Thanksgiving Celebrations: What You Should Know

November 18, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our country, our community is adapting to protect the health of those around us. If you are debating whether your holiday plans should change this year, consider the advice of experts and make a plan to protect your health and your family’s. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a list of activities with three different risk levels: 

 

Lower Risk Activities

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⦁    Having a small dinner with people who live in your household
⦁    Prepare food for family and neighbors and deliver it in a way that doesn’t involve contact
⦁    Having a virtual dinner with friends and family 
⦁    Shopping online instead of in person the day after Thanksgiving
⦁    Watching sports, parades, or movies from home


Moderate Risk Activities

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⦁    Hosting or attending a small outdoor dinner
⦁    Visiting holiday festivals where people are using hand sanitizer, wearing face coverings is encouraged or enforced, people are able to maintain social distancing
⦁    Attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

 

Higher Risk Activities You Should Avoid

⦁    Shopping in crowded stores 
⦁    Attending or participating at a crowded race
⦁    Attending crowded parades
⦁    Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household
⦁    Using substances that may alter your judgement and make it harder to practice COVID-19 safety


Stay Home If Sick

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People with COVID-19 or those that have been exposed should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings. That includes those who have symptoms, are waiting for a viral test result, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. According to the CDC, those who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, live or work with someone at an increased risk, should also avoid all in-person gatherings with people from outside their household. 

 

Attending an In-Person Gathering 

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If you decide to attend an in-person gathering, you should maintain a safe distance from those outside of your household. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Dr. Sherril Brown, medical director of infection prevention at AltaMed Health Services, said that eating outside and maintaining distance between each guest can reduce much of the risk associated with Thanksgiving dinner. "Immediate families can be seated next to one another but we should ideally be seated six feet or greater from individuals from other households," Dr. Brown said.

The State of California has also provided guidance for those who plan to attend or host a private gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, or any other occasion. These guidelines include:

⦁    Attendance: Gatherings with more than 3 households, including hosts and guests, are not allowed. 
⦁    Gather Outdoors: Outside gatherings are significantly safer than those indoors. 
⦁    Don’t attend gatherings if you feel sick or if you are in a high-risk group. COVID-19-like symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of taste/smell. 
⦁    Practice physical distance and hand hygiene: People must maintain at least a 6-foot physical distance from others (except those from their household) at all times. Everyone should wash their hands frequently and sharing items should be avoided. 
⦁    Wear a face covering: Wear a face covering unless eating or drinking, (while maintaining social distance), or to meet urgent medical needs like taking medication or feeling light-headed. 
⦁    Keep the gathering short: The longer the duration, the higher the risk of transition. 
⦁    Rules for singing, chanting, and shouting: These activities increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission because they increase the release of respiratory droplets into the air. If doing so, face coverings and physical distancing are essential to reduce the risk of transmission.

 

Your good health is our main concern. Remember that the safest way to gather is to celebrate with only the people from your household or online. No matter what, we’re here for your health needs. If you need care, call us at (888) 499-9303.

 

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COVID-19, Flu, Allergies or a Cold? A Helpful Guide to Knowing the Difference

March 17, 2020

In Southern California, flu season seems to last longer and longer each year. Thanks to drier winters and less rain, allergy season starts earlier every year. And at the moment, our nation is justifiably worried about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus.

If you’ve got a sniffly nose, a sore throat, and a fever, you may not be 100% sure what you have. We’re here with information that will hopefully put your worries at ease, and help you determine what kind of care you need.

 

Are Coronavirus and COVID-19 the Same?

Coronavirus

Not exactly. Coronavirus refers to a large family of viruses. Some of these viruses make people sick with the common cold. COVID-19 is the name of the disease we’ve all heard about. The type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is so new, we still don’t know very much about it.

 

COVID-19 vs. the Flu (influenza)

When we started to learn about COVID-19, many people compared it to influenza, most commonly known as the flu, in terms of symptoms and how it spreads. Both are infectious respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by entirely different viruses.

Symptoms in common: Both illnesses cause fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, body aches, fatigue, and even vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms can be mild or severe and turn into pneumonia. Both can be fatal.

It may be possible for a sick person to have symptoms so mild, they don’t realize they have the disease, and so they may walk around spreading the virus to healthy people.

How the diseases spread: Both can be spread from person to person from the droplets that come from sneezing, coughing or even talking.

AND: Experts believe that COVID-19 is powerful enough to live on surfaces long after the infected person is no longer present.

Be proactive: Vaccinations are highly effective at preventing the flu. That’s why we strongly recommend everyone in your family get their shots every year.

Unfortunately, there still isn’t a vaccine for COVID-19 yet. Your best bet for preventing it is proper handwashing, staying home if you’re sick, and social isolation.

Treatment: Because both diseases are caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t do any good. Instead, doctors aim to treat symptoms, such as reducing fever and suppressing a cough. However, both can be serious and require hospitalization.

 

Coronavirus vs. Allergies

Allergy symptoms are usually quite different from COVID-19 symptoms. Unlike COVID-19, which is a virus, allergies are your immune system’s response to a foreign substance.

