What to do when Exposed or Sick with a Virus

We said we’d keep monitoring things and adapting our mask policy as appropriate and we did just that over 2 weeks ago, so we wanted to send the word out through this newsletter.  We’ve also noticed people are confused about what to do if they have been exposed to Covid-19 or start to feel sick, so we’ve put together a summary.  We’ve pulled together this information in one place in hopes of easing stress and confusion about all of this, because stress isn’t fun and doesn’t help your immune system.  

Scroll through below for info on:

  • Mask Policy Update At Thrive
  • Cancelling Your Appointment At Thrive If You Feel Sick Or Have Been Exposed
  • What To Do If You Feel Sick Or Have Been Exposed
  • Growing More Peaceful Stress Reduction
  • What We’re Treating In The Clinic

Mask Policy Update At ThriveMasks on Again:  We’re asking everyone, including those who are vaccinated, to wear their masks at all times at Thrive again. We’ve been telling patients in person for the past 2+ weeks and everyone has been understanding and on board.  We adapted quickly as needed, and updated our website, but it took me a bit longer to get this newsletter out.  Now everyone will be caught up and some of you will know ahead of your next appointment.

The Change:  Since June 15th we had been allowing fully vaccinated patients to go maskless while they were in their room by themselves for their acupuncture nap. This was based on the information that they were much less likely to become infected with or transmit SARS-CoV-2. But there’s new information that it’s becoming more common for vaccinated people to become infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2. Right now there is just too much unknown about how the virus and its variants are spreading even among vaccinated people.  So it’s time to adapt and ask everyone to keep their masks on to keep us, our patients, and our small business safe so we can continue to help lots of people.

As a healthcare facility we’ve been following the CDC guidelines and asking everyone to wear masks in all the public places of our office, so this won’t be a very big change. And it’s important to me that we adapt right now and be extra safe until we know more.

Thrive is Not the Grocery Store:  It is unique in that patients get to rest in a room alone for half an hour. When the CDC was saying that fully vaccinated people were less likely to have infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 we were allowing fully vaccinated patients that showed proof of vaccination to be maskless when they were resting by themselves.  We were excited to move in the direction of less masks.  But viruses change, information changes, and we will keep adapting.

One thing some people don’t realize is that patients come to Thrive who are immunocompromised or at higher risk for severe disease from COVID-19. Those patients can choose to not go to the grocery store or out to eat, but I would like for them to be able to come here since acupuncture is so helpful for them. And I want for them to feel safe and for us to know we did everything we could to support their health.

Guidelines:  On August 3 Sonoma County guidelines aligned with the CDC regarding masks. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can transmit the virus to others. In order to reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and spreading it to others, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. Currently Sonoma County falls into this category and is requiring all individuals to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings.

Any Concerns?  As always we’ll keep monitoring the situation and new information and adapt as appropriate. If you have any questions or concerns let us know right away by emailing or calling us so we can discuss them with you. As always, we welcome your feedback and have lots of solutions and options. One thing we’ve learned at a deeper level from the pandemic is that we’re all in this together!

Please Cancel Your Appointment If You Feel Sick or Have Been Exposed to Covid-19If you have any suspicion that you have a cold or virus that could be Covid-19 or have been exposed to Covid-19, we ask that you err on the side of caution and cancel your appointment with us.  In case you’ve lost track, Covid-19 can start with new symptoms of sore throat, cough, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle or body aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

We know that it’s not always as clear as black or white, so please call or email as soon as you realize you might be sick or wonder if you should cancel, and we’ll help you get clear.  We will do our best to call you back so we can talk with you because we know it can feel unsettling and we can get and share more information in a phone conversation.

Thanks to all our patients who have been being extra cautious and cancelling their appointments with us if they start to feel sick or have been exposed to Covid-19.  This is how we’ve been able to stay healthy and keep our small business open so we can help lots of people safely.  It feels like you’ve partnered with us and we appreciate that more than we can express in this newsletter.

Now What? What To Do If You’re Sick or Exposed?Don’t feel bad if you are confused about what to do, just give us a call.  As a physical medicine practice that works with patients in person we stay up to date on guidelines, information about the virus, what is going on in our community, and what herbs, supplements, and other treatments are helping patients in order to make our office policies and support patients who get sick.  We talk about this topic a lot, with each other and with patients. This is what we do.  And we are happy to help. 

We’ve been fielding these questions the whole pandemic and lately people are more confused than ever.  The virus has changed, information about what protection vaccination provides has changed, guidelines have changed, and our office policies have changed.  No wonder people are confused!  Things can change quickly, but here is a summary of the current recommendations if you are sick or exposed to Covid-19. 

Herbs and Supplements: To start give us a call or email to cancel your appointment, if you have one, and check in with us to make sure you have herbs and supplements.  There are great herbs and supplements to support your immune system for prevention after an exposure or for reducing symptoms and stopping viruses in their tracks if you are sick.  Lots of patients have some at home just in case.  So many have told us over the past year how helpful the herbs have been for preventing or stopping colds, flus, and viruses.  With the start of back to school lots of people have been stocking up.  Ask me about herbs at your next appointment and we’ll find the best options for you and your family to have on hand just in case.  If you don’t have stock at home and you’ve been exposed or start feeling sick, we can arrange to set them outside for pickup.

