Tidelands Health physician weighs in on COVID-19 treatment process
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - With South Carolina registering hundreds of new positive COVID-19 cases daily, some might be curious about the treatment process for the virus.
The good news is there are several options available for doctors.
Dr. Gerald Harmon, Tidelands Health vice president of medical affairs, said just because there are treatment methods, it doesn’t mean precautions like wearing a face mask and social distancing should be ignored.
Over the past six months, even doctors learned something new each day about COVID-19, including treatment methods.
Harmon said initially they thought they would use a viral treatment, which is like a standard influenza treatment with antivirals.
He added when they were reading overseas treatments, it was basically determined by symptoms. For example, if the patient experienced shortness of breath, they’d receive oxygen.
Harmon said other treatments started to be used over the past six months, one being Plaquenil Hydroxychloroquine which is typically used to help those with malaria.
Others used in the past couple of months include antivirals, which are similar to Tamiflu. Harmon noted the latest is called Remdesivir, which is a five-day treatment of an IV antibiotic.
Harmon said even with several treatment options, they aren’t preventative and they are not vaccines.
“A treatment does not mean you can let your guard down,” Harmon said. “I want to be optimistic about the treatment, but not overly optimistic about the transmission of the disease.”
Whether you’re a young child or elderly, you can still contract COVID-19 and the treatment for patients could vary depending on your age group.
Harmon said if it’s a child who has tested positive for COVID-19 but they have minimal symptoms, they don’t typically do too much. He added if they’re coughing, they’ll receive cough medicine and do their best to isolate them.
One of the higher risk categories are those 65 years and older, or those with underlying health issues. Harmon also spoke about the hospitalizations for some of those falling under those categories.
“Not all of them necessarily need the aggressive IV form of medication, not all of them even need to be hospitalized,” Harmon said. “We really don’t tend to hospitalize just because they are older and technically at higher risk, we watch them real carefully.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an updated list of symptoms for the virus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
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