Integrative Health Matters Updated Response to Coronavirus, 3-16-2020
Our physicians are diligently monitoring local and worldwide situations and learning from what has happened in other countries.
At this point, your number one best defense is social distancing. Here are our specific tips based on our review of worldwide news and health authorities’ recommendations. How this will affect care at IHM follows.
Who? Everyone who is feeling well and has no known exposures but lives in an area with confirmed community transmission.
At this time, the United States does have confirmed cases of community transmission (vs. imported only). East Texas has had 5 confirmed cases, and it is not known whether there has been community transmission. Because we do not yet know if there is community transmission in East Texas, we strongly recommend that EVERYONE who is feeling WELL and has no known exposures follow social distancing beginning immediately and until further notice. This is what that looks like:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Aim for no-contact deliveries whenever possible. Many restaurants have voluntarily shifted to “to-go” only status. Choose this whenever possible.
- Purchase as many groceries as you need for a week. Hoarding is not recommended, and to our knowledge, there have been no food shortages reported worldwide. When you must go to the grocery store:
- Maintain a space of at least 6 feet from other customers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible before and after your visit.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently.
- Bring your own sanitary wipes and use these on shopping carts and other shared equipment prior to touching them.
- Conduct as much business as possible over the telephone or Internet.
- Eliminate all unnecessary human-to-human contact, such as handshakes.
- Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.
Quarantine separates people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
Who? Everyone with potential exposures who is feeling well
Everyone who has had potential exposure should self-quarantine for 14 days. This includes people who:
- Have had contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19
- Live in a community with confirmed sustained community transmission of COVID-19.
- Have traveled within the last 14 days to any location either domestically or internationally with confirmed sustained community transmission of COVID-19
- Self-monitor. Check your temperature twice a day. If you develop a fever above 99.5 degrees, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, you need to self-isolate See below for further guidance on self-isolation. If you are having a hard time breathing, seek emergency care. If you are mildly symptomatic, please schedule a telemedicine visit with your health care provider.
- Practice social distancing as above.
Isolation is separating sick people from those who are not sick. It can be done in the hospital, or, for those who are well enough, at home (self-isolation).
Who? Everyone who has mild cold/flu symptoms or fever and has the ability to self-isolate
Who can self-isolate? People who have:
- Mild symptoms (if symptoms are severe, isolate and seek emergency care)
- Caregivers available at home if needed
- A separate bedroom where they can recover without sharing immediate space with others
- Resources for access to food and other necessities
- Access to appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves and facemask
- The ability to adhere to cough etiquette, respiratory hygiene, handwashing, and other precautions
- No household members at risk of COVID-19 infection complications. This includes:
- People age 65+
- Pregnant women
- Immunocompromised individuals
- Chronic underlying conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney conditions
- NO human contact with ANYONE, including family
- Work from home if possible
- Have food and groceries delivered to you if possible, either from a service or from friends/family who can leave food at the door
- Use a private bathroom if possible
- Use disposable food ware if possible. Throw it away in a trash can in your isolation room.
Do not discontinue self-isolation until you have been tested and cleared.
Testing for Coronavirus
- We do not have the ability to test for coronavirus at IHM.
- If you have symptoms, please call the Texas Department of State Health Services at 800-705-8868 or your nearest emergency care center for the latest updates on where testing is being performed.
Seek Emergency Care IF
- You are having trouble breathing.
- You have symptoms but do not have the ability to self-isolate as described above.
If safe to do so, CALL the emergency department prior to visiting.
How Long Will This Continue?
The CDC has recommended no gatherings of 50 or more for at least 8 weeks. We do not have data yet from other countries about what to do after the pandemic slows down. Until we know more, plan to maintain the principles outlined above.
Of course, it follows that maintaining your health is the second best protection step you have at this point. Continue eating whole foods, exercising, enjoying nature, managing stress, and taking supplements. This is a challenging time for us all. Please remember to do your best to live your best life under the situation we face!
Here is how the above applies to IHM:
Although it’s been a difficult decision, we feel it is in the best interest of every one of our patients to suspend all in-person services until further notice. We are instituting 100% telemedicine as quickly as possible. Our office will be open today and tomorrow (Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17) from 8-12 only for patients who have appointments for in-person procedures such as lab draws. We will be calling all patients who have procedures scheduled later in the week to reschedule.
- Effective immediately, we will only allow patients into our office who have previously scheduled appointments for services that require an in-person visit.
- All patients who arrive will have their temperature checked. If you have a temperature above 99.5, we cannot allow you to enter the building.
- If you have fever, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, you must stay home or seek emergency care. We cannot allow you to enter the building.
- All in-person purchases will be made without entry into the building. If you need supplements, please call us in advance so we can prepare them, and when you arrive, we will deliver them to your car.
- At this time, we do not know when we will be able to safely reopen for procedures. Please call us and we will do our absolute best to work with you during this time.
- We will be performing 100% telemedicine services only beginning on Wednesday, March 18, until further notice. We will be open for phone calls during regular business hours. If you have an urgent need, please call or go to your nearest ER.
It is our strongest desire to continue to serve you as much as we are able while minimizing the risks to you, our staff, and our society. Please call us and let us know what you need, and we will do our absolute best to help you.
*Self-isolation guidelines adapted from TMA COVID-19 Task Force Update March 2020