By Dr. Kjeld Aamodt
As doctors, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and we are taking steps to minimize any risks to our patients and our team. The virus was first detected in China and is now spreading globally. The first reported case in the United States was announced on 01/21/2020. At Uniform Teeth, we implemented additional precautions to screen and react to COVID-19 risks the following day.
The health and safety of the Uniform Teeth team, patients, visitors, and their families is our top priority.
We remain focused on three primary goals:
- Providing safe and compassionate care for our patients
- Providing support and training to keep our clinical and non-clinical employees safe
- Communicating regularly with and offering guidance to the Uniform Teeth community during this period
Measures we’re taking to keep our patients and employees safe
We’ve been following this closely with our public health counterparts across the city and state, as well as with the CDC and WHO, since the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019. At Uniform Teeth, we will continue to follow the infection control and safety guidelines and recommendations provided by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and ADA (American Dental Association), including our continued use of personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) and the proper sterilization of instruments.
Furthermore, we implemented additional measures beyond the minimum recommendations set forth by the CDC to keep you and your loved ones safe, including:
- Additional screening protocols to identify high-risk individuals who are showing signs of fever or respiratory illness
- Hourly surface-level disinfection of all touched surfaces such as door handles, counters, chairs, and technology (iPads, x-ray machines, etc.) with disinfectant wipes.
- Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect clinical staff and patients.
What you can do to protect yourself
We recognize that news of COVID-19 is concerning for many. However, we do not believe there’s a reason to panic or to experience undue anxiety. Coronavirus can cause illness that ranges from mild to severe. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The easiest way to protect yourself (and others) are taking simple, preventive measures:
- Wash or gel hands frequently, especially after being in public spaces and bathrooms
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose
- Cover sneezes and coughs with your elbow, instead of your hands
- Avoid handshakes, and try fist bumps or (better yet) elbow bumps
In addition to washing our hands and covering our coughs, data suggests there may be more we can do to protect ourselves and loved ones. Meta-analysis of 25 studies, including more than 11,000 participants published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, shows that there is building evidence that the direct inhibition of RNA polymerase viruses like COVID seem to be achieved with Vitamin D. There is also some laboratory evidence that ensuring one is not deficient in zinc can help inhibit the virus once it’s inside cells too. In addition to bone and muscle health, vitamin D is also found to help the body fight acute respiratory infections. Regular daily supplementation of Vitamin D (50mcg) shows the largest reduction of respiratory infection, reducing risk by a staggering 50%. Link here.
What to do if you get sick?
If you do think you might have symptoms of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying home except to get medical care. Call your doctor before you visit to find out how to get the care you need without infecting others. Separate yourself from others in your home, and don’t share household items. Wear a face mask to avoid spreading the illness to others, and practice the hygiene steps above. Finally, monitor your symptoms to ensure they don’t worsen and talk to your physician before you return to regular activities.