Author: 9th Street Internal Medicine

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

As your primary care providers, we at Ninth Street Internal Medicine and MDVIP would like to encourage everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. We believe in both the safety and efficacy of this vaccine. If you would like to learn more about how mRNA vaccines work, we encourage you to visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html to learn more.

Anyone who still has questions or reservations about getting the vaccine should schedule a phone appointment to discuss with your doctor. This vaccine is the best way for all of us to end this pandemic and get back to normal life! Continue reading “COVID-19 Vaccine Information”

Diabetes Tips

Staying Motivated With Diabetes.

Staying motivated while managing your diabetes can be tough. That’s especially true this year when getting out of the house is more difficult than usual. You don’t have to do it alone, though. To stay motivated, set goals (with a reward, of course) or enlist the help of your family. There are even online exercise classes and support groups that can help you manage your health while socially distancing. And for when the going gets tough, make a list of all the reasons why you want to manage your disease. Continue reading “Diabetes Tips”

Covid FAQs

I’ve had COVID-19 symptoms and have been self-isolating. When is it safe for me to be around other people?

If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19, staying away from others is the right thing to do. Self-isolating can help keep the virus from spreading.

It’s safe to be around others again when:

  • You haven’t had a fever for 24 hours while not taking medicines to lower the fever, and
  • Your symptoms have improved, and
  • It’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether you also need testing, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

 

Do children get the same symptoms of COVID-19 as adults?

Yes, children get the same symptoms as adults, such as a fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition that’s probably related to COVID-19. It causes inflammation, which can affect the heart and other organs. A child with MIS-C usually has a fever for 24 hours or longer, plus other symptoms. Examples include belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, and red eyes. Most children get better with treatment.

Can immunoglobulin be used to treat COVID-19?

Doctors and hospitals are starting clinical trials to see if this treatment will help to fight COVID-19. Immunoglobulin (also called gamma globulin or immune globulin) is made from the blood of people who have recovered from an infection. In the case of COVID-19, it contains antibodies that fight COVID-19. When a person gets an infection, the body responds by making antibodies. These antibodies attack the infection and help the body fight it.

The hope is that if immunoglobulin is given to someone who is very ill from the virus, the antibodies will help that person fight and overcome the infection. Experts don’t yet know if this will work and be safe for people with a serious COVID-19 infection. It seems to help in some other serious infections.

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 live?

A new study shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive in an aerosol form for at least 3 hours. An aerosol is something under pressure that can be released as a spray, like a sneeze or a cough.

The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 3 days, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.  How well it survives may depend on the surface it’s on. In the study, the virus lasted longest on plastic and stainless steel. It didn’t live as long on cardboard.

Because the virus can live for hours to days, it’s especially important to keep items around you clean. Experts advise disinfecting surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as tables, door handles, faucets, toilets, handrails, and remote controls. You can use household disinfectants, a bleach solution, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.

Why is the virus making some young and healthy people very sick?

Experts don’t know why some people, even those who are healthy, get very sick. Overall, COVID-19 seems to cause fewer problems in people who are young and healthy. Those who are older or have other health problems, like diabetes or heart disease, have a higher risk of getting very sick. But the virus can affect anyone, even those who are young and healthy. And it can cause serious problems (even death) at any age.

Will antibiotics help prevent or treat COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. Viruses are different than bacteria. Antibiotics don’t help and can even cause other problems.

What is the average length of COVID-19 illness (mild and severe)?

The length of time someone is sick with COVID-19 varies. It depends on how sick a person is. When people are mildly ill, they usually get better in 1 or 2 weeks. People who are more severely ill have worse symptoms, like severe shortness of breath and pneumonia. They need care in a hospital. They usually get better in 3 to 6 weeks. Some people who get very sick may need even more time to recover.

Some people with COVID-19 have very mild or no symptoms. They may get over the infection without even knowing they had it.

What is a ventilator? Why is it so important in this outbreak?

A ventilator is a machine that breathes for a person when they can’t breathe well enough on their own. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. This means it can affect the breathing systems of the body, especially the lungs. Most people with COVID-19 don’t get seriously ill. But when someone is very ill, the infection affects the lungs so severely that breathing is hard or impossible.

A ventilator has a tube that goes through the mouth into the lungs. The machine brings oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide. A ventilator is important because it does the work of the lungs and gives them time to heal. After they heal, the tube can be removed.

One of the main concerns about this virus is whether there will be enough ventilators if many people get sick at the same time.

How is COVID-19 treated?

