To My Patients,
Emailed to patients 12/7/2020
Hope your Thanksgiving Holiday went well despite the unusual COVID environment.
Fortunately, none of our patients have become seriously ill or required hospitalization with COVID.
** Office Time
We are seeing patients in the office on Tuesdays and some Thursdays, mostly for periodic exams such as physicals and general evaluation, and for issues that are not active COVID-19. Much of our medical care is now done by telemedicine (FaceTime or Zoom), which has been working extremely well - don't be nervous to give it a try! Give us a call to set up your next (or maybe first) telemedicine visit - 203-853-1919.
I hope that the "higher ups," whoever they are, will allow some form of telemedicine to continue and improve after COVID has been defeated. There's so much you can do without having to spend time traveling to the doctor's office and spending time in the waiting room, especially when remote-exam tools are becoming more widely available. Already, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, your progress can be, in part, followed by telemedicine. Telemedicine is not a total substitute to the old hands-on approach, but it's a great help.
** A Word About COVID Testing
There are two types of COVID tests available: 1) the rapid antigen test and, 2) the PCR test - Each have a somewhat different use.
PCR, the original "nasal swab test," is the gold standard. It detects very small amounts of the COVID-19 virus, even if you're asymptomatic. But it takes a few days to get the results. In our experience, it has taken as many as 7 days by some labs - inexcusable (but, you can try the pixel site, see below).
The rapid test is plagued by false negatives. This is particularly so early in the disease, when the number of virus particles is very low, and the test cannot detect them; up to 50% are often false negatives. However, in people who have symptoms suggestive of COVID 19, the rapid test is much more reliable, and it is the test of choice because results are available almost immediately and a quarantine decision can be made very fast.
Regardless of which test you take, a positive test result is much more likely to be accurate even if you have no symptoms, (but even here, not guaranteed to be 100% accurate).
Contact the office by emailor phone - 203-853-1919.
Need faster PCR testing? Try the site: pixel.labcorp.com. Register and ask for a kit, which will be sent to you overnight. Follow the instructions and return the kit by FedEx, you'll get PCR results very fast by email (24-36 hours by my personal experience).
** Physical Activity
It's so easy to become less physically active, or even sedentary, during COVID. The WHO, the World Health Organization, has just cited new activity recommendations. These are for more exercise/physical activity than the previous official guidelines and will most likely completely replace them.
Examples: For adults, 150-300 minutes a week of moderate activity, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity (twice the previous recommendation). In addition, at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity involving all major muscle groups. Seniors should focus on balance and strength training, even if they have no balancing issues. And the list goes on, but I guess you're all getting the idea...
Watching TV? Get on your treadmill, bicycle, rowing machine or just run in place. If you have weights at home, use them. Don't have any? They are easy to get and don't take up much space; you can use bags of rice and soup cans instead - no excuses!!! Need more tips - call or email and I'll tell you!
** A Few Words About Insurance
We participate with most insurance carriers, but not with Cigna (many of our patients have switched out of Cigna because of that).
Some insurance companies require proof of a physical exam for the year. There's still time to do it. Most Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) will cover your periodic exam and other medical expenses, but some of the leftover money may not be rolled over to the next year - there's still a little time to take care of that.
** A Word About Face Masks
Wear them whenever necessary, and make sure they also cover your nose.If you can get the N95 mask, use it, it provides better protection (that's what I use). I'm not sure about the KN95, they have a different standard, I don't use them. If you have a UV-C sterilizing bag, use it to disinfect your masks, gloves, etc. We use the portable bag by Coospider, available on the internet.
Above all, stay safe. Keep a safe distance, avoid unnecessary contact, and if you have any suspicious symptoms, let me know immediately.
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
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