If you haven’t noticed, there is quite a bit going on in the world currently. I have found some small solace in professional sports returning in some capacity, a welcome distraction. Soccer, baseball, basketball, and (soon!) football are coming back, although in much different ways than we are used to. Many of you may not care one bit about sports, and that is ok too. Perhaps you have been able to eat on a favorite patio that had been closed for months, or had a driveway discussion with a friend or family member. Whatever it is that keeps you, your family, and others safe while providing some semblance of the much needed societal interaction we have all sorely missed, I encourage you to pursue it.
Dr. Edwards and myself are here for you, whether it is questions on returning to work, how to keep your child safe with school, or if you just want that weird mole looked at… know that we are committed to all aspects of your health and safety.
On that note, please enjoy our latest COVID-19 update on the blog, where I try to provide a concise yet data packed entry on testing, antibody controversies, vaccines, and more.
Hazen Short, MD
this month’s health tip
A friend of mine who is a high school teacher asked me for tips for how to stay healthy if he is to teach in-person this upcoming year. I thought I’d pass his questions and my answers on to you.
“I don’t have a washer and dryer, is it safe to use the laundry room at my apartment? Could I get infected from public machines?”
- Public washer/dryers are unlikely to cause spread. I recommend using hot water cycles and hot drying cycles to be extra safe. Laundry detergent itself will do an excellent job on breaking down the protein structure of the virus and render it “dead”.
- It is important to maintain excellent hand hygiene when using equipment in a public space, and to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and afterwards.
“What type of mask should I get, what is most effective?”
- For most situations, a cloth mask should suffice, especially brief socially distant interactions.
- A surgical mask (the blue and white ones are most common) has more data than cloth and is ~80% effective in reducing infection, but they are not built to be used repeatedly and often break after a few days.
- It is important to note that many surgical masks on the market are not actually medical grade, it should say on the box “not medical grade” if that is the case. Non-medical grade means they are unlikely to be more effective than a cloth mask, so don’t waste your money.
- N95 masks are ~95% effective in reducing spread (when properly fitted and worn) but also are not built to last and are in short supply.
- Any facial hair that is located around the mask seal reduces the effectiveness of n95s, so, fellas, other than a small mustache or soul patch, plan to be clean shaven if you need to wear one of these.
- Ideally, in a classroom setting with dozens possible contacts a day, one could have 5 n95 masks that they use on a rotating basis (one for Monday, one for Tuesday, etc). It is important to keep the used n95s in separate paper bags, as plastic bags or containers reduce their effectiveness.
Hazen Short, MD
COVID-19 Testing Updates: We have tried to keep our blog page updated on at least a monthly basis with updates about COVID in the community, testing, and ways to stay safe. Feel free to bookmark it and/or follow us on social to keep up with our updates (links here: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter)!
COVID-19 Clinic Updates: Not much new here, but a reminder that we’re trying to social distance as much as possible to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others. The virus is very much still present and is increasingly spreading in our community. As such, here are a few things we’re (still) doing:
- We are limiting the number of people in the office; please call ahead before you just stop by to pick up medicines or to get labs!
- We continue to offer care and appointments via email, phone, or videoconference as a first step for acute visits.
- We are then recommending in-person visits for anyone who needs an in-person procedure or physical exam (and if we can check you out in the safety/distance of your car, we’ll recommend that!).
- Contact us directly to chat about whether or not you or your kids need an annual exam.
- Anyone who comes into the office will be asked to wear a mask + to clean their hands with hand sanitizer.
Staycations: All the physicians and staff will take some time off this summer for vacations. Dr. Short will cover for Dr. Edwards and vice versa when this occurs. (And when Lauran’s out, they’ll both do their best to be as attentive to all the little things that come up.) We hope you get time for self-care at some point, too!
Reviews: Reviews are the lifeblood of any organization these days. If you like what we do, please let the world know on Yelp, Google, and Facebook! (Feel free to recommend us if you’re active on Reddit, NextDoor, or LinkedIn, and we wouldn’t mind if you also shouted it over your backyard fence, at the water cooler, while standing 6 feet away from someone, etc.)
The flowers are blooming! While it isn’t exactly clinical or health-related, we were so excited to see the trusty crop of zinnias pop up again this year. While we harvested a few to keep us company in the clinic, there are plenty more on display along the parking lot!