How do we Fight an Invisible Enemy?
COURIER LIFE, MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 2020 17
We are fighting a deadly
disease. Americans unfortunately
are getting confusing answers to
their many questions regarding
the Corona Virus or Covid 19.
Recently, I’ve been on Bellevue’s
Volunteer Hotline answering
questions from frightened New
Here are some of the most
frequently asked questions:
1) Where can I get tested?
Who is getting tested?
At this time, only patients who
have breathing problems and
are in need of hospitalization
for oxygen or ventilation are
being tested. The hospitals have
stopped all ambulatory COVID
19 testing. Unless you are having
shortness of breath, avoid the
hospital emergency room. You
will only expose yourself further
to other people who may be
infected. If you have questions,
call the Covid-19 Hotline at
medical professional will answer
your call and transfer you to a
doctor who can help you.
2) What symptoms should I
look out for?
Low-grade fever, dry cough,
chest heaviness and sore throat.
Some patients complained of
inability to smell or taste.
3) What should I take for my
Take Tylenol. Do not take Advil,
Motrin, Aleve or Ibuprofen.
4) What if my breathing gets
worse and I can’t get to the
Call 911. If you can get to the
hospital on your own, call a car.
Roll down the windows and cover
your mouth and nose
5) How can I protect myself
and my family?
The virus is transmitted by hand
to hand contact as well as via
droplets. Washing your hands for
20 seconds often is the best way
to protect yourself and others.
If you are coughing, cough into
your elbow. Wipe down surfaces
with a cleaner containing bleach.
Remove clothing that may
have been exposed and wash
immediately. The virus can stay
on surfaces for several days.
The only way to not get sick is
to not be exposed.
Families may need to distance
themselves from each other. Kids
are often asymptomatic carriers
of this virus. Grandparents
are at higher risk of having
complications from the infection.
If possible, consider isolating
higher risk members of the
family (those over 60 years old,
those with co-morbidities like
diabetes, high blood pressure,
heart disease, lung disease and
6) If I’m exposed, when is it
safe for me to be near others.
The virus can stay alive for days.
Keep quarantined for at least 14
days then continue to practice
social-distancing of staying at
least 6 feet from other people.
7) When can I go back to work
if I get a mild case of COVID?
Every institution has their own
policies for return to work. Make
sure you are communicating with
your respective employer about
onset of symptoms and guidance
regarding return to work.
Written by Mille R. Fell, MD, FACS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology NYU
8) Can my kids have playdates?
Unfortunately, no. Social
distancing is our best chance
at curbing this pandemic;it
means minimizing our in-person
interactions with anyone outside
our home. Children can be infected
and can spread COVID-19 to
others. Symptoms in children are
9) Can I take my kids to the
Unfortunately, no. In a crowded
playground, it is nearly impossible
to keep a safe distance of 6 to 10
feet from others. The equipment
may also harbor virus.
10) Can I still take walks
Yes, you can take walks outdoors,
sit on your porch, or kick a ball
around, as long as you are at least
6 feet away from people who do not
live in your home.
11) Can our nanny/babysitter/
piano teacher/cleaner still come?
Unfortunately, no. Only people
living with you should be entering
your home at this time. People can
spread COVID-19 to others before
they show symptoms.
12) Is it safe to go to the
grocery store or pharmacy?
If you are healthy and haven’t
been exposed to anyone with
COVID-19, then it is OK to shop
for essential items like groceries
and medication. Try to visit
stores at off-peak times, wipe
down cart handles with sterilizing
wipes, and spend a minimum of
13) I’m young and healthy, this
is unlikely to affect me. Can I
still go to the gym?
adequately sterilize gym equipment
between uses and close proximity to
others outside your home is strongly
discouraged. Consider going for
a walk or run outdoors if you can
maintain 6 to 10 feet distance from
others. In-home exercise, such as
yoga or pilates, are safe alternatives
and a number of streaming services/
apps can provide guidance.
14) Which is safer, takeout or
The risk with both is minimal, but
not zero. COVID-19 may live on
certain surfaces for many hours or
days, so it’s theoretically possible
to get it by touching something an
infected person has touched and
then touching your mouth or nose.
Please wash your hands before and
after handling takeout containers.
Have the food left outside your door.
What are we doing at Brighton
Eye right now?
At this time, we unfortunately are
not seeing patients. We have staff
answering the phones Monday
through Friday from 9-3 to help
patients. If a staff member can
not help, the patient is triaged to
Dr Fell who will conducting phone
and video consultations. We are in
contact with our patients who may
need urgent care and referring
them for immediate treatment.
Please visit our website at
BrightonEye.com and our
Please stay safe and heed
Governor Cuomo’s directives.
Millie R. Fell, MD
2025 Kings Hwy, Brooklyn, NY 11229