If you have mild symptoms, you can care for yourself at home while you are in isolation. Your doctor may have you take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever. Treatment in the hospital for more serious cases includes support, such as a ventilator (to help with breathing) and medicines. Some people may be placed on their belly to help their oxygen levels.

What Should I Do if I Get COVID-19?

Having COVID-19 can be scary, but most people do recover. If you do get it, be sure to get plenty of rest and treat your fever. You should also do what you can to avoid spreading COVID-19 to anyone else. Stay home, wear a face mask when around other people, call ahead before going to the doctor, and stay at least 6 feet away from the people around you.

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms, please visit:
https://www.healthwise.org/specialpages/covid-19-resources.aspx#anchor_SymptomChecker

COVID-19 Office Policies & Updates

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner at Ninth Street Internal Medicine will work with you to decide whether an appointment in the office is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.  Please call our office at (215) 440-8681 or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center if you have questions about your care after reading the following information.

How we are keeping you safe and healthy

  1. If you are sick or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, please contact our office.
  2. We are seeing sick patients in the office during special hours in the late afternoon, and we are still doing telehealth visits as well.
  3. We can perform both rapid COVID-19 testing and send-out COVID-19 testing at our office depending on what you need, as well as regular flu and strep testing too. Please schedule an appointment so you can discuss with a medical provider what is best for you.
  4. Due to limited resources during the current COVID-19 surge, we will not be performing COVID-19 testing on patients who are asymptomatic and without any known exposure.
  5. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate at home until your appointment. The optimal window for testing is 5-7 days after exposure, but please call us right away so we can make all of the proper arrangements for you.
  6. If you live in the same household with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are at a high risk of becoming infected. You should quarantine at home until you can be sure that you are not infected. Please schedule a telehealth visit for specific instructions for your individual situation. Please visit the CDC website for more instructions about what to do or for more information about quarantine.

Is it better for me to schedule a telemedicine visit or an in-person visit?

Virtual/Telemedicine Visits allow you to use a phone or desktop device to speak with your physician. Examples of when telemedicine may be appropriate include:

  • Minor illnesses, like a cold or sinus infection
  • Minor injuries, like small cuts or sprains
  • Non-severe symptoms from a chronic condition
  • General health concerns or questions
  • Annual wellness visits
  • Anyone with respiratory symptoms, or other symptoms concerning for a COVID-19 infection, MUST speak with a provider by phone or video before coming in to the office.

In-Person Visit

There are times where it will be best to see your doctor in person for more complex and personalized care. For example:

  • Cancer screenings and treatments
  • Complex chronic disease care
  • Vaccines
  • Certain worrisome symptoms including stomach pain, pelvic pain or other gynecologic symptoms, chest pain, headache, certain musculoskeletal problems.

Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal if you have questions about what type of appointment is recommended.

Can I postpone my in-office appointment?

It is more important than ever to take care of your health, especially chronic conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic heart and lung conditions. Cancer screening and immunizations are also crucial to your continued health. Some routine care may be able to wait, but other issues are important to address quickly. Your provider will determine if an office appointment is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.

Is it safe for me to go to my upcoming doctor’s appointment?

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of all patients and staff who enter the office. These include:

  • No COVID-19 testing is being done in the office. No patients with current symptoms of, or recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 will be permitted in the office.
  • Pre-appointment symptoms screening
  • Temperature check for all staff and patients on arrival
  • Masks must be worn by staff and patients at all times while in the office.
  • No-waiting in the waiting room. Patients will be taken directly to an exam room after check in
  • Limitations on the number of staff and patients in the office each day will help us to follow recommended social distancing guidelines
  • No walk-in hours. Please contact the office first to schedule all appointments
  • Exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between patients.

What should I do to prepare to come in for an appointment?

  • One day before your appointment, the office will contact you to screen you for COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), a doctor or nurse practitioner will contact you to review your symptoms and determine next steps.
  • Wear a face covering or mask to your visit.

What type of face covering is appropriate to wear?

Your face covering should cover the nose and mouth, and be secured to the head with ties or straps, or wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Face masks with one-way exhalation valves should not be worn. These masks filter the air that is inhaled by the person wearing it, protecting them from dust and small particles in their surroundings. However, the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the environment, putting those around the wearer at risk.

For more information about face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19, please see the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Woman wearing face masks

Should I have bloodwork done?

Yes. Routine bloodwork is important for preventing, monitoring, and managing many chronic conditions. It may also be important to monitor bloodwork if you take certain medications. If you have an upcoming annual physical exam appointment, or if you typically have bloodwork done before appointments (such as for diabetes), we request that you have bloodwork done. Most LabCorp and Quest Diagnostic laboratories remain open, and are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We recommend that you schedule an appointment to have bloodwork done with your nearest lab. Please call the office if you have specific questions.

