COVID-19 is a viral infection that attacks the lower lungs, resulting in flu-like symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath in cases that are more severe. While the majority of those who contract the disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, will suffer mild effects, for the elderly and those with ongoing health issues, the virus is often much more serious. These ongoing health issues include patients who have cardiovascular disease and hypertension. These two conditions, along with diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are among the most dangerous to have when fighting Coronavirus. In addition, a recent study of 138 hospitalized patients – those suffering the worst from the disease – 16.7 percent suffered arrhythmia, and 7.2 percent suffered acute cardiac injury. So Coronavirus’s effects on the heart can be dramatic and long-lasting.

At PHVC, we care about you, your families and your enduring health. We urge you take simple precautions during this ongoing public health crisis. In that spirit, we want to share our best advice for you at the moment.

First, and most importantly wash your hands. Often. Do so thoroughly (think front and back, between the fingers and under the nails) for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after touching public surfaces, including pens used to sign checks in restaurants and credit card machines. Use a wipe on your credit card after receiving it back from a waiter or clerk. Be aware of what you touch and try to not touch your face without first washing or sanitizing your hands immediately prior.

If you are at higher risk, avoid crowds. This means restaurants, bars, places of worship, yoga classes, spin classes, and anywhere you might be in a group of more than 10 people. Take out, drive-thru and delivery are fine alternatives. Social distancing is key. Stay six feet away from everyone you meet, whenever it is possible to do so. Make sure to stay hydrated, take your medicines as prescribed, and get plenty of rest.

You should know that each of our offices, we are taking these precautions, and many more, to ensure your good health, and the health of our doctors, PAs, nurses and team members. We remain dedicated to providing you with the best in cardiovascular care.

Finally, should you develop symptoms like those described above, isolate yourself and call your primary care physician. Testing is becoming more widely available, and your primary care physician will be able to direct you to appropriate next steps.