As COVID-19 cases spike across the country, many are left wondering what they should do when they receive a positive diagnosis. Dr. Kristen Bishop of Mesa-based Keystone Natural Family Medicine has seen an influx of questions on how can a positive patient protect the people around them, how should they proceed with care at home, and what happens if they have to go to the hospital.
“People who are getting sick with this haven’t been able to get many answers in the current healthcare climate,” Bishop explains. “Often, they’re being told to focus on fluids and rest with no other guidance.”
According to Bishop, the first step in a positive diagnosis is to speak with your primary care physician to create a plan. Your physician should discuss available treatment methods with you and be prepared to advocate for you, in the event that you need to turn to the emergency room.
“There was a strong push to use telehealth at the beginning,” she shares. “But it’s really important to work with someone who knows you and your health history.”
If a patient doesn’t have a primary care physician, Bishop recommends finding someone, or a provider like Keystone who offers a concierge-style Direct Primary Care system with a monthly membership fee, who can advocate for them should hospitalization be required.
Bishop also recommends patients look into IV therapy in their area. A high dose vitamin C treatment can be used to boost immunity and help the body fight off viruses. Oral supplements such as zinc, elderberry and vitamin D can also help in the treatment of viral symptoms.
“Of course we want you to get plenty of rest and fluids, but if there are more options for treatment available it is important to utilize them,” she says.
Finally, many patients that receive a positive diagnosis have someone else at home, perhaps a child, spouse, parent or grandparent. Bishop explains when evaluating the next steps, it is important to consider their preexisting health conditions and risk factors. When living with someone in good health, patients should isolate in the way they would if they just had the flu. But if the patient is living with someone with extreme risk factors, they should consider isolating themselves as completely as is reasonably possible to prevent spread.
“This is one of those things our bodies have evolved to do,” says Bishop. “Take the reasonable precautions where they are needed and work with your doctor to follow the right course of action for you and your family.”