WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS AND COVID-19?
There are many coronaviruses including ones that cause the common cold. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called a “novel” coronavirus because it’s a completely new coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name of the disease that it causes. The CO stands for corona, the VI for virus and the D for disease. 19 refers to the year it was discovered (2019). It has also gone by other names including 2019n-CoV.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE COVID-19?
There are some common symptoms of COVID-19 but some people may be a carrier of the virus, yet be asymptomatic. Additionally, new symptoms have surfaced as the age of this virus progresses. Since this virus can cause serious illness and sometimes lead to death, especially for those who are immunocompromised, it is important to take precautions if you think you may have COVID-19 or have possibly been exposed to the virus.
Common symptoms are cough, shortness of breath, sudden loss of taste or smell, body aches and fatigue, sore throat, fever and sinus congestion or runny nose. You may have one, many or none of the symptoms and your symptoms may progress or change daily. Intensity of symptoms varies from person to person, can end in complications and recovery time can be much longer than your typical cold or flu. Sometimes there is a pattern of feeling better then taking a turn for the worse.
Since many of the COVID-19 symptoms are similar to flu, cold and even allergy symptoms, it’s important to be tested so you can take the appropriate actions to protect your loved ones and others that you interact with as well as making sure you get proper care and treatment. It’s also important to self-quarantine as soon as you suspect you may have COVID-19 or if you know you have been exposed.
RAPID COVID-19 TESTING IS AVAILABLE AT URGENT CARE 24/7
It’s now quicker and easier than ever to find out if you have the novel Coronavirus with RAPID COVID-19 Testing at all Urgent Care 24/7 locations. The test is available every day of the week and results are given in as fast as 15 minutes. We screen all of our patients before entering the clinic and potential COVID-19 cases are treated and tested in a separate, outdoor or car side area for the safety of our patients and staff.
If you aren’t feeling well and have symptoms, you can also see a Provider for evaluation and treatment of your symptoms. There are treatments and medications that can help with discomfort as well as assist with recovery. No appointment is necessary, but are available for your convenience.
WHAT IF I THINK I ALREADY HAD COVID-19? CAN I TAKE AN ANTIBODY TEST?
We offer an Antibody test for COVID-19. This is a blood test that will show if your body has built up antibodies to the virus. Many people think they had COVID-19 in early 2020 but are not showing positive for the antibodies. While antibodies can fade over time, it’s important to remember that it was cold and flu season right before the pandemic reached the United States and there can be very severe cases of the flu. During the flu epidemic of 2018, many people took weeks to recover and had coughs that lasted for months, which sounds similar to some COVID-19 cases so don’t assume that you are “safe” from COVID-19. If your test does show that you have antibodies, there is not enough information to know if that will provide immunity in the future or if it would simply help your body fight it better. The latter is more likely since it is a virus and will likely morph just as the flu virus does every year. It’s also still unknown if you could still catch it again and be a carrier. It’s important to still take precautionary measures to avoid contamination and spreading the virus.
HOW CAN I STAY HEALTHY?
It’s important to protect yourself and others both in the prevention and transmission of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. While there is no absolute way to completely protect yourself, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. Washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available, “Social Distancing” at distances of six feet, and wearing masks to prevent droplets from spreading and infecting others are simple precautions to take. There are a variety of masks to choose from now and each provides different levels of protection for the wearer as well.
HOW IS COVID-19 DIFFERENT?
There is growing evidence that COVID-19 can cause long term damage to some organs. This is definitely concerning and another reason to take steps to protect yourself and others from contracting the virus.
COVID-19 also can lead to pneumonia in some people. The pathophysiology in this virus has a coat (or a corona) of proteins that interact with an enzyme called Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2, or ACE2 in humans. When the virus enters specific cells containing ACE2, it injects its RNA and hijacks the cell, and uses the cell to create more viruses. These cells that contain ACE2 include the lung, the stomach, intestines, kidneys, the heart2. As these cells are hijacked and are turned away from their normal function by the viruses, they burst and die, causing a release in inflammatory markers. This cellular death causes the disease, and results in an inflammation reaction and in some additional disease. This explains, for a large part, for the problems in the lungs, especially in an elderly person whose immune response may not be adequate.
In summary, the preferred way to prevent infection and spread of COVID-19 are simple practices like washing hands, staying home when sick and avoiding those who are sick. Avoid touching face, eyes and mouth. Always cover one’s mouth when coughing, preferably into one’s sleeve. Wearing a mask, social distancing and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs will also decrease transmission.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT URGENT CARE 24/7?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you can visit any one of our clinics for testing and treatment. We have Urgent Care 24/7 locations nationwide. Appointments are not required but are available for your convenience. We are open every day of the year, including holidays.
Urgent Care 24/7 has always been a leader in the community for lower-cost care and the ability to treat at all times of the day. There are options to treat symptoms including breathing treatments, fluids and antivirals/antibiotics as may be indicated. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, self-quarantining, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting plenty of rest will be important.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A FEVER?
Many people with COVID-19 do not have a fever, so it’s important not to dismiss the possibility of illness if you don’t have a fever. Seek help if you’re not feeling well and get tested if there is a possibility you have COVID-19. We are always happy to help. We are genuinely interested in the health and welfare of our communities!
Stay up to date on COVID-19 by following World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC). If you want an in-depth understanding of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), this is a good video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7F1cnWup9M&t=9s.