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Improving Holistic Assessment of Chronic Wounds

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Improving Holistic Assessment of Chronic Wounds

Posted on: July 20th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds

This recent UK study encourages wound care doctors to improve the holistic assessment of chronic wounds. This is something that Dr. Bruce Ruben at Encompass HealthCare has been doing for years. The full study is available online. Here is the beginning of it:

Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds is a vital area of current focus. The new Wounds UK Best Practice Statement (Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds, free to download from the Wounds UK site) emphasizes the need for wide-ranging assessment that considers the impact of all aspects of the patient’s health and wellbeing on the healing process, resisting the temptation to make the wound the sole focus. The document aims to support best practices and ensure that thorough, holistic assessment leads to improved outcomes (Wounds UK, 2018). This should be based around a structured system, such as the CASE wound assessment framework.

Large and increasing numbers of patients in the UK are living with a chronic wound, and it is predicted that the prevalence of chronic wounds will increase at a rate of 12% per year due to delayed healing (Guest et al, 2017).

Assessment has been identified as a key focus for improving wound care practice. The Commission for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) has introduced an indicator based on assessment, aiming to specifically improve care. This is one of 13 indicators for 2017—2019, with the goal ‘to increase the number of full wound assessments for wounds which have failed to heal after 4 weeks’ (NHS England, 2016). The implementation of this indicator links rates of wound assessment with funding payments. In doing so, this practice aims to improve wound assessment and overall care standards.

Patient involvement and empowerment play a key role in optimizing treatment and improving patient experiences. Encouraging patients to self-care and be involved in their treatment has been shown to improve outcomes (Wounds International, 2016).

Why Encompass HealthCare uses Mechanical Venous Ablation

Posted on: March 19th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Biological ablation is defined as the removal of a biological structure or functionality. Venous ablation, in particular, is a procedure used by physicians to shut down poorly performing veins that leak blood and fluids into the soft tissues of legs. Such leaking is the primary cause of chronic swelling, redness, heaviness, and sores that won’t heal. Thus, ablation of just a few identified, culprit veins will reverse all of these symptoms and heal the long-standing sore.

The methods that are available today for providing ablation of these veins are all minimally invasive and are performed in the physician’s office; however, patients should be aware that the level of pain associated with the procedure varies. For example, the most painful ablation techniques use laser and radiofrequency, which “burns” the vein on the interior of the leg. In order to complete this specific technique, the introduction of multiple, separate injections of lidocaine-filled fluid around the vein is required. As a result, the vein is ablated and the surrounding soft tissues are prevented from burning. OUCH!

What’s worse, radiofrequency and laser procedures carry the risk of causing irreversible damage, and even accidental burning, to important sensory nerves; yet, with Clarivein, this is not a risk. In fact, we have seen that the benefits of the radiofrequency and laser procedures are present with Clarivein, but the risky outcomes are not. Therefore, a lack of medical awareness is the only reason one would choose radiofrequency or laser procedures over the much less painful and risky Clarivein.

At Encompass Healthcare we use Clarivein, a mechanical venous ablation procedure.

This procedure typically requires no more than a single needle inserted into the targeted leg vein under ultrasound guidance, much like a typical lab draw at your doctors’ office. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is threaded along the length of the interior vein and withdrawn while simultaneously creating a painless, inner vein injury in order to cause vein contraction, and thus ablation.

In general, venous ablation is a procedure which is considered only after other conservative measures have failed. Bruce Ruben, M.D., our Medical Director will often try compression bandaging like unna boots, pneumatic compression pumps, or multi-layer compression wrapping first. These methods are more akin to wrapping a leaking pipe with duct tape; however, it may just be enough to heal a non-healing wound without resorting to the vein ablation procedure. At Encompass Healthcare, each patient is always given the full range of appropriate options.

So, you’re probably wondering what sorts of results we’ve seen with this venous ablation procedure, right? Great news! Patient outcomes after receiving a mechanical venous ablation with Dr. Ruben are very impressive. When treated for a non-healing, venous stasis leg wound, Dr. Ruben’s patients healed completely within 4 weeks!

