Telemedicine used as first line of defense to assess flu systems


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Telemedicine could be the first line of defense in reducing the number of coronavirus cases. Doctor On Demand, a virtual doctor service, allows you to see a board-certified physician from the comfort of your own home using a mobile phone app.

With Clark County recently announcing its first ‘presumptive positive’ case of coronavirus, 8 News NOW spoke with Dr. Ian Tong of Doctor On Demand to discuss how patients can see a doctor without leaving their home.

Many are concerned they may have been exposed to the Clark County resident who tested positive for the virus and want to know what to do next to ensure the safety of their family and community.

Dr. Tong explained that Doctor On Demand has created an assessment tool based on CDC guidelines to prepare the public in case they are exposed to the virus.

The assessment is designed to take less than two minutes and provide personalized prevention recommendations based on the answers given.

The recent SNHD announcement has made telemedicine the perfect use case assessing your condition without putting others at risk or exposing yourself to those sicker than you, not knowing that symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to the flu.

In addition to frequent and thorough hand washing, to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, Dr. Tong encouraged residents to avoid large gatherings when possible along with non-essential travel to countries or areas where cases of the coronavirus have been identified.

Following these steps would allow a person to do their part to prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr. Tong emphasized that preventative measures are not focused on young individuals who may get the coronavirus and recover, but more for those with decreased immunity.

According to Dr. Tong, it is reasonable for the general public to hold off on wearing masks since the virus is not widespread. He added that if you are sick and need to leave your home, then wearing a mask can help prevent spreading sickness.

Dr. Tong answered viewer questions related to coronavirus prevention and treatment in a live interview on the 8 News NOW Facebook page. See a portion of the interview here. Questions covered are below and on the Doctor on Demand website.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a newly discovered strain of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals as well as humans.

What are the symptoms?

Common signs of COVID-19 include coughing, respiratory symptoms, fever, and shortness of breath. Body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion or diarrhea are also possible.

Who are high-risk patients if infected with COVID-19?

Groups of people with decreased immunity, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes or women who are pregnant may experience more severe illness and are at a higher risk.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Based on people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 coronavirus, modes of transmission include person-to-person by respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing and close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands. The virus can also be spread by contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it, followed by touching one’s own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Should I be worried about the coronavirus?

With recent reports of novel coronavirus infection, it is difficult not to feel some level of anxiety about the virus. The immediate health risk though is currently low for the general American public who are unlikely to have been exposed to the virus.

What should I do if I’ve had contact with someone with coronavirus?

If you’ve had contact or been in a confined space with someone who has coronavirus, it is important to seek medical evaluation. Your specific risk will depend on the type of contact you had with the individual.

What is the difference between the coronavirus and the flu?

Symptoms of the coronavirus and the flu virus can overlap, so it’s important to understand the facts to seek the right treatment.

Both viruses cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases of both viruses can lead to pneumonia and can even cause death.

The key differences to look out for are known exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with either influenza or COVID-19, so your travel history during the 14 days before your symptoms began is important in differentiating whether your symptoms are likely to be due to the flu versus COVID-19.

Although the viruses have similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses which means that the antiviral treatment available for the flu does not work for COVID-19.

To protect against the spread of the flu, a vaccine is available to prevent and reduce the severity of the flu. For COVID-19, no vaccine is available at this time, but this is something that scientists are working on. 

The novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 has led to an outbreak of respiratory illness around the world, with more cases likely to be identified in the coming days, according to the CDC.

For more information or to schedule a virtual doctor visit click the Doctor On Demand website link here:

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