Can I bring a family member or caregiver to my appointment?

Individuals with physical or cognitive limitations who require the assistance of another person to attend their appointment are permitted to bring one person with them to the appointment. To help us limited the number of individuals in the office and follow social distancing guidelines, we request that patients who are able to do so come to their appointments unaccompanied.

Since I scheduled my appointment, I lost my job and no longer have health insurance (or my insurance changed). What should I do?

We are committed to helping all of our patients get the care that they need. Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.

Where can I find more information?

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 infection
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Testing for COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/index.html

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Information about the end of stay-at-home orders and the gradual reopening of Philadelphia
https://www.phila.gov/2020-05-29-what-the-yellow-phase-means-for-philadelphia/
https://www.phila.gov/guides/safer-at-home/

Guidelines for people who have close contact with someone who has COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

Self-isolation guidelines for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

Caring for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html

Guidelines for Caregivers who are sick
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/parents-caregivers.html

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the office is changing how we provide medical care to our patients during this difficult time.

We are here to handle your chronic medical problems as well as urgent conditions which may arise, whether related to the current pandemic or not. We do not want you to postpone care for your chronic medical conditions.

If you have an upcoming follow up visit or physical already scheduled, we will not be seeing you in the office. Instead your visit will be conducted by a video-enabled virtual visit or by phone if you do not have computer or smart phone capabilities. Please reserve that time so that your provider can reach you for a virtual visit. Someone from NSIM will call you one to two days prior to assist in setting this up and to review your medications, and any preventive medical needs.

See other documents on this web page to find instructions for downloading the Healow app on your smart phone. The Healow app is a great resource and is the easiest way for you to do a video visit, and message your provider.

We will be billing your insurance company for any time the provider spends with you whether video visit, phone call or web message. There will be no cost to you for copays.

If you have an urgent problem, please call us and a provider will call you back to help you. If we feel that you need to be seen in the office, we have a limited number of providers who are seeing patients in the office by scheduled appointment starting 8am to 1:30pm Monday thru Friday for non-respiratory issues.

We will not have walk in hours – please call the office first.

If you have any respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, fever, or nasal congestion, please call us and a provider will evaluate you over the phone and determine your need for an office visit or testing. All visits for respiratory illnesses will take place in a heated tent in the parking lot behind our building and are by appointment only.

At times of communal stress like this, reaching out to friends and family with encouragement and support helps both the giver and the receiver. We need to stay connected!

Downloads:

Coronavirus Update

In an effort to prevent seasonal viral infections, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus), in our community, Ninth Street Internal Medicine is requesting that if you are experiencing symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fever, please call the office immediately at (215) 440-8681. We have special appointment times available for patients with these symptoms to minimize the risk of exposure for the rest of our patients.

For More Information Download:

Coronavirus fact sheet

Coronavirus fact sheet if you are sick

COVID-19 Vaccine


We are sorry to inform you that, although we had originally planned to partner with Centennial Pharmacy Services to administer the COVID 19 vaccine shots in our office, we will be unable to
do so.

We realize that this is disappointing to many of you, as we were hoping to make it easy for our patients to obtain the vaccine. However, the Philadelphia Health Department has decided to not distribute COVID Vaccine through physician offices but to focus instead on retail pharmacies, large mega-sites, collaborative arrangements with community groups, places of worship and large hospital systems.

We recommend that you go to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia Health department websites as well as those neighborhood pharmacies to find a vaccination location near you to schedule your shot. See the links below. If you are physically unable to leave your home, call our office and we can help you arrange to have a nurse come to your home to administer the vaccine.

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx

https://covid-vaccine-interest.phila.gov/?lang=en-US

Please be sure to let us know when you’ve been fully vaccinated and we will update your health record.

WE URGE ALL OF OUR PATIENTS TO GET THE VACCINE. If you have any concerns about the safety, effectiveness, rapidity of development or other issues regarding the COVID vaccines, please contact your primary care provider at NSIM.

Please be sure to let us know when you’ve been fully vaccinated and we will update your health record. Once you have been vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidelines to fully protect yourself and others. https://ww.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.fully-vaccinated.html

Please be patient. No one will be truly safe until everyone in our country who desires the vaccine has received it.  Please continue to wear your mask when outside of your home, maintain social distance, wash your hands, and follow other guidelines from the health department and CDC. Once you receive the vaccine, you will need to strictly maintain these precautions at all times until our public health officials tell us otherwise.

Wishing you good health,

The NSIM and MDVIP physicians, Nurse practitioners, and Staff

Call us (215) 440-8681  | View COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Info