Don’t Panic:  If you are more than mildly sick or know you have Covid-19, don’t panic, remember that most people recover at home from Covid-19.  You should get in touch with your trusted medical professionals for their support and so that you know what to do if things take a turn for the worse.  This can ease your mind so you can rest and recover better.

Remember to spend some time picturing your health.  What does it look like and feel like to be healthy?  What will you be doing and who will you be with as you enjoy your strong energetic body?  No matter how much you try to avoid it, there’s a lot of information coming at us about people struggling with being sick.  What we think about influences our physiology so we need to give some airtime to thoughts about our resiliency and our strong and effective immune systems.

Next Steps:  This is the part where people get really confused lately.  We’re happy to discuss this with you if it comes up and here’s an overview in the meantime:

Exposed: If you have had close contact with someone who has Covid-19 (including the 2 days before they had symptoms) you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure.  The virus takes some time to take hold and replicate enough so that a test will be able to pick up the infection.

The guidelines say that if you are not vaccinated you should quarantine for 10 days; if your test is negative you can reduce your quarantine to 7 days.

If you are vaccinated and not showing symptoms the guidelines say you can wear a mask when you are indoors in public until you get a negative test result.  It’s also good common sense that you should limit your exposure to anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk for severe disease from COVID-19 even if you are vaccinated, and some people choose to quarantine until they get a negative test.

Feeling Sick: If you start to feel sick with new symptoms of sore throat, cough, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle or body aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting you should start quarantine right away and test for Covid-19 as soon as possible.

If you are positive for Covid-19 you should quarantine for 10 days since the start of symptoms or, if you don’t have symptoms, the day the sample was taken.  You can stop quarantine after 10 days as long as your symptoms are improving and you have not had a fever for 24 hours without the use fever reducing medications.

Testing: You can get a rapid test that gives you results in about 15 minutes.  They have them at testing centers and you can also buy an at home rapid test from all the usual pharmacy stores or online.  A lot of people are buying at home rapid tests to have on hand if they start to feel sick.  The good thing about the rapid tests is that the results are fast.  The downside is that they are not the most accurate and can have false negatives.  False positive results are not that common from the rapid tests, especially if you have symptoms, so if you get a positive test you can assume you are positive and start quarantine.

You may want to follow up with a PCR test because they are more accurate.  They have them at testing centers and you can order some online that will be delivered by F0edex for you to take the sample yourself, and then you send it back by Fedex to the lab.  The good thing about the PCR test is that it is more accurate.  The downside is that it takes longer to get results so you are in limbo for a little bit of time.

Still Confused? If you are as confused as you were before you started reading this, here is a helpful decision tree that outlines what to do if you are exposed: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSKWaiwrgNK/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Upcoming Events

I’ve noticed that more people have been struggling with stress, anxiety, and low moods lately.  If you want to explore being more peaceful no matter what is going on around us come join us this and every Tuesday afternoon for a zoom conversation where we take a breather from all the noise and make room to grow more peaceful, even now!
Weekly Virtual Zoom Conversation
Tuesdays 4pm – 5pm PST every week
Hosts: Julie Gleeson, Founder of The Art of Living Inc, and
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc from Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness Corp.
 Click this link to our event page for more info and the link to register.
We’re so confident in how helpful this conversation is that the first month is FREE, so you can come check it out without any pressure.  Click this link to our event page for all the information about the community and the link to register.

What We’re Treating in the Clinic–DigestionLately I’ve been seeing an increase in patients with digestive imbalances.  Sometimes it’s stress, other times patients aren’t sure what is causing it but they are fed up with IBS, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, gas, bloating, heartburn, or nausea. The good news is that digestion responds particularily well to acupuncture and I practice a style of acupuncture that is really quick at balancing the digestive system.  Most patients report an instant improvement in their comfort as soon as the points go in and that things have already started to turn a corner after their first treatment.  Of course there are also dietary changes, herbs, and supplements to support sustained improvements in your digestion.

One thing I hear a lot that makes me want to get on my soapbox (which doesn’t happen very often) is that a Western Medicine doctor has told a patient that their digestive imbalance can’t be helped by diet or that it will be a lifelong illness.  Did you know that Western Medicine doctors aren’t required to study nutrition–even gastrointestinal doctors!?  Why are they giving nutrition advice?  I don’t know.  And I see improvements in patients’ digestive systems all the time.  It’s one of the things that I see on a new patient’s list of complaints and I think “I can help them!”  So why are doctors telling patients their digestive problem will be with them for life?  I don’t know that either.  It makes me want to yell from my rooftop “If you are having digestive issues, seek help from a healthcare professional who is trained or licensed in nutrition, like an acupuncturist.”  Acupuncturists are licensed to give dietary advice, herbs, and supplements in addition to acupuncture.  It’s part of the thousands of hours of study and clinical practice for our degrees and is in our 8 hour board exam.   OK I’ll get off my soapbox / rooftop now.

Established patients can make an appointment at our new online booking site. You’re also always welcome to call or email us to make an appointment.

New patients need to call or email us to set up their first appointment because there is just too much information we need to share with you.

Here’s to resilient bodies and vibrant immune systems!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc

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