Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Dr Wells and the team at Ballard Natural Medicine is closely monitoring information and updates associated with the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  There have been several new cases in Washington including King County and there will likely be more identified in the upcoming weeks. King County Public Health is working around the clock to identify at-risk patients in our community and minimize spread of the illness. We are following the recommendations of King County Public Health and the CDC regarding testing and management in our clinic.

We are confident that we can keep our community healthy and are taking steps to prepare our clinic. We appreciate your participation with the following:

  • If you need care for cold or flu symptoms, please let us know before you come to the clinic. We will be screening for travel history and contacts. If you do need to be seen in the clinic we will try to get you into a room quickly.

  • We expect that our call volume is going to increase in the upcoming weeks. If you are not able to get through to the front desk please leave a message. We check messages and return phone calls regularly.

  • Consider a telehealth/video visit with your physician at Ballard Natural Medicine. We are expanding our telehealth offerings to care for you in your own home when needed.

  • We’ve got masks and hand sanitizer at the front desk.  Please wear a mask if you are sick with respiratory symptoms.  The masks we have in the waiting area do not protect healthy people from getting sick, they help keep sick people from spreading respiratory droplets to others if they cough or sneeze.  Please do not use one if you are not sick.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

It is most important to remember that the vast majority (80%) of people infected with Coronavirus will have a mild illness with symptoms of fever and cough similar to a cold or the flu. Some people will get more serious illness with pneumonia and require hospitalization. The fatality rate is currently around 2%. Most severe cases occur in older adults or people with underlying medical conditions. Thus far the illness has typically been mild in children.

TESTING

Until this past week all testing was sent in to the CDC. We now have local testing through the state public health lab in Shoreline, which will expedite diagnosis. We are not able to test for Coronavirus in our office. If we are suspicious that one of our patients may have Coronavirus we will work with the health department for testing.

The majority of people with cold or flu like symptoms do NOT require testing.

Here are current testing guidelines from CDC:

Clinical Features and Epidemiologic Risk (link)

cdc-eval.png

Geographic Areas with Sustained Transmission (Community or Widespread)
Last updated February 28, 2020

PREVENTION

This is the absolute best way to protect yourself and your family from infections including Coronavirus:

  • Please, please, please: stay home when you’re sick. Unless you require urgent medical attention stay home, take your immune support and rest.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or a tissue.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Soap and water is most effective, but if they aren’t available use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
    https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you’ve just washed your hands.

  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, fresh air and daily exercise, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

  • If you haven’t had a flu shot, consider getting one now.  It doesn’t protect against coronavirus but the symptoms are very similar, leading to diagnostic complexity, community anxiety and possibly exposure to coronavirus if you do have to be treated for flu complications

  • Consider adding every day immune boosters such as Probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc

New information is emerging every day. Here are some additional resources to follow Coronavirus:

King County Public Health:
https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus.aspx

CDC:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
https://naturopathic.org/news/487133/Naturopathic-Recommendations-Regarding-the-2019-Novel-Coronavirus-2019-nCoV.htm