This is an unsettling time for many people, especially for people who have existing medical conditions like lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). So if you have COPD or another lung disease, what should you know about COVID-19 and what actions should you take to be prepared?
George Verghese, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician with Augusta Health Pulmonology, provides this information:
What is my risk for COVID-19 if I am a Pulmonary patient?
People who have lung disease are not more likely to get COVID-19; however, people who have pulmonary disease are at a high risk for severe complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure if they get COVID-19. This is why pulmonary patients must take preventive actions to avoid getting COVID-19.
What preventive actions should I take?
Pulmonary patients must strictly follow social distancing guidelines and stay home as much as possible. On the limited times they have to go out, pulmonary patients need to wear a mask. If possible, have family or friends help with public activities such as grocery shopping to minimize the risk of infection. If this is not possible, take advantage of shopping at stores with special hours for those who are at high risk for complications.
Also, patients should monitor their supplies and medications such as inhalers and nebulizer medications to be sure they do not run out. Augusta Health Pulmonology is now offering telehealth visits instead of office appointments—our pulmonologists are using these virtual visits so patients can receive care without leaving their homes. So if you need a visit with your pulmonologist, this is a great option.
To schedule a telehealth appointment, call (540) 245-7190.
If I get sick, what should I do?
Those with lung disease must, like everyone else, monitor themselves for the symptoms of COVID-19—such as fever, shortness of breath and cough—and contact their physician if they notice these signs of disease.
The COVID-19 Assessment Center at the Waynesboro Urgent Care on Lew Dewitt Boulevard can evaluate and treat respiratory conditions and provide a COVID-19 test if needed. It is open seven days a week from 8 am until 7 pm. These services are available to pulmonary patients and the entire community.