Viral Respiratory Tract Infections
Given the volume of calls we’ve been receiving about COVID-19, the novel coronavirus coming out of China, and the concern it’s produced, we thought it prudent to outline ImagineMD’s existing policies for identifying and treating viral respiratory tract infections.
- When patients call to discuss symptoms or to make an appointment, as always they’ll be contacting their ImagineMD physician directly.
- Given that most of the time identifying a viral infection is straightforward and requires neither a physical exam nor treatment with an antibiotic, unless the diagnosis is in doubt, patients will be diagnosed and treated over the phone. This includes making recommendations about Tamiflu, Cold-Eeze (zinc gluconate lozenges), cough suppressants, decongestants, and pain-relievers. This not only gets patients efficiently diagnosed and treated, but also serves to limit the spread of infectious disease to other patients. If there is any doubt about the diagnosis or any medical reason to bring patients in to be seen, ImagineMD physicians will, of course, do so. All patients with cold symptoms will be asked to don a mask when they first enter ImagineMD’s offices if they have symptoms of a viral respiratory tract infection to limit the spread of disease to other patients and staff.
- If a patient calls with more severe infectious symptoms—specifically, with significant shortness of breath (which isn’t a typical symptom of a viral respiratory tract infection)—he or she will be directed to the ER, where an appropriate work-up for a more serious infection, including bacterial pneumonia and COVID-19, will occur. As always, the patient’s ImagineMD physician will contact the ER ahead of time to explain the reason for the referral and to prepare the ER staff to receive the patient. The patient’s ImagineMD physician will also, as always, remain engaged in the care his or her patient receives there.
ImagineMD remains committed to keeping patients as healthy as possible and believes that these policies will enable ImagineMD physicians to provide the best possible care to infected patients while also safeguarding the health of patients who aren’t infected.