Summer During The Pandemic: Q & A

While we hoped warmer weather would put an end to coronavirus concerns, the risk of respiratory disease continues into the summer season. Studies show that temperatures have very little impact on COVID-19 transmission. This means we all need to continue practicing prevention measures. What will this look like at the park, pool, beach, and beyond? Below, we answer some common questions regarding summer during the pandemic.

summer during the pandemic guidelines - yellow pool deck and water

Is it safe to swim during COVID?

According to experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through water. Chlorine and bromine–the disinfectants used to clean pools, hot tubs, spas, and water play areas– should successfully kill the virus.

The potential for COVID-19 to spread at pools, lakes and beaches is related to the crowds attracted to these places. Close contact with other people, whether on land or in water, is still of concern. If you and your family go for a swim, make sure to maintain social distancing and wear facial coverings when not in the water. And as always, follow the guidance of your local public health authorities and facilities.

Do I need to wear a mask while outdoors?

When assessing the need for a mask, you should always follow local rules and regulations, and also consider your proximity to others. Check ahead of time to see if your destination has rules around face coverings. In situations where keeping a 6 foot distance may not be possible, wearing your mask adds a layer of protection. In addition, try to go at off-peak times to reduce your exposure to others.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I’m riding a bike?

If you’re biking on a less populated path or trail, a face covering likely isn’t necessary. But if you’re in a city where there are lots of people using the same bike lanes, wearing a mask helps keep your fellow cyclists safe. Always maintain a safe distance from others and don’t follow behind other riders too closely. If you plan on going into a store or spending time with others during or after the ride, you’ll need a mask for those times as well.

Can I take my child to the playground?

Current CDC guidelines recommend against the use of playgrounds. It’s hard for children to maintain physical distance while on the jungle gym, and the equipment itself could be infected. If children or adults touch those surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can be exposed to COVID-19.

Are backyard barbecues OK?

Small outdoor gatherings are a great way to stay social this summer. Still maintain physical distance and try to keep numbers down (think less than 10 people). You can further reduce the risk of transmission by having everyone bring their own food, plates, and utensils.

We hope this Q & A serves as a helpful guide for a healthy and safe summer during the pandemic!

Our medical team is here to care for you through COVID-19. Get expert treatment and advice at our local clinic today.

Stay Safe Outdoors During COVID-19

picnic blanket - stay safe outdoors during covid-19As we head into summer, still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that this season will be without its typical concerts, movies, sporting events, and vacations. But all is not lost. We can still enjoy the simple pleasure of heading outside for some sunshine.

Spending time outdoors provides a myriad of benefits, including sun exposure for Vitamin D production, mindfulness and a connection to nature, and a great opportunity for exercise.

Fortunately, the weather is warming up and it’s easy to get outside right now. However, with ongoing coronavirus concerns, and seasonal allergies in full effect, it’s important to take some precautions when doing so.

How to Limit Germs and Allergens Outdoors

  1. Choose a safe outdoor environment. To help limit coronavirus transmission, carefully consider your outdoor setting. You’ll want to choose an open air space close to home. Think parks, trails, recreation areas, or your own backyard. The key is to avoid crowds and to stay at least six feet from others at all times.
  2. Be smart about activities. For the time being, it’s best to avoid “high-touch surfaces”, such as playgrounds and sports equipment. These surfaces are difficult to clean and disinfect, and may be contaminated. Organized sports are also currently off-limits, since we should not be gathering with others from outside the home. Instead, choose nature walks, hikes, runs, or bike rides through the neighborhood.
  3. Practice good hygiene. Be sure that the whole family washes their hands immediately after coming inside from playing outdoors. Use soap and warm water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you have children, try singing the ABCs during hand washing and compliment them for doing a really good job. Hand washing is essential in the fight against coronavirus. To limit seasonal allergy symptoms, shower or bathe before heading to bed. This can help wash away any residual pollen or mold from outside. You can also prevent tracking allergens into the home by taking shoes off upon entering. The goal is to limit exposure to allergens as much as possible.

We understand that it can be a challenging time. We hope these tips help you feel more comfortable heading outside for some much needed stress relief. And if you or a loved one is suffering from seasonal allergies, know that we are here for you. Our friendly providers are available 7 days a week. We can evaluate your symptoms and provide expert treatment and advice.

Stay safe outdoors during the pandemic. We’re here when you need care.

Seasonal Allergies Amid a Pandemic

spring flowers causing allergies

As the coronavirus spreads through the US, it can be a scary time to feel sick. Waking up with even a slight scratch in your throat might make you question your condition. But with spring flowers and plants beginning to bloom, remember not to rule out the simple explanation of seasonal allergies. Below, we offer some guidance on how to assess your symptoms, and ways to distinguish seasonal allergies from coronavirus.

