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If you would have told me 26 years ago when I was starting medical school that there would be a virus that would drastically alter the world economy and how we interact as human beings, I would have never believed it.

Fortunately there have not been any deaths in southeast Idaho as of yet. However, there have been over 22,000 deaths in the state of New York alone. This virus has adapted and changed from what we understood about it when it was first reported from China. Originally there were three main symptoms we looked for when diagnosing a patient. They were fever, cough and shortness of breath. Now there are a variety of different symptoms. Some of these are loss of taste and smell, diarrhea or some gastrointestinal symptoms, and extreme fatigue.

I consider myself an eternal optimist, and do not believe it is productive to live in fear. However, we must be cautious and safe. With our government’s plan to reopen our society, we must be vigilant in protecting ourselves and those we come in contact with. How do we do this? Even if you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard or read most of these things. I will repeat them though:

  • Hand Washing is extremely important. Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Social distancing is critical especially if you have felt sick, had a fever, cough, or at this point let’s just say you “don’t feel right.”
  • If you feel sick, let someone else do your shopping. Please stay home if you feel sick.
  • There has been a lot of debate about wearing masks. The CDC is now recommending we wear a mask to protect ourselves, and especially to protect others. We can unknowingly carry the virus and pass it to anyone that we come in contact with. This virus is so contagious that it appears it can spread just from the aerosolization that occurs from conversations of normal speech.
  • Staying well hydrated seems to be beneficial. It is hard to find a better solution to hydration than clean, fresh water. That means drinking 8-12 glasses per day. Those glasses of water need to be at least 8 ounces.
  • Getting your rest and keeping a well balanced schedule, despite the loss of a normal routine, is extremely important.

I am looking forward to normality, but for now, I urge you to follow the CDC guidelines and please “don’t think you are the exception.” Remember that you might not feel sick, but you could unknowingly alter someone else’s life by spreading this disease to them. Please be safe.

I hope that you are taking advantage of this opportunity to enjoy family members and loved ones either in person (if they live in your home) or via virtual worlds. My wife and I have had a lot of fun playing games, watching a few movies, and have enjoyed having meaningful conversations with our children. We were empty nesters….ALMOST! Now all five of our adult children are back home living with us, while they are working via ZOOM, college via ZOOM, etc. I wouldn’t have believed that story 26 years ago either!

Rest assured that at our office we are following the CDC guidelines and creating a safe environment for you. We also have the ability to do Telehealth Visits (video conference via a smartphone, tablet, or laptop) if you feel safer with that type of visit.

One last thing: We will be moving into our new office on May 11. We have the entire building and it is all on the GROUND FLOOR! No ramps, no elevators, and no shared parking lot! The address is 2330 Coronado St., Idaho Falls, 83404.

I truly appreciate the friendships and relationships I have been able to form with thousands of you in my career and look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Brad Erikson, DO

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Dr. Brad Erikson, DO

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