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Use a Virtual Visit When You Have Cold, Flu, or COVID-19 Symptoms

Fayetteville, Ga. (Dec. 17, 2020) – This year every cough, sniffle, sneeze or body ache could be more than just the common cold and the desire is to get it diagnosed quickly so you can begin your recovery. Unfortunately, colds, influenza, and COVID-19 share some symptoms, so Loida Bonney, M.D. of Piedmont Physicians of Peachtree City, urges everyone to stay safe, and keep others safe, while your physician tries to determine your diagnosis.

“Germs are germs, and while the flu and COVID-19 are obviously more dangerous than the common cold, we don’t want patients passing germs around the waiting room while they wait to be seen,” said Dr. Bonney. “Many practices are encouraging patients to wait in their car until a room becomes available, but a virtual visit will allow you to see a doctor from the comfort of your own home, keeping you and others safe.”

Piedmont has been offering telemedicine in many of its physician practices for several years, but they have been used more frequently since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Many of Dr. Bonney’s patients are managing chronic health conditions and need regular check-ins to keep up with treatments and medications. Virtual visits protect this group of high-risk individuals from potentially being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Now that cold and flu season has begun, virtual visits can keep sick patients safe at home unless a screening for flu or COVID-19 is deemed necessary.

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that have very similar symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms seen with both flu and COVID-19 are fever, sore throat and cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, a runny nose, headache and body aches or muscle soreness. Some people can also experience gastrointestinal symptoms.

“Another difference is COVID-19 can cause a change in or loss of taste or smell. That’s not a flu symptom, but it’s a very common symptom for COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Bonney said. “The important thing to remember if you feel sick is to start quarantining at home and call your doctor to find out the next step. They can help you arrange for testing and prescribe the medications to help with symptoms.”

Piedmont offers virtual visits with primary care physicians, urgent care locations, and specialty practices. Most visits are conducted over video, and all you need to get started is a video-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone. Piedmont’s virtual visits are also HIPAA-compliant, so you can be confident that your information is kept safely.

“If you are sick with a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, your best form of treatment includes staying home and taking care of yourself, as well as staying in touch with your doctor,” said Dr. Bonney “Meeting with a physician in a virtual visit will keep you safe and comfortable, while also protecting others.”

For more on telemedicine at Piedmont, visit piedmont.org/virtualvisits.

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