Whether you’ve had COVID-19, know someone who has had it, or are doing your best to avoid it, one thing’s for sure — this pandemic has impacted us all. And despite our best efforts, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, named SARS-CoV-2, remains with us.
It’s not hard to find news and information about COVID-19 these days — in fact, it’s hard to go a day without hearing, reading, or experiencing something related to the coronavirus. But what sources can you trust?
Here at Millennial Park Medical Associates, Dr. Farah Khan and our team of medical experts are passionate about helping the world defeat COVID-19, starting with the greater Chicago area of Illinois. We’ve made it our mission to provide the clearest, most accurate information to our patients.
We critically monitor and filter the flow of information (and misinformation) through the lens of our skill, knowledge, and experience to keep you up to speed. Here’s the essential news you need to know.
Know the COVID-19 symptoms
The most common COVID-19 symptoms are the same symptoms you may experience with other viral infections, including flu, so it may be difficult for you to tell the difference.
- Cough and sore throat
- Body aches
- Nausea and diarrhea
Unique to COVID-19, you may notice a loss of your senses of smell and taste. Other classic COVID-19 symptoms that are not typical with the flu are shortness of breath and chest pain.
What to do if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19
Despite your best efforts, you may get exposed to someone who has COVID-19. If so, the best thing to do is quarantine yourself for 14 days and watch for symptoms. Stay away from other family members, especially those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or are otherwise at high risk for contracting and suffering severely from COVID-19.
How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19
It’s difficult to keep up with various reports that seem to change daily regarding best practices for protection against COVID-19. News reporters, social media influencers, and politicians all spew advice as if it’s fact.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to protecting yourself and others:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you’re around others
- Stay at least six feet apart from others
- Avoid crowds
- Wash your hands well and often
Anyone can get COVID-19, so don’t fool yourself into believing that because you’re young and healthy you can’t get it. Although you may have a better chance of beating it if you do get it, there’s no guarantee. The best policy is to keep your guard up and remain diligent.
What to do if you get COVID-19
If you get sick with COVID-19, the first thing to do is call us. Don't come in right away, as you are highly contagious. We can help you monitor your symptoms and let you know if and when you need medical attention.
Isolate yourself in a room, have meals delivered to your door, and stay away from other family members.
If you begin to have severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing or pain and extreme pressure in your chest, seek emergency care right away.
Should I get a COVID-19 test?
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you’re experiencing symptoms, you may want to get tested to know whether you’re dealing with COVID-19 or something else. You may also need to get tested to comply with certain state or local health departments for work or school.
At Millennial Park Medical Associates, we offer the highly accurate nasal PCR swab test as well as antibody testing that lets you know whether you’ve already had COVID-19, as it can be asymptomatic in some people.
Do I need the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination is a huge step in the fight against the virus. It’s still new, so we don’t know a lot about its effectiveness in the general population, what percentage of people need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity, or how long immunity lasts after getting the shots.
We do know that the vaccine, which includes two shots given 3-4 weeks apart, is your best defense against the novel coronavirus to date. As of this writing, the two vaccines available are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Where to find more COVID-19 information
We’ve highlighted the basics for you here, but if you want more information on COVID-19, you can find a wealth of reliable facts and data here.
You’ll find an interactive symptom checker, helpful short videos, infographics, research articles, and FAQs. Feel free to print them, share them, and use them to do your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
If you still have questions or concerns and want to talk with Dr. Khan, contact us at either of our two Chicago offices in The Loop or Lakeview, or book an appointment online.