COVID-19 & Flu: Get the latest information

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Posts in Infectious Disease

Provider listening to a child's chest

COVID-19 & Seasonal Flu: What are the Similarities and Differences?

October 6, 2020

As the flu season begins and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the community faces the possibility of a 'twindemic'. Both are respiratory illnesses that are contagious, but because they are caused by different viruses, it is possible to have both at the same time. They share some symptoms, so telling them apart based on symptoms alone is difficult. Testing might be required to confirm a diagnosis. COVID-19 is still very new, and researchers learn more about it every week. According to the CDC, this is the best information available to compare flu and COVID-19: What are the symptoms? The...Continue Reading

Staff wearing masks while working together at a computer

Why do you need to wear a mask?

September 15, 2020

Because they work to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Perhaps because the first advice was that it wasn't necessary to wear a mask. Perhaps because, culturally, Americans don't generally wear masks at other times, such as flu season. Perhaps because some just don't understand the benefit. Regardless of the reason, many people around the country and around our community do not wear masks, or face coverings, when they should. The question many have is, "Why do I need to wear a mask?" The Infection Prevention staff at Augusta Health is happy to provide answers. "I think there may have been...Continue Reading

Sick woman sitting on her bed and blowing her nose

Why a flu shot is so important this year

September 9, 2020

This fall, two viruses will be circulating at this same time: seasonal influenza and COVID-19. Some are calling it the 'twindemic'. The situation makes it more important than ever for people to get the flu shot this year. "It's important to get the flu shot every year," says William Doherty, MD, FACHE, Chief Medical Officer at Augusta Health, "but this year, I think it's even more important. There will be two different viruses spreading at the same time. One, which is seasonal flu, we know a lot about. The other, COVID-19, is still new and unpredictable in many ways. We're learning more about...Continue Reading

Older adult patient wearing a mask and getting her temperature checked

COVID-19 Asymptomatic Carriers and Antibody Tests

April 23, 2020

As experts work to slow the COVID-19 spread, they focus on issues such as learning how the virus spreads, determining who has the virus, and learning who has developed immunity. Because it's a new virus, but linked to other viruses, these answers are complex. Allison Baroco, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at Augusta Health, and Stefanie Bartley, BSN RN an Infection Prevention Specialist, discuss two important concepts—asymptomatic carriers and antibody tests. What is an asymptomatic carrier? How many asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers do we have? "An asymptomatic carrier is someone who has...Continue Reading

Mother and child sitting on couch watching TV

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

March 31, 2020

Isolation and quarantine are two different terms that some are using interchangeably during the COVID outbreak. It's important to understand the difference. Isolation Isolation refers to separating sick people with a contagious disease from those who are not sick. Hospitals use isolation for patients who have a known infectious disease that can be spread easily to others. A person, who finds themselves ill with COVID-19 , needs to isolate themselves in a specific room away from other household members. Household members should use a separate bedroom and even a separate bathroom if possible...Continue Reading

Woman cleaning a bathroom sink wearing rubber gloves

Is There a Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

March 24, 2020

We're all concerned about germs and the spread of viruses today—so it's important to ask, "What's the difference between cleaning a surface and disinfecting it?" Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt from surfaces. Cleaning will not kill germs; it simply removes them or reduces the number of germs in order to lower the risk of infection. Disinfecting is a process that uses chemicals to kill germs. In order to eliminate COVID-19 and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, the CDC recommends that hard surfaces be cleaned AND disinfected frequently using household cleaners and EPA-...Continue Reading

Father checking the temperature of her daughter who is bundled in bed

Cold vs. Flu vs. COVID-19

March 23, 2020

*/ Information about the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus are prevalent in the tradition and social media, so it's important to look at the differences between the COVID-19, flu, and common cold. Flu season is still in full force, affecting millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that flu activity is high and is expected to continue for several more weeks. The common cold, flu, and coronavirus are all infectious viruses that affect the respiratory tract. All three are spread person-to-person and through direct contact with droplets either in...Continue Reading

Father and son playing basketball

Why Do We Social Distance?

March 20, 2020

The idea of 'social distancing' may not be something you have heard of until the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. You see many people posting on social media what they are doing to social distance. So, what is social distancing? The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible." The most recent recommendation is to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. So, then, why is it so important to practice social distancing and to take it seriously during times like...Continue Reading

Nurse speaking with a senior patient

The Difference Between COVID-19 Screening and Testing

March 19, 2020

We have seen confusion in the community about screening and testing for COVID-19. Lets take a look at the difference and learn why some people may be tested while others are not. What is screening? Screening for COVID-19 is a series of questions asked to determine a person's risk for COVID-19. They include questions about symptoms being experience, travel history in recent weeks, and exposure to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19. Right now, all entrants to Augusta Health (patients and support persons) are screened. After screening and consulting with Virginia Department of...Continue Reading

3D rendering of bacteria

What is an Infectious Disease?

January 23, 2020

An incalculable number of bacteria and other microorganisms live in the places we work, play, and travel. They even cover our skin and live in our intestines! Most of these, however, are effectively harmless to us. Some are actually beneficial. So What's the Difference? The difference between these and an infectious disease is where and how they live. An infectious disease means a foreign organism is living inside the body where it shouldn't, causing damage to the body's cells. These pathogens (disease-causing agents, such as bacteria or a virus) try to feed on cell nutrients, destroy body...Continue Reading

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