Sometimes you just don’t feel well. For patients that have come down with an acute illness or a flare up of a chronic condition, we make every effort to schedule a timely appointment.
Some of the most common sick visits we see are for:
- Coughs and colds
- COVID-19 exposure
- Flu or flu-like symptoms
- Headaches and migraines
- Sprains or strains
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bronchitis or asthma exacerbation
- Sinusitis or worsening of chronic sinus congestion
- Allergies (environmental or food)
- Urinary tract infections
- Diarrhea or food poisoning
- Lacerations and need for sutures (stitches)
- Skin infections
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed our approach to acute care and sick visits.
Now, more than ever, we rely on rapid antigen testing not only for COVID-19 but also to test for other possible pathogens like streptococcus, and influenza. With results returning in 10-15 minutes, rapid antigen testing is an invaluable tool for diagnosis as well as for preventing the spread of illness with timely case isolation. Quidel QuickVue is our current testing of choice for COVID-19 (link: https://www.quidel.com/immunoassays/quickvue-sars-antigen-test) and we use Consult Diagnostics for influenza testing (link: https://mms.mckesson.com/resources/flu-management/mckesson-consult-influenza-a-b-test). Because of the risk of transmitting COVID-19 within an office setting, we began in March of 2020 testing patients with suspected infection at the curbside of our building.
In many instances we will also send an additional sample to our reference laboratory (LabCorp, www.labcorp.com ) which can perform Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing as well as formal bacterial and viral cultures. For those with gastrointestinal illnesses or food borne illness, stool samples can also be sent for testing. There are more companies offering respiratory ‘panels’ which look for 20 or more possible viruses in a single sample. However, these tend to be cost prohibitive ($200 or more) for routine use.
Additionally, telemedicine and video consultation modalities can be used when patients feel too sick to leave their home. These were resources we used only rarely before the COVID-19 pandemic but we are now well versed and experienced with their benefits, and limitations.
General advice that we provide patients to help avoiding illness includes:
- Practice good hand hygeine. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Need instructions on doing so? See: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-services/resources/Documents/handwashing_factsheet_en.pdf
- Avoid close contact with others who have signs and symptoms of a cold or upper respiratory infection.
- Stay home from work and school when you are sick.
- Get tested for COVID or seasonal flu if concerned for such specifically.