Corona virus has now (3/8/2020) been detected in 4 patients in Pennsylvania. The patients in Wayne and Delaware County had either traveled to a high risk country or been exposed to a confirmed case outside Pennsylvania. I do not know details about the 2 cases listed since Friday. There is no evidence yet of community spread in Pennsylvania but it is likely to occur.
At this point, let me uge everyone who has not had appropriate immunization for influenza (6 months and older)since August 2019 or Pneumovax 23 (once at 65 or once before 65 for people with significant neurological, lung, cardiac, liver, kidney, cancer, immunologic, or rheumatologic conditions) to call us quickly at 610-667-0650 to get these vaccines. These vaccines are made from killed viruses and cannot make you sick. Getting those infections can weaken you and make you more susceptible to complications from Corona virus. Also, the health care system is likely to be busy enough dealing with Corona virus to have to deal with easily preventable diseases.
Information from China about hospitalized patients showed that the most common symptoms were fever (99%), fatigue (70%) and dry cough (60%). Patients who needed to be admitted were more likely to have become short of breath by day 5 of symptoms and were admitted by day 7. The patients most likely to require ICU care were older (median age 66), have underlying illnesses (72%), shortness of breath (64%) and loss of appetite (67%). I have not seen any studies of non-hospitalized patients in China but have heard that children have been relatively spared from serious effects.
What to Do:
- Get your flu and pneumonia shots if warranted and you haven't yet done so.
- Buy an electronis oral (not ear or forehead, which are less accurate) thermometer.
- If you have a fever, stay home. Record your temperatures and call us.
- When you call, tell us your fever, other symptoms, and any risks or exposures.
- If you are on an immunocompromising medicine for a somewhat elective reason, such as a skin conditon, talk to the physician who prescribed it about whether you could defer taking the medicine until corona virus is no longer a threat.
- If possible, maintain a 6 foot perimeter from other people.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. See https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/
- Wash your hands when you are leaving a location and as soon as you arrive home. At home, after you wash your hands, wash your face. Keep your eyes and mouth closed.
- Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you have washed your hands thoroughly or used a tissue surface that you haven't touched.
- Don't touch the "business" end of silverware that you use. Only touch the handles.
- If you have a fever, stay home and keep your distance (at least 6 feet) from family members if possible. Wash off door and bathroom fixture handles and other places you touch with peroxide or antiseptic wipes. Avoid preparing food if possible.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or sleeve and then wash your hands.
- Wear a mask. Make sure the metal strip is squeezed firmly over the bridge of your nose.