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Health experts: Seek treatment if you have coronavirus symptoms

Posted at 8:57 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 08:08:52-04

TULSA, Okla. — "I was at work started feeling just kind of 'meh' and achy throughout the day," Stephanie, a Covid-19 patient who lives in the Tulsa area told 2 Works for You.

She said by the time she went for a coronavirus test the next day, her fever had broken.

"And I was like, 'Oh, I'll be fine.'And then my test results came back positive," she added.

Area health providers are testing a growing number of patients for Covid-19. At Tulsa ER and Hospital, emergency medicine physicians said many patients are showing up with symptoms that fit both covid and flu.

Similar symptoms include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • chills
  • fever

Doctors said they can only pinpoint which illness a patient may have with diagnostic testing. A rapid antigen test used to detect the coronavirus delivers results in a quarter hour which is helpful to doctor and patient alike.

"So, then we know right away if they need to be put in isolation," said Matt Jordan, registered nurse.

If the test indicates a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, additional action is required.

"As far as, you know, your contact tracing, your work exposures, your family exposures, and then your quarantine measures that we typically don't do with the flu," said Dr. Mark Blubaugh, medical director at Tulsa ER & Hospital.

Stephanie said she got over the flu faster, in four to five days, compared to her current battle with Covid.

"With Covid, I am on day 13 now," she said.

Like many people invected with coronavirus, Stephanie is still short of breath and tires easily. The virus is known to hit certain patients hard with another wave of more severe symptoms. If this happens, patients are advised to call their physician because they may need more tests.

"The radiologist will read the chest x-ray and say possible pneumonia, covid-related pneumonia," said Joanne Gullo, radiology technician. "And then do a CT because they want to further evaluate."

Dr. Blubaugh warned, "a lot of those patients can progress to more severe illness and require a ventilator, and maybe even require what we call ECMO where we're having to oxygenate their blood mechanically for them."

No one is immune to the coronavirus, according to Dr. Blubaugh. He and other emergency medicine physicians are seeing patients as young as their 20's and 30's who are becoming gravely ill with Covid.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following "underlying medical conditions that increase a person's risk of severe illness from Covid-19":

  • cancer
  • chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • heart conditions
  • obesity
  • severe obesity
  • sickle cell disease
  • smoking
  • solid organ transplantation
  • type 2 diabetes

Dr. Blubaugh said people who are obese don't do as well with Covid at any age. A fact that is concerning since, according to the latest statistics from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 34.0% of adults in Tulsa County alone are considered obese.

As for Stephanie, she is slowly getting stronger. Since she still tires easily and her cough is still an issue, she plans to stay in isolation and count the days until she can see her family again.

"I should have been able to go back to work today, but there's no way that I would have been able to," she said.

For more information about the Tulsa ER & Hospital, click here.

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