Symptoms: Allergy symptoms include itchy or runny nose, rashes or itchy skin, and watery eyes. In extreme cases of anaphylactic shock, your air passage shuts down, and it rapidly becomes difficult to breathe. Difficulty breathing is also a symptom of COVID-19, but with allergies, the onset is almost immediately after encountering a specific trigger.

Transmission: Allergies aren’t contagious like a cold or flu, so there’s no chance of spreading it from one person to the next. Allergies do have a genetic component, which is why it may seem like other people in your family have them at the same time you do.

Prevention: Unless you do allergy testing and shots, your best method for preventing allergic reactions is to keep an allergy diary and then stay away from your triggers.

Treatment: You can usually treat allergy symptoms with common, over-the-counter remedies, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and medicated lotions to help relieve itchy rashes and hives.

 

COVID-19 vs. the Common Cold

Mild cases of COVID-19 may be mistaken for a cold.

Symptoms in common: Because many of the symptoms are the same, it can be tough to tell the difference. Experts say that if your first symptoms included a sore throat and runny nose, it’s likely just a cold. A fever could be a sign that it’s something more than a cold.

Prevention: The common cold is famously difficult to prevent. But following the same protocol for COVID-19 should help protect you.

Treatment: There’s not much you can do for a cold, other than treating the symptoms. Time-tested advice includes getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, using a humidifier, and taking age-appropriate over-the-counter remedies.

 

When Should I Go to the Doctor?

uncomfortable throat

First off, the good news is that about 80% of COVID-19 cases resolve quickly on their own when the person stays home, gets rest, and treats the symptoms.

Unless your symptoms get dramatically worse or you feel short of breath, you may not need to seek treatment (though it's OK to call your doctor and ask). AltaMed is advising our patients to treat mild symptoms just like you would treat a cold by staying home, taking over-the-counter cold treatments like Tylenol or Nyquil. Avoid other people until your symptoms go away for at least 72 hours without having to take these medications.

 

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please confirm with your doctor the timing of when you are no longer contagious.

To learn more about COVID-19 precautions, treatments, and news, bookmark our Coronavirus resource page. And for the time being, AltaMed is waiving the cost-sharing and co-pays for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19.

 

Be Careful Where You Get Your Coronavirus News

April 03, 2020

Every day, there are new developments regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. To stay safe, you have to stay informed. But, as you’re probably already learning, too much news can make you feel anxious or depressed. And the wrong news can be dangerous.

Be sure to take care of your mental health as well as the health of your family. Read this for a rundown of news sources you can trust, and learn how to stay on top of events that matter without feeling like you’re spinning out of control.

 

Set a Limit on How Much News You Read or Watch

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A steady diet of coronavirus news can be bad for your mental health. Eventually, it can also take a toll on your physical health. Give yourself a time limit for checking the news and stick to it. Maybe that means decreasing the amount of news you watch to 10 minutes a day or checking the news only in the morning and evening. Remember to take a break when you need it to help manage your stress levels.

 

Don’t Believe Anyone Who Says There’s a Miracle Cure

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Right now, there are people on social media talking about (and selling) COVID-19 cures. These range from harmless recommendations like eating garlic, taking hot baths, and gargling with saltwater, to things that can actually kill you, such as drinking bleach and taking pills that have not been tested or evaluated for safety.

If you see an ad that uses phrases like “miracle cure,” “ancient remedy,” or “limited time offer,” don’t believe it. In general, don’t accept medications from anyone other than your doctor or pharmacist.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has started a page that lists some of the most common fake cures. If you still have doubts, contact your doctor.

 

Be Careful of Email and Phone Scams

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News services have reported that scammers are using coronavirus fears as an opportunity to defraud people of money or trick them into parting with sensitive information by posing as agents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Blue Cross, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others. Be careful!

If you get a phone call from someone offering free testing or treatment services and asking that you provide a social security number, bank account PINs, or other personal information, IT IS A SCAM. Hang up the phone.

If you get a phone call saying you won’t receive government stimulus money unless you give the caller your personal information, IT IS A SCAM. Hang up the phone.

In general, if you get any kind of suspicious phone call, don’t give the caller any information. If itvis a robocall, don’t press any buttons, and hang up immediately. If you receive an email asking for this personal information, do not click any links and don’t download anything.

 

Ignore People or News Sources Who Say It’s a Terrorist Attack

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Even though we still don’t have a vaccine or treatment, scientists have known about coronaviruses for a long time. The strain that causes COVID-19 is so new that no one has developed immunity to it, which is why it has spread so quickly and is so dangerous.

There’s no reason to believe this sickness was engineered by an evil scientist or one of America’s rivals. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.

We’re all in this together – and COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate between race or country of origin.

 

Stick to Trusted Sources

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To stay safe and up-to-date, get your news from sources that are committed to facts and protecting public health, such as the Los Angeles Times and your local ABC or NBC affiliates.

 

AltaMed is Committed to Being Your Community Resource

To get the latest news, and to see how we’re helping our communities, follow AltaMed on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also bookmark our COVID-19 resource page and check it frequently.

We are still open for all your health needs and are now offering telephone appointments! If you need medical care, call to schedule your next appointment at (888) 499-9303.