COLORADO SPRINGS — Before COVID-19, a sore throat, runny nose and headache were often simply chalked up to a cold, and many of us would press on with daily life and work. But now, in our new reality of COVID and all it brings with it, what do doctors recommend you should do now that summer colds and respiratory viruses are circulating across the nation – and locally - at higher rates than normal?
Dr. Ian Tullberg, the Urgent Care Medical Director for UCHealth, says, “When you get sick, one of the biggest things you need to do is judge for yourself: Is this something I need to see a doctor for? Think about things like, ‘have I had COVID? Am I vaccinated?’ That’s why urgent cares are out there, and your primary care physician is there for a reason. Both are there to evaluate you and see what needs to be done. If you have any questions, please come in and see us, and we can help you with that.”
Some people may already know what they need to do when these symptoms pop up based on what their employer requires. Dr. Tullberg says, “Your job might require or recommend what you need to do. I've seen all kinds of folks coming in who are doing well, but they come in and say, ‘My job is requiring this’ or ‘They're requiring me to get a COVID test or get a note.’ So you may have those requirements, and if you do, come on in. We can help take care of that.”
Dr. Tullberg adds that there is one way to significantly decrease your chances of those cold symptoms actually being COVID. “I would absolutely recommend getting your vaccines - that's the biggest thing. COVID, flu - whatever vaccines you are actually supposed to have at your particular age, whether it be pneumonia or shingles, make sure you are up-to-date.”
Finally, when you are symptomatic - no matter what it may be, wearing a mask will significantly decrease your chances of sharing what you have with others, says Dr. Tullberg. “That only makes sense. Masks are not going to protect everyone 100% of the time, but we know that they can absolutely help. If you're feeling sick, if you need to go out, to the store or even the drugstore to get something to get you feel better, put on a mask even if you're COVID vaccinated. It doesn't mean you're going to be spreading COVID, but you might be spreading a common cold.”
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