COVID-19 Update

T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

PREVENTION Beyond social distancing and hygiene, are there preventative steps that we can take? For example, are there vitamins or supplements that might be effective to keep us from getting sick? “I think a lot of times we overlook what we should be doing on a daily basis, and that is: making sure we are getting the appropriate amount of sleep and rest, which is very, very important; making sure we get the appropriate amount of exercise; and having a good stable diet that includes all food groups. Water is also our friend, so we need to make sure we are hydrating. Then, some extra vitamins and some over-the-counter medicines may be appropriate, such as vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D. Just remember, that’s all in moderation, because your body will eventually get rid of what you don’t need. So, we’re just trying to optimize what our body needs to make sure that we can fight off any infection, be it any virus or bacteria that we may come across.”

TESTING If a person has COVID-19 consistent symptoms, how important is it to have the diagnosis confirmed by testing? Is it safe to assume a positive diagnosis and simply begin self-isolation and symptom treatment at home? “Really, if you’ve been exposed to a known positive case for greater than ten minutes, the treatment is quarantine. You can get tested many times, but the treatment is still quarantine for 14 days, because what we do know is that it might take up to 14 days for you to start showing symptoms and being able to spread the virus yourself. Just getting a negative test result in the first few days after exposure does not mean you are negative. There are some specialists that even say you may show symptoms or spread the disease much further out than 14 days, but if you are exposed, 14 days is what current literature and current medical practice is going by from the CDC guidelines. If

you do show symptoms, absolutely get tested to make sure, and then you need to isolate. That means basically being by yourself and not even around family members. You want to make sure you are protecting them from yourself, if you actually get the disease.”

What’s the truth about wearing masks? How effective are they at prevention? “Well, masks help us protect each other. The person who wears the mask is actually protecting their germs from getting to other people, in the sense that if you sneeze or you cough inside your mask, at least it’s not free flowing out into

Are tests still readily available?

“Many of the nasal swabs, which they call

the community. If the other person you come close to also has a mask on, that adds prevention of anything that might slip through your mask, getting into their respiratory system or their mouth. The majority of the time the mucous membranes, your eyes, your nose or your mouth, are where this disease gets into our system, so masks do help. Nothing is 100% effective and what we say today may change tomorrow, but we do currently feel that using the mask both protects us and those around us.” Do you recommend a certain type of mask? “I recommend most of the ones that are FDA approved. Again, not all of them are going to be 100% effective at preventing every illness. Some of these viruses and bacteria, and other types of illnesses that we may come across, are so minute that they aren’t going to catch everything. They will catch most of what we need them to, though.”

the PCR test, are still long in coming back with results. The standard of care that both the Arkansas and Texas Departments of Health currently consider the gold standard are the PCR nasal swabs, so it’s taking anywhere from two to ten days to get those back because labs are stressed.” Are test results reliable? “Test results need to be considered with the exposure of the patient. The gold standard currently is the Nasal Swab PCR send out test that is taking anywhere from 2-10 days depending on the labs’ volumes. The rapid tests are not 100% so each of these tests also need to be considered with patient exposure. If you have been within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes of a positive patient quarantine is the key even if you are not having symptoms. It is recommended to quarantine for 14 days.

If symptoms occur during that quarantine time it is absolutely necessary to see your provider to be evaluated.”

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