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Coronavirus and plastic surgery

Posted on March 12, 2020

By: Dr. Asaf Yalif

Blow up of covid 19 virus

COVID – 19 is a new/novel virus that is rapidly spreading from China throughout the world. It has spread quickly and as it now reaches into many states across America. The World Health Organization has deemed it a pandemic – meaning it affects everyone. Patients are rightfully apprehensive. and there is a lot of misinformation about the virus and how to handle the outbreak personally. Today’s blog is meant to give some straight-forward answers while also providing some common sense precautions for patients.

What are the symptoms of Corona Virus?

Just like the common cold, or flu, this virus causes mainly respiratory symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath. It is similar to the flu in presentation but the concern lies in that it may create more shortness of breath (lower respiratory tract) symptoms rather than cough and runny nose (upper respiratory tract) symptoms. This can lead to more significant illness and require hospitalization.

The data seems to point to a higher risk of severe symptoms in patients over the age of 60. Along with patients over the age of 60, patients who are immune-comprised, either through other infections, e.g.HIV, or through medications like some of those for psoriasis or chemotherapy may be at increased risk for severe infection and should take additional precautions.

This is a new virus and we are still learning a lot about how long it lasts on surfaces and modes of transmission. There is a lot of new data coming out and the CDC updates it’s recommendations constantly. Their most recent update is here.

What can I do to prevent getting it?

The first recommendation is hand washing and the second one is hand washing. Soap and water are the first line of defense. Next, try to not touch your face and avoid shaking hands with others. This is really tough because we do it a lot! When/if possible try not to be in crowds, or close to a large number of people as this can make transmission more likely. Try to use your best hygiene practices including covering your mouth/nose when you cough or sneeze.

The current recommendation for “social isolation” i.e. keeping your distance from others (at least 6 feet on all sides) and not going out to social type gatherings if you don’t have to was originally for older individuals but is now being  applied to everyone, especially in light of how transmissible the virus appears to be. In that vein many sports events and other gatherings are being canceled and should be a sign to us all of the seriousness of the outbreak and our need to be vigilant and do our best to prevent the spread further.

Should I still come in for my consultation?

As with any time you feel sick or ill we recommend rescheduling your appointment. We can always re-work you in for a future appointment. If you are unsure then please call the office first before coming in. The last thing we want is to expose other patients to the virus inadvertently. This is true for both specialist offices and for primary care – please call the office first to discuss if you should come in and how that appointment should be handled.

I have surgery scheduled – should I cancel?

Both cosmetic procedures and reconstructive procedures are elective in nature. As such we do not want to risk your health if you are at all compromised. If you do not feel 100% and/or have any signs or symptoms of the cold/flu or you are concerned please contact us to discuss and we can consider rescheduling. After all it is not worth increasing the risk of a complication or negative outcome.

In summary…

The coronovirus outbreak should not necessarily make you change everything about your life or cancel your office visits and consultation or your surgery. We recommend caution – if you feel at all ill – fever, cough, shortness of breath – please let us know and we can reschedule your visit and/or surgery. Further if having any symptoms please call your primary care physician or your local health advisory to see if they advise testing. While there is no treatment, 80% experience mild symptoms and recover.

We know this time can be scary and we all want to listen to public health officials and use best hygiene practices.

If you have questions please feel free to contact us, we will do our best to answer your questions or at the very least point you in a direction to get an answer.

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