If a patient or loved you know might be a candidate for venous ablation, give us a call. We can set up a consult in our comfortable and safe outpatient office and determine the best course of action for the patient’s healing process!

Vanderbilt Football Program Leads COVID-19 Adjustments

Posted on: March 8th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised complications across many aspects of our lives, causing us to make constant and sometimes unprecedented adjustments to our daily routines. As a nation and as a human race, we’ve all been dealt a similar hand this year – and the card we’ve all had in common is the risk of COVID-19. The way we separate ourselves is how we deal with this situation we are all in! Some of us have chosen to keep pushing through, to persevere, to stay positive, and this is such an incredible thing to see.

One example of this which has inspired us, in particular, is that of Vanderbilt University’s Football Program. What a show of leadership, perseverance, and determination! In case you hadn’t heard, Vanderbilt’s football team was recently faced with several players being infected with COVID-19 all at once, leaving them with a shortened roster and no kicker. They decided to ask a member of the Vanderbilt Women’s Soccer team, Sarah Fuller, to play as their kicker in games this season. And she said yes!

It’s important to note that Sarah Fuller is now the first female to ever play for a Power 5 college football team. Sarah is also just the third female to compete in the FBS, the highest level of college football. The other two athletes in this group were also kickers. Sarah Fuller has been named a Special Teams Player of the Week for her great performance in her first game with the Commodores. Congratulations Sarah Fuller! Way to persevere!

And to the Vanderbilt Football program, coaching staff, and entire team, way to persevere! We commend you on your refusal to quit, and your determination to find a way to get the job done! In such difficult times, it is important that we still do all we can and show ourselves and others that even in hardship or the face of adversity, we can still be great and have some fun along the way.

 

How Telemedicine Might Be Enhancing the American Healthcare System

Posted on: February 24th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Since the start of technology being so mobile and active in our everyday lives, the American healthcare system has utilized it to enhance the patient experience. Mandy medical offices use tablets instead of clipboards and paper to check patients in, medical records are now kept in online databases instead of paper charts, patients check doctor’s websites for the hours and available services rather than making a phone call or stopping by. The use of technology in medicine started small, yes. But now we’re looking at an almost industry-wide embrace of technology for the safety of patients and staff! And this shift even has its own catchy name, telemedicine!

 

Chances are, you’ve heard the term telemedicine. Especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become a very common term, describing the use of technology, phone calls, instant messaging, image sharing, or video calls to deliver medical consultation and care. It isn’t a tough concept to understand, but it’s changing the way we handle patient care.

 

Telemedicine is increasing the accessibility of physicians, specialists, and other healthcare professionals. Patients with disabilities, susceptible immune systems, or remote locations probably benefit the most from these technological advances, but in total, it seems to be improving the availability of care for all patients! Patients can now receive test results and imagery quicker than ever. The lab results or scans can be saved and sent via digital file and then interpreted by a medical physician over a phone call to the patient. Patient portals make medical records, bills, and past treatments accessible to patients 24/7.

 

One more recently popular addition to telemedicine is video conferencing between providers and patients. Patients who can’t make it into the office or hospital can video chat with their doctors, allowing them to feel more like they’re speaking face-to-face and allowing for more engagement than a phone call. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this feature has been very helpful for many physicians, healthcare providers, and especially for patients trying to limit exposure and risk. Patients who had tested positive for the virus were often asked to stay home and conduct their follow up appointments through telemedicine if they did not have to be hospitalized. Other patients who might have still been healthy, felt safer staying home than traveling to a doctors office where there might have been an opportunity for infection or exposure. Either way, providers offering telemedicine are helping mitigate risk.

 

Overall, we’ve found telemedicine to have a lot of positive changes, but in case you’re playing devil’s advocate, here’s a pros and cons list.

 

Pros:

  1. Immobile patients, patients with disabilities and those with great distance from healthcare providers can receive care more easily.
  2. Patients can easily contact providers for emergent situations.
  3. Diagnosis and Treatment Plans can be carried out quicker.
  4. Providers can keep their patients and staff members safer by keeping contagious patients at home while they receive care.
  5. Enables patients to have rehabilitation and treatment in their own home.
  6. Patients enjoy their privacy at home and get care at their convenience.

