IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY, PLEASE RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT FOR A MONTH. THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION!
Coronavirus disease 19, also known as COVID-19 or simply coronavirus, has reached the United States in a flurry of fear, panic and information from a wide variety of sources. To combat the spread of misinformation and to empower our patients with accurate knowledge, the physicians at Allegheny Ophthalmology Associates have consolidated some of our most frequently-asked questions into one convenient fact sheet.
Below, you will also find a list of resources you can continue to trust through the duration of the pandemic, along with our contact information and testing procedures. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any further questions you may have regarding COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease 19, or COVID-19, is a respiratory virus that spreads from person to person. People in close proximity (within about six feet) can pass the virus by coughing or sneezing, during which the uninfected person comes in contact with infected respiratory droplets. COVID-19 may also spread through contact with infected surfaces.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are similar to symptoms of the flu. Along with mild to severe respiratory illness, the three telltale signs include:
As a virus, COVID-19 cannot be treated with antibiotics.
COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the term “pandemic” simply refers to a disease which has spread quickly and simultaneously over a large portion of the globe. The term carries no implications about the severity or curability of the condition.
There is currently no vaccine that protects against COVID-19. However, efforts are being made across the scientific community to produce one.
You and your family’s best defense against COVID-19 is intensive hygiene, particularly hand-washing at every opportunity. It is essential to practice proper hand-washing techniques to fully protect yourself against germs.
While hand-washing with soap and water is the most effective method of killing germs, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol will significantly reduce the amount of germs you carry. Please note: hand sanitizer is not a sufficient replacement for soap and water, and you should always completely wash your hands when possible.
You can also protect yourself by cleaning and disinfecting your environment, as contact with infected surfaces may also spread COVID-19. Be a good citizen by treating public spaces and amenities as you would your home - use disinfectant wipes at your desk, keep surfaces clean, and sanitize your hands whenever you can.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease.” If you have recently traveled out of the country to a location currently reporting infections, or if you have come into contact with someone who has since tested positive for COVID-19, you may be asked to complete a quarantine.
Important note: The only group of people who are “at a higher risk” of contracting COVID-19 are those who have been exposed, regardless of race or nationality.
The quarantine period for coronavirus is 14 days, which is the longest observed incubation period for the disease. Once a person has completed a 14-day quarantine or been released from isolation, they are no longer at risk of infecting others.
Unfortunately, not everything you see and hear about COVID-19 is verified fact. Here is a short list of some commonly-circulated, false statements about the virus which have been debunked by the WHO:
When it comes to a global pandemic, misinformation can be dangerous. For a list of verified resources, please scroll to the bottom of this page.
At Allegheny Ophthalmology Associates, we want to educate our patients responsibly about coronavirus and prevent the spread of misinformation. Here is our list of verified resources patients can trust to provide accurate information about COVID-19.
How to prepare for a quarantine: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-prepare-for-a-coronavirus-quarantine-what-to-stock-up-on/
Information on containment zones: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/03/first-us-covid-19-containment-zone-ny-51-more-cases-massachusetts
How to practice “social distancing:” http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/php/185/185_factsheet_social_distancing.pdf
How to cope with social stigma: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/related-stigma.html
Full coronavirus situation summary: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
Quick COVID-19 fact sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf
COVID-19 FAQ: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
Up-to-date news releases: https://www.who.int/news-room/releases