As everything from your social media feed to your local news channel weighs in on the COVID-19, or coronavirus, it can be difficult to separate the facts from fiction. In a special after-show Emergency Physician Nancy Pook, MD, part of our COVID-19 Preparedness answered your questions on WHIO AM 1290 Radio.
If I begin to exhibit symptoms, do I go to the doctor or the hospital?
You should call your primary care physician first if you’re exhibiting any sort of respiratory complaints, and they may direct you to the hospital, but it does depend on the severity of your illness.
What, other than washing my hands, can I do to protect myself?
We do have concerns about people who are in the service industry, and you’re constantly touching money or dealing with people. It’s important to, and as much as possible, take breaks and wash your hands. Make sure your hands aren’t traveling to your face. And certainly, if you are sick, please don’t go to work, and try to be aware of those who are around you as well.
Are medical masks effective?
Well, first of all, medical masks aren’t as easy to wear as it might look for a long period of time. Also, they don’t protect from all leakage of air and fluid around the mask itself. It’s not a bad thing to use as a barrier if you can get them. The biggest issue is supply, and so we feel like, if you’re not sick, you probably don’t need a mask.
How is coronavirus treated?
The basic treatment is supportive—that means making sure someone is breathing appropriately, that they have enough fluids, they’re not getting dehydrated, that the fever is treated, etc. But there is no specific FDA-approved treatment today. While there is some investigational drug use, that is not widespread.
Is it a risk to travel outside of Ohio to a state that has more cases?
I think you need to look at where these isolated places are. If you look at all of New York state, that’s not going to be the case, but if you look at New Rochelle where they have this cluster, that’s what you’re going to really want to pay attention to. Those environments have been really locked down, and people are staying in the home. I believe that most of the travel in and out is really being restricted. As things evolve, this information will change, but understanding where you’re going and where people are coming from—I think that’s the key.