Consider your personal history of seasonal allergies.

Do you experience allergy symptoms every year? What do they feel like? If you’re suffering those same, familiar symptoms, there’s likely no reason to worry. After a warm winter, spring allergies have arrived a bit early and might be sending you into that sneezing fit.

Seasonal allergies are sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis. They occur when our body’s immune system mistakes a harmless, everyday substance –such as pollen or mold-spores–as a danger. As part of its immune response, the body releases histamines to fight off the perceived threat. This histamine reaction leads to symptoms of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.

You can successfully treat allergies with over-the-counter medications called antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin). These medications block the body’s histamine-producing response and help to reduce symptoms. In general, allergy medications are very effective, but they will not make an impact if your symptoms are due to a viral illness such as flu or COVID-19. Keep this in mind, and consult a medical professional if your condition does not improve with traditional treatment.

Know the Symptoms.

As WHO outlines, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Since fevers are not generally associated with seasonal allergies, this symptom is a good indicator that something else is going on. Call our clinic if you or a loved one is concerned about a fever. We can help determine the best course of action.

Another way to differentiate seasonal allergies from the novel coronavirus is the severity of your fatigue. While allergy symptoms can certainly leave you feeling a bit rundown, the fatigue seen in individuals infected by COVID-19 is much more extreme.

We are here for you during this uncertain time.

We hope this information provides you with a helpful starting point to assess your symptoms and eases anxieties surrounding spring allergies and coronavirus. Pay attention to changes in your health and call us when you need care.

What to do if your child has sustained a concussion

kids playing football at risk of concussion

A concussion can happen at any age, and as a parent, it’s important for you to know the signs and symptoms. A child might suffer a concussion during a simple fall, a sports activity, or a car accident. Any direct blow to the head, face, or neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force that jars the head can cause this type of brain injury.

If your child has sustained a concussion, they might exhibit behavior changes and specific signs, such as:

  • dizziness
  • balance problems
  • double or blurry vision
  • sensitivity to light and noise
  • looking like they’re daydreaming
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble remembering
  • confused or forgetful about recent events
  • slow to answer questions
  • mood changes — irritable, sad, emotional, nervous
  • drowsiness
  • difficulty sleeping or change in sleep patterns

Concussions temporarily affect brain function and require time to heal. It’s important for a child to rest from school, activities, and sports until symptoms subside. Another blow to the head while the initial concussion is healing can result in permanent brain damage. Adhere to the saying, “when in doubt, sit it out” to prevent repeated concussions.

When to see a doctor:

Always err on the safe side in regards to a brain injury! It’s a good idea to get a bump on the head checked out.

As long as your little one did not experience a loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting as a result of head injury, our urgent care center is a good place to seek care. We can perform quick diagnostics and determine the appropriate level of care.

Walk into our clinic today! We offer fast, affordable treatment for concussions.

When to seek emergency treatment:

Call 911 or head straight to the emergency room for any head injury associated with a loss of consciousness, seizures, neck pain, vomiting or numbness, prolonged confusion or amnesia, or weakness in arms or legs.

What is the Kissing Disease?

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s a good time to discuss infectious mononucleosis, often called “mono” or “the kissing disease.”

young couple about to kiss - kissing disease mono

This contagious disease is usually caused by the Epstein-barr virus. It is spread through saliva which means you can get it through kissing, hence the nickname. You can also be exposed to the virus through a cough or sneeze, or by sharing drinks, food, or personal items with someone who has mono.

Infectious mononucleosis is most prevalent in teens, young adults, and college students. Most older adults have been exposed to the Epstein-barr virus at some point in their life and have built up the necessary antibodies to be immune.

Symptoms of mono develop slowly, appearing about 4 to 8 weeks after you’re infected. Mono is difficult to differentiate from other common viruses such as the flu.

Symptoms include:

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • head and body aches
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
  • swollen liver or spleen or both
  • rash

If you or your child are experiencing any of the above symptoms for longer than a week, head into our clinic. Symptoms may not occur all at the same time.

Our medical team will perform a physical exam, review your symptoms, and look for signs such as swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, liver or spleen. A provider can typically diagnose infectious mononucleosis based on symptoms, but if additional confirmation is needed, he or she may request blood tests, such as antibody tests or white blood cell count.

If your symptoms are indeed due to Mono, we can outline an appropriate treatment plan to help you feel better sooner. Most cases of mono are mild and will resolve on their own within 1-2 months. Drinking fluids to stay hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever can help ease symptoms.

Walk into our clinic today for fast, affordable mono treatment and advice.