 

Cons:

  1. Smaller facilities and practices may not be able to keep up with technological advances even though they’re providing excellent care for their patients.
  2. Some patients may not feel comfortable using technology or may not have access to the necessary devices.
  3. Providers in some states may have issues billing insurances for telemedicine consults.
  4. Possible care delays, since life-saving care or laboratory tests, cannot be taken digitally.

 

If you or someone you know has participated in telemedicine, either as the patient or the provider, let us know. We’re interested in how things are turning out and how all parties are adjusting to this new phase in healthcare.

 

If you have questions about what services are available at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, you should contact our front desk or visit our website.

Meet the Wound Dogs of Encompass HealthCare

Posted on: February 6th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

At Encompass HealthCare, we believe that a calming, welcoming, and happy environment plays a big role in the healing of our patients! That is why Dr. Ruben, our medical director, has introduced two therapy dogs into our office! Inky and Pocket bring a sense of joy to our office each and every day! Many of our patients have attested to the calming effect the dogs have had on them and tell us they look forward to visiting the dogs at each appointment in our office.

Inky and Pocket have been nicknamed the Wound Dogs because of how quickly some of our patients have healed when they’ve spent extended time with the dogs. Many patients tell us how the Wound Dogs have lifted their spirits and given them the positive mindset they needed in order to heal! Pet therapy is so powerful!

Wound Dogs at Encompass Healthcare in West Bloomfield - Dr. Bruce Ruben

We believe in the effect a healthy, happy pet can have on a person’s mental health and their healing experience in general! It follows along closely with Dr. Ruben’s philosophy of treating the WHOLE PATIENT, not just the hole in the patient!

Judging by how much they wag their tails…we think our dogs love being therapy pets! They get to go on a long scenic walk each day and get lots of love and attention from our staff and patients! Not to mention, TREATS! If you happen to be in our office, make sure you say hi to Inky and Pocket, they’ll be happy to see you!

Infectious Disease and 2021

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Infectious Disease has become an even more interesting specialty over the past year. But although COVID-19 is still a large topic for us, there are other subjects and advancements to review as well!

Infectious Disease! Most of us probably haven’t really given those two words a thought in the past few years – that is until COVID-19 hit every news channel, radio station, and the population of almost every country in the world! Some of our young people, especially young children, may now think of COVID-19 as synonymous with Infectious Disease studies and medicine. Still, there are other facets of the Infectious Disease specialty that deserve recognition and attention – but today, we’re here to give some legitimate updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

One thing we found important to note is that, according to the CDC, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are still rising. This means that it isn’t yet safe to get back to our pre-2020 normal. Wearing a mask, distancing 6+ feet, and avoiding crowds are all great steps to help slow the spread of the disease. If we can slow the spread enough, we’ll all be able to help our amazing health care professionals and first responders to care for the sick and injured!

Next big ticket item… COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered! The CDC as well as your local health department will have information on where, when and how we all can get vaccinated! This is great news! With a working vaccine for COVID-19, we as a community may be able to return to a pre-pandemic normal much sooner. It also means that those who are vaccinated will have a much better chance of beating or fighting off the virus – should they be infected later on!

Now, although this vaccine is good news, we aren’t completely out of the woods just yet. Like we mentioned before, COVID-19 cases and deaths are still on the rise. So, there’s still reason for caution. Luckily, our medical director Dr. Bruce Ruben, along with our entire staff, have made a great effort to provide a safe and convenient place for patients to receive care, despite the pandemic and risk COVID-19 poses on us all. We have added to our sanitizing and social distancing routines here at the office, making sure to provide plenty of masks and hand sanitizers in the office for staff, patients, and visitors! We truly care about the safety of all parties in our office!
If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, we suggest you take a look at the source list we’ve provided. Below, you’ll find the website and articles we used to find factual information about the virus, pandemic, and the vaccine!

Our Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Healthy Eating is the Key!

Posted on: July 1st, 2020 by Jada Woody No Comments

One of the most important factors in a good healing regimen (after quality of care and patient compliance) is nutrition! We see lots of patients each day who are trying to heal a wound or burn, get rid of a nasty infection, or simply trying to get healthier overall, and one of the unfortunate things many of them have in common is poor nutrition. 

Most people don’t think about nutrition when they have an injury or wound. Patients often think first about what they can do for their symptoms, their pain or discomfort, and what can be done about the injury itself. Should they wrap it? Cleanse it? Keep it try or moisturized? To they need medications or an x-ray? These are all valid thoughts and questions of course, but if a patient follows all of these steps and guidelines, and doesn’t have the right diet or daily nutrition, they may still have trouble healing!

So here’s what we’ve found at Encompass HealthCare! A patient who is attempting to heal from a wound, injury, or infection, must have a well-balanced diet yes, but they may also need an increase in protein during the healing process! Now, let’s address both sides of this statement.

First, a well-balanced diet!

What does this really mean? Well, a dictionary definition would be that a well-balanced diet is one which gives the body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. Great! But we also have to recognize that the nutrients needed are actually different for each and every person. A seven year old girl does not need the same amount of proteins or fats or calories each day as a 28 year old NFL player does, right? So how do we know how much to eat of what?

Luckily, there are lots of great resources on the internet that can tell you exactly how much and what kinds of food you should be eating based on a number of factors like your sex, weight, height, age, activity level, allergies, etc. Some of these diet calculators can be extremely helpful. But to put it simply, most individuals can follow these very basic guidelines for healthy choices;

Nutrient Rich Food Groups:

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Fresh Vegetables
  • Lean Proteins
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes & Nuts

These food groups offer a great variety of nutrients, including proteins and healthy fats and sugars. Do what you can to substitute these food groups in for less healthy alternatives like bacon, fried chicken, pops and sugary drinks, white bread, candied fruits, ice cream, cake, energy drinks, sausages, etc. The more you can eat from the nutrient rich list instead of the unhealthy food items, the better off you will be!

Another important note in a well-balanced diet is the quantity of food you’re eating. Don’t overeat. Try going one week only eating when you actually feel hungry. Studies show that those who only eat when hungry actually enjoy food more, spend less at grocery stores and restaurants, feel healthier, and tend to lose excess body weight they may have had before. These are all great reasons to try it out!


Nutrition While Healing

Now, the other side of nutrition that we talk to our patients about is “Nutrition While Healing”! This changes things a bit! While we still encourage our patients to keep a well-balanced diet, we also recommend that patients increase the intake of proteins when coming back from an injury or infection or when healing a wound. This increase in protein helps the body gear up for the healing process and typically increases the speed at which patients heal.

Proteins have a very important job in the body and in the healing process! There’s a good reason athletes use proteins for post-workout drinks and shakes! Proteins are responsible for the structure, function, and regulation of our tissues and organs. Including muscles, bones, skin, and much more.

Your body needs protein to help repair any damage done to the body. And if there is a significant amount of damage, say a third degree burn over the forearm, the body will need more protein than normal to complete the task of repairing the tissues! Hence, our guideline for increased protein intake during the healing process!

Keeping in mind that each person and their body’s needs are different, we recommend consulting a doctor or nutritional expert before changing any part of your diet. This is to ensure that the changes are proportionate to your body’s needs without risking any further injury or illness! These are guidelines we use when helping our patients heal! If you or a patient you know are dealing with a wound, burn, or infection that hasn’t made great healing progress in over a month, give us a call. Our physicians and wound care experts will assess the issue and determine what the non-healing factor(s) may be.

We hope this message was helpful to you! Be sure to pass it along, we all can use a healthful tip once in a while! Remember, a balanced diet will not only help you heal, but also can keep you from getting injured or becoming sick! Stay healthy friends!

Phone: (248)624-9800

Address: 2300 Haggerty Rd. Suite 1190 West Bloomfield, MI 48323

Website: www.encompasshealthcare.com

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – Healing for Burns!

Posted on: June 4th, 2020 by Encompass Healthcare

In order to understand the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to heal burns, it is first important to understand the four burn classifications.

Classification of Burns
A first-degree or superficial burn affects only the epidermis or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, and dry with no blistering. A mild sunburn is one example of a first-degree burn. Long-term tissue damage is rare and usually consists of a lightening or a darkening in
the skin color.

In a second-degree or partial-thickness burn, the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin are damaged. The burn site appears red, blistered, and may be swollen and painful.

With a third-degree or full-thickness burn, the epidermis and dermis are destroyed. Burns where there is also damage to the underlying tendon, muscle, and bone are considered to be fourth-degree burns. The burn site appears white or charred and no sensation is felt in the area because the nerve endings have been destroyed and worse, the blood vessels carrying needed oxygen have also been destroyed.

hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-chamber-west bloomfield-michigan

Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Treating Burns
Therapeutic use of HBOT in burns is most often utilized for second and third degree burn cases. In third degree burns, the initial thermal injury occurs followed by circumferential, widening tissue loss. This means that the surrounding tissue of the burn also becomes damaged because the blood vessels have been destroyed as a consequence of the burn. When the blood vessels are destroyed, downstream blood flow from the burn site is arrested, propagating further tissue death due to a lack of oxygen.

When tissue death occurs, the body does not recognize that tissue as its own and perceives that it is a potentially harmful invader. This jeopardized tissue becomes a target for its own immune system and “attacks” the dying and surrounding tissues, resulting in more tissue death. This process is called ischemia reperfusion injury.

HBOT given within the first 48 to 72 hours following thermal injury increases the oxygen saturation to the body by up to 12 times that of breathing air at sea level. This can mitigate ischemia reperfusion injury and the possibility of advanced tissue destruction beyond the initial area of thermal injury by supplying the body with added oxygen that, in turn, can bring the damaged area “back to life.” This signals the body that the tissue is no longer a foreign invader and consequently, normal wound-healing processes are able to take place.

Beyond 72 hours, HBOT helps by continuing to promote new tissue growth, which encourages healing by aiding in the manufacturing of new blood vessels, which, in turn, make fibroblasts that are responsible for collagen production. In addition, HBOT reduces the body’s inflammation which otherwise would slow down the healing process. Finally, HBOT also offers infection control, as oxygen is the white blood cell’s weapon to kill bacteria.

In short, serious thermal burns patients are great candidates for hyperbaric oxygen therapy due to the mitigation of ischemia reperfusion injury, the promotion of new blood vessels and tissue growth, and the control of infection!

Patients who believe they may be candidates for HBOT should call our office. With a simple consultation from our physician, we can determine if HBOT is the right treatment for a patient. Appointments for our office can be made by phone or from our website. We’re here to help!

Encompass HealthCare – A Safe Place

Posted on: May 4th, 2020 by Jada Woody

If you or a loved one have tested positive for COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed, Dr. Bruce Ruben will gladly consult with you over the phone or by video conferencing! As a board-certified Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Ruben has prepared his entire career to deal. with infectious disease and pandemics like the one we find ourselves in now.

COVID-19 is not unfamiliar to Dr. Ruben. He has taken the time to study the virus and its affects. Dr. Ruben has done research not only on how to treat and cure the virus, but he’s also studied the successes that other countries have had against COVID-19 and has prepared to do the same!

Using this knowledge he gained from research, Dr. Ruben has decided to offer free telemedicine consults. This means if you need to be seen by Dr. Ruben, you don’t need to come into our office. We’ll conduct a virtual appointment for the health and safety of you, other patients, and of our staff.

For our patients who are still being seen for maladies other than COVID-19, our office has been sanitized to create a safe and worry-free environment for all. We are professionals when it comes to protecting from and preventing contagion, so you can feel rest assured that our office is a safe place to be treated, even in this time of uncertainty!

Remember, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not hospital-bound, you should first call our office! Dr. Ruben, as an Infectious Disease Specialist, can provide specified treatments for you while helping you avoid the need for a hospital stay! According to the CDC, hospitals have a very high rate of Healthcare-Acquired Infections. Which means just by being admitted, you are increasing your risk of additional infections by 5-10% (depending on the hospital). Don’t take the risk! Call Dr. Ruben today!

If you have the following symptoms; fever, cough and shortness of breath, you should call your primary care physician or call Dr. Ruben directly. Your physician will direct you on whether or not you should be tested for COVID-19. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately. The emergency warning signs are as follows, according to the CDC:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Again, Dr. Ruben is ready and willing to help. He and our staff are prepared to help. Please consult your doctor if you believe you should be tested and if you test positive for COVID-19 at any time, call Encompass Healthcare & Dr. Bruce Ruben!

Phone: (248)624-9800

For more information and recent updates on the COVID-19 virus, check the CDC’s website www.cdc.gov

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus

Posted on: February 5th, 2020 by Encompass Healthcare

Coronavirus continues to dominate the news as the epidemic spreads throughout China and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed cases in the United States. The first diagnosis of this novel (new) coronavirus named 2019-nCoV was in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and many nations have put restrictions in place for travel to and from China.

The confirmed cases in the United States currently are limited to Washington, California, Arizona and Illinois; however, the CDC is investigating potential cases in several other states, so more confirmations may be forthcoming.

On January 30, 2020, the CDC confirmed the first person-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus, between a husband and wife in Illinois. Subsequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus an international public health emergency, only the sixth time it’s done so. The CDC currently advises travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to China.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2019 novel coronavirus.

1. The 2019 novel coronavirus spreads from person to person, though not necessarily through actual contact. The CDC continues to research exactly how 2019-nCoV spreads, but does say it spreads from person to person. At this time, that doesn’t necessarily mean actual contact. With the previous outbreaks of similar conditions MERS and SARS, it was believed those viruses spread person to person when an infected person coughed or sneezed and virus particles were transmitted to others, much like how influenza and other respiratory viruses spread.

2. Symptoms range from mild to severe. The common cold is also spread by a coronavirus. For some patients, coronavirus symptoms mimic those of a common cold, while others experience the same symptoms that accompany a severe respiratory infection. These include runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. In some cases, the symptoms are so severe they require hospitalization and have resulted in death. Right now, the CDC believes symptoms can appear within two days or wait as long as 14 days after exposure.

3. Treatment options are limited to addressing the symptoms.
As research into 2019-nCoV continues, there is no specific antiviral treatment available or recommended to fight the virus at this time. Instead, patients infected with the virus should receive appropriate treatment to help relieve symptoms, as well as restrict any activity outside the home and avoid crowded areas in order to prevent transmission.

4. There is no vaccine for 2019-nCoV infection. Because there currently is no vaccine to protect against 2019-nCoV, the best prevention against the virus is to avoid exposure. In addition, to help prevent the spread of this and other viruses, the CDC recommends washing your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not available.

Also, always use a tissue to cover your cough or sneeze, and immediately discard the tissue. If you are sick, stay at home until you are well. Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with anyone else who is sick, and keep washing your hands.

While many stores are selling out of protective face masks, the CDC does not recommend them for coronavirus prevention. Instead, officials emphasize hand washing as more effective protection from this and any other virus.

5. The source of 2019 novel coronavirus is linked to animals, but not confirmed as the cause. Because many patients in the Wuhan, China, outbreak were linked to a large seafood and animal market, it’s possible the virus originated in an animal source. However, that cannot be confirmed until the results of analysis of the virus’ genetic tree become available. Other coronavirus that originated from animals include SARS (civet cats) and MERS (camels).

6. Speak to your doctor if you recently traveled to Wuhan, China, or other affected areas. If you returned from Wuhan, China, or other affected areas, or you think you came in contact with someone who could be infected, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Call your healthcare provider right away, and he or she will coordinate with your local public health department and the CDC to see if you should be tested.

For the most recent information about 2019 novel coronavirus, check the CDC website for updates, including the number of confirmed cases and advice for travelers.

 

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