and community safe:
- Wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it safely.
- Do not touch your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with infected people or people who are sick.
- Keep the frequently touched surfaces and objects clean and disinfected.
- Avoid traveling unless or otherwise for emergencies and wear a face mask when going out.
- Stay up-to-date about the latest information and situation of the disease.
To answer questions about COVID-19, Orange County Public Health has also created a Health Referral Line for the public. Call (800) 564-8448 for more information about COVID-19.
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