North Atlanta Primary Care

COVID-19 Update Article

Coronavirus Update #8

Posted on April 07, 2020 by Physicians and Staff at NAPC

Week 4 of the COVID-19 crisis in our community brings heightened anxiety as the prevalence of coronavirus cases increases. Progress in flattening the curve and reducing the peak number of cases appears to be successful. Your participation to stem the spread of coronavirus with social distancing is powerful. Our healthcare team at NAPC and at hospitals and health systems appreciate your efforts. You are saving lives by lowering the infectious spread and overwhelming the ICUs. To date many Epidemiology experts believe Atlanta will peak around April 23rd.

NAPC patients are contacting us with increasing symptoms. The main concern is do I have a simple cold, seasonal allergies or COVID-19. Atlanta has high pollen counts in the spring and many have perennial allergies. How can you tell the difference?

Are my symptoms ALLERGIES?

Seasonal allergies often referred to as “hay fever” are caused by pollen, dust, mold and even animals. The symptoms are caused by our sensitized mast cells in the sinuses, nose, eyes, and mouth and throat area. The mast cells release histamines which are responsible for the inflammatory responses. The main symptoms you will notice include:

  • Sneezing and sniffling.
  • Itching, tearing and irritated eyes.
  • Runny nose.
  • Irritated mild sore throat.
  • Mild tickling, dry cough.

Are my symptoms COVID-19?

Infection with SARS-CoV-2 has proven to be variable with many asymptomatic individuals suspected to be playing a significant role in the transmission of COVID-19. Unlike allergies, a viral infection occurs as a cascade of events mediated by chemical messengers as a result of being infected. The main symptoms you will notice include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Body aches.
  • Severe sore throat.
  • Fatigue with sudden onset.
  • GI problems like nausea and diarrhea.

Unfortunately, early in the COVID-19 phase the mildness or lack of symptoms cause many to contribute their symptoms to allergies. This is understandable. If you are sneezing, it is most likely allergies. If you have developed a fever, body aches and a cough, contact NAPC at 770-442-1911 or via the FollowMyHealth patient portal and we will arrange a virtual visit to evaluate you and develop a COVID-19 Care Plan.

What are the best ways to treat my allergies?
There are many OTC options today to treat seasonal allergies. Many of you have annual perennial allergies and have an Allergist or use allergy desensitizing shots. Before visiting your physician some simple measures include:

  • Non-sedating antihistamine use, such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec and Xyzal.
  • Nasal corticosteroids such as Flonase or Nasacort.
  • Avoidance of what flares your symptoms.
  • Use of asthma inhalers if recommended.
  • Contact us through the patient portal and set up a virtual visit.

What is a COVID Care Plan?

During the COVID-19 crisis we must continue our efforts to improve our personal outcomes and those of our community. Both physical and mental health must be optimized.  Daily exercise, healthy eating, limiting alcohol use smoking cessation, and lowering stress with relaxation exercises all contribute to improved outcomes. There are specific actions you can take to be prepared in the event you develop COVID symptoms:

  • Have a relationship with your PCP. Your physician is your frontline defense and will guide in making correct decisions.
  • COVID-19 positive patients must communicate daily with their provider at NAPC. We will do everything to keep you out of the hospital, and coordinate transfer to the hospital if required.
  • Have a self-isolation care plan in your house.
  • Identify your home support system. Friends and family are invaluable.
  • Monitor your temperature every 6 hours.
  • Have Tylenol for fever available.
  • If you have a pulse oximeter monitor your oxygen level.
  • Adequate food and fluids available.
  • Know your hospital and health systems preferences.
  • Update your GA Advance Directive.  Identify your durable healthcare power of attorney. Update your living will.
  • If you have severe shortness of breath, lips turn bluish or develop extreme weakness call 911. Give the operator all details, use a face mask to protect EMTs and meet paramedics at the door or outside if possible.

The best time to develop a COVID-19 Care Plan is now. Do not wait until you have symptoms.  Schedule a Virtual Visit with your physician at NAPC. We have access to Georgia’s Advance Directive forms and can provide guidance on how best to complete the forms.  We are providing daily Health Risk Assessments for our senior patients. Patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lung disease are most at risk, but any age can acquire COVID-19. The morbidity and mortality of this infection is variable and you must be prepared to manage the complications of COVID-19.

Final Thoughts:

NAPC remains open at all 12 locations and remains committed to serving your healthcare needs. Our offices are sanitized, our providers have appropriate PPE and we will be here for all your essential healthcare needs. COVID-19 illness will continue to increase over the next several weeks. Please develop a care plan for yourself and family. Please contact us to arrange a Virtual visit via Telehealth to address your personal healthcare needs and complete your Advance Directive.

Stay safe, Stay home and Thank you for your trust.

The Physicians and Staff at NAPC

Alpharetta: 3400-C Old Milton Parkway, Suite 270, Alpharetta, GA 30005
Braselton: 1255 Friendship Road, Suite 130, Braselton, GA 30517
Cumming: 1800 Northside Forsyth Drive, Suite 450, Cumming, GA 30041
East Cobb: 1121 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 450, Marietta, GA 30068
Johns Creek: 4235 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite A, Suwanee, GA 30024
Sandy Springs: 1150 Hammond Dr., Building E, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30328
Sugar Hill: 4700 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Suite 250, Buford, GA 30518
West Paces: 3200 Downwood Circle NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30327
Woodstock: 250 Parkbrooke Place, Suite 300, Woodstock, GA 30189

All locations: 770-442-1911