Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

July 9, 2020

This is our seventeenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 9, 39,208,278 total viral tests have been reported and 3,487,780 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 9% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Emerging research 
    • There is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air. These smaller particles, which can spread when people talk or breathe, were previously not thought to be the main method of transmission- larger respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes were. This research may change recommendations and guidelines for masking and distancing in indoor spaces. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 30, ​announced that the deadline to apply for Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) has been extended until the end of August. P-EBT provides equivalent funding for meals that students would have been provided in school this spring without the closures due to COVID-19. Read more here.
      • On June 30, ​announced Kentuckians who are uninsured can apply for short-term coverage through Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility. Families can apply online at chfs.ky.gov or benefind.ky.gov, by contacting an application assistant at healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov or by calling 855-459-6328. Initial coverage ends two months after the application month, unless the person applies for regular Medicaid or Presumptive The state is extending Presumptive Eligibility benefits for three months for anyone who already applied and whose coverage was previously set to end June 30. Read more here
      • On June 30, announced the state has hired Ernst & Young to help begin immediately processing outstanding claims that resulted from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On July 6, created a COVID-19 Screening Decision Tree for schools as they prepare to reopen. See the document here
      • On July 1, announced Indiana would delay its transition to stage 5 of reopening. Instead, starting on July 4 and continuing through July 17 (for all counties except Elkhart), Indiana will enter phase 4.5. Phase 4.5 is similar to phase 4, and is intended to pause reopening plans as coronavirus cases increase around the nation. Read the Executive Order here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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July 2, 2020

This is our sixteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of July 1, 33,601,847 total viral tests have been reported and 3,194,381 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 29, visitation resumed at assisted living and personal care homes, group activities (10 or fewer) in facilities, communal dining and off-site appointments. On July 15, visitation will resume in nursing homes and in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IIDs).
      • On June 24, Governor Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Kevin Brown, interim commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, released initial guidance for Kentucky schools looking ahead to opening in the fall. Read the guidance here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 29, issued guidance and timelines for visitation in Long-term Care Facilities. Read the guidance here
      • On June 26, created an FAQ document regarding COVID-19 planning for schools and local health departments. Read the document here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 25, 2020

This is our fifteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of June 23, 30,110,061 total viral tests have been reported and 2,874,748 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 10% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 22, ​announced updated guidance beginning next week for many venues, including restaurants and bars. Read the requirements for restaurants and bars here. The new guidance also covers wedding venues and gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Read the requirements for gatherings of 50 or fewer people here
      • On June 18, ​announced the state would continue to expand in-person services to help Kentuckians resolve unemployment insurance claims. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 19, issued guidance on reducing indoor COVID-19 transmission through changing environmental factors. Read the guidance here
      • On June 18, updated guidance on making and wearing masks in public. Read the guidance here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 18, 2020

This is our fourteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of June 16, 23,765,801 total viral tests have been reported and 2,523,345 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 11% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On June 16, gave updated guidance on public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people. Read the pool guidance here and the guidance on gatherings here
      • On June 15, ​announced that Kentucky is currently performing mass testing of all inmates and staff members at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women (KCIW) in Shelby County. TThree staffers and 11 inmates recently tested positive for COVID-19. More than 270 of the facility’s 639 inmates have been tested thus far. Fortunately, no one from the facility has been hospitalized. Read more here
      • On June 15, announced that contact tracers will call people who may have been exposed from 1-844-KYTRACE (1-844-598-7223) to offer information and resources to keep them and others safe. Read more here
      • ​On June 10, announced churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship can begin hosting congregants at 50% of their pre-pandemic capacities. Read the guidelines here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On June 15, updated the Specimen Submission and Collection Guidelines. See the updated guidelines here
      • On June 12, announced the beginning of Stage 4 of reopening Indiana. Stage 4 will span June 12-July 3. Read the Executive Order here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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June 11, 2020

This is our thirteenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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June 4, 2020

This is our twelfth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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May 28, 2020

This is our eleventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 26, 15,183,888 total viral tests have been reported and 1,858,968 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 12% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you are currently infected. These differ from antibody blood tests; antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 22, announced a new absentee ballot portal that is live online here. Voters in every county of the commonwealth can request a mail-in ballot for the June primary elections. The last day to apply for a ballot is June 15. The primary elections in Kentucky will be held on June 23.
      • On May 22, lifted the interstate travel ban. See the executive order here in English or here in Spanish. 
      • On May 21, provided an updated Healthy at Work schedule for June. See the full schedule here
      • On May 20, announced a $300 million award to city and county governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 21, announced that Stage 3 of Indiana’s opening would begin on May 22 for most of the state; Cass, Lake, and Marion counties, the hardest hit areas of the state, will enter Stage 3 later on June 1. Read more about Stage 3 here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 stages of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 21, 2020

This is our tenth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 19, 12,601,143 total viral tests have been reported and 1,699,375 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. This is a 13% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you currently are infected. 
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 19, announced that museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries and distilleries will be allowed to reopen with proper distancing and sanitization procedures in place starting June 8.
      • On May 18, announced the appointment of Mark Carter as executive adviser leading the contact tracing efforts in the Office of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Learn more about contact tracing in a video here
      • On May 14, announced that groups of 10 or fewer may gather again starting May 22 and the travel ban will expire on May 22. Read more here
      • On May 13, announced the next step for health care reopening. Hospitals and care facilities can begin non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume beginning May 13. Facilities will determine their patient capacities starting May 27 as long as progress continues.​
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 18, issued COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Guidelines for healthcare providers. Learn more here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 phases of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 14, 2020

This is our ninth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of May 13, 10,217,573 total viral tests have been reported and 1,510,924 positive viral tests have been reported in the United States. That is a 15% positive rate. 
      • Viral tests tell you if you currently are infected. 
      • A single infected person may be tested multiple times, so the number of positive cases is not equal to the number of positive tests. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On May 7, announced that phase 2 of reopening the economy would start on May 22. Read more here
        • Phase 3 is planned to start on July 1. New Phase 2 reopening dates are now tentatively:
          • May 22 – Restaurants, with limited 33% capacity and outdoor seating
          • June 1 – Movie theaters, fitness centers
          • June 11 – Campgrounds, public and private
          • June 15 – Child care, with reduced capacity; and potentially low-touch and outdoor youth sports
      • On May 6, announced the beginning of Health Care reopening phase 2. This includes outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures may resume. Read more here
      • On May 5, announced an aggressive testing plan for long-care facility staff and patients. Learn more here.
      • On May 4, announced a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer to small businesses as they prepare to reopen. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week:
      • On May 11, created an interactive map of public wifi locations in Indiana. See the map here
      • See documentation on Indiana’s 5 phases of reopening here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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May 7, 2020

This is our eighth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 30, 2020

This is our seventh weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

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April 23, 2020

This is our sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 22, 97 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 22, 5,116 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 405,105 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • On April 16, the White House issued the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to guide re-opening the economy. The guidelines outline criteria for different phases of reopening and specific guidance for employers, individuals, and state governments. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 20, advised educational institutions to remain closed to in-person instruction through the rest of the school year.
      • On April 17, discussed benchmarks Kentucky must meet to re-open the economy, reflecting federal guidance from the White House on April 16. Learn more here
      • On April 16, announced Kentucky is joining a regional state partnership with Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana to coordinate plans to reopen regional economies when the time is right. Read more here
      • On April 15, announced the first stage of the Co-Immunity Project, a testing regime that will focus on comprehensive testing, centered on antibodies and developing donor plasma resources, starting with healthcare workers. Read more here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 16, announced Indiana is joining a regional state partnership with Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky to coordinate plans to reopen regional economies when the time is right. 
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here. Recent public updates can be found here
  • Resource List

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April 16, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our sixth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 14, 95 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 15, 5,038 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 316,889 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • Coronavirus stimulus payments to individuals have started to arrive as direct deposits in people’s bank accounts. Paper checks may take months to arrive for people who do not have bank account information on file with the IRS. 
      • On April 15, the IRS launched an online form that allows people to upload their bank account information so they can receive their stimulus payments more quickly. See the form here
      • The stimulus amounts are $1,200 for eligible individuals and $2,400 for eligible married couples filing jointly. Read more here for information on eligibility. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 12, announced a partnership with Kroger that will expand testing capability in Kentucky. Locations for drive-through testing will be announced throughout the next five weeks, with a goal to perform 20,000 additional tests in five weeks. Read more here
      • On April 9, expanded who is eligible for workers compensation if they are forced to quarantine to include grocery workers, child-care workers, and more. Read more here
      • On April 8, issued an Executive Order limiting the number of people allowed in stores that are open and limiting the number of shoppers per household to one adult. Read the order here
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 15, launched a disaster program to give residents better access to food assistance. Read more here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here
  • Resource List

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April 9, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our fifth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing
    • As of April 8, 95 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of April 8, 4,925 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 228,034 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • National
    • On April 3, the CDC issued guidance recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public areas like grocery stores and pharmacies, and in high-transmission areas. Read more here
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 5, announced an agreement with Gravity Diagnostics that provides up to 2,000 tests per day in Kentucky. The tests will be reserved for the area outside the ‘golden triangle’ (Louisville, Lexington, and northern Kentucky) where there is less infrastructure for testing. 
      • On April 4, adopted CDC recommendations to wear cloth face coverings in public.
      • On April 2, recommended school systems extend suspensions of in-person instruction to at least May 1. 
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights from the past week (see the full list here):
      • On April 6, issued a new two week stay at home order. Read more here
      • A full resource guide for Indiana residents is available here
  • Resource List

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April 2, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our fourth weekly update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

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March 26, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our third weekly update regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

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March 19, 2020 Coronavirus Update

This is our second weekly update regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Below, you will find updated facts and figures. 

Quick Facts

  • The coronavirus causing COVID-19 has now spread to 164 locations internationally (as of 3/18/20).
  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Testing: As of March 16, 89 public health labs in the United States have the capacity to test for the coronavirus. 
    • As of March 17, 4,255 specimens have been tested by CDC labs and 27,623 specimens have been tested by US public health labs. 
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may be, follow these steps
    • Stay home except to get medical care. Many people with mild symptoms will be able to recover at home. 
    • Call before going to get medical care. 
    • Avoid public transportation.
    • Separate yourself from others in your home. 
    • Limit contact with pets and animals.
    • Wear a facemask if you are sick. 
    • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
    • Clean your hands often. 
    • Clean high-touch surfaces every day. 
    • Monitor your symptoms and consult with a medical professional before receiving care. 
  • Kentucky
    • The state of Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Beshear. Here are a few highlights (see the full list here):
      • By 5pm on March 18, all public-facing businesses that can’t comply with CDC guidelines for social distancing must cease in-person operations. 
      • Restaurants and bars were ordered to close by 5pm on March 16. Food and beverage services are now restricted to carry-out, delivery, and take-out only. 
      • Primary elections have been postponed until June 23, 2020. 
      • All community gatherings are recommended to cancel or postpone.
      • All school districts were recommended to close in-person classes beginning March 16. All schools have done so and many are using e-learning technologies to continue instruction. 
      • Businesses are recommended to use telecommuting options and encourage working from home. 
      • Hospitals are recommended to cease non-elective procedures. 
  • Indiana
    • The state of Indiana’s response to COVID-19 includes both guidelines for specific groups and Executive Orders from Governor Holcomb. Here are some highlights (see the full list here):
      • Per CDC recommendations, all events with 50 or more people are advised to cancel or postpone. 
      • Restaurants and bars have been ordered to cease in-person services. Take-out and deliver services can still be provided. 
      • School districts are recommended to close. Most school districts have closed in-person learning and many are using e-learning technologies to continue instruction.
      • Hospitals are recommended to cease elective procedures. 
      • State employees are encouraged to use telecommuting options as much as possible. 
  • Resource List

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March 12, 2020 Coronavirus Update

As healthcare professionals, Gastroenterology Health Partners has a responsibility to be a trusted resource on relevant health topics for our patients. We will be posting weekly updates about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from reputable sources.

In our health care facilities, we are closely following guidance from the CDC and local and state health departments to inform our healthcare practices and procedures. With such a rapidly-evolving situation, it’s important that evidence informs our decisions and behaviors. We all have a responsibility to make the best informed decisions possible:

  • Seek out trusted, evidence-based sources of information.
  • Follow appropriate guidelines based on your individual situation and context.
  • Help stop social stigma against Chinese and Asian Americans, people who have gone through proper quarantine protocols, healthcare workers, and others who may be experiencing discrimination based on group identity.

Quick Facts

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in China at the end of 2019. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 has now spread to over 100 locations internationally.
  • Confirmed cases and deaths
  • Symptoms
    • Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • How does it spread?
    • Public health officials believe the virus spreads mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets and mostly between people in close contact with each other (around 6 feet). It may spread via surfaces, but this is not thought to be the primary method of transmission.
  • Who is at risk?
    • Early data from people in China who contracted COVID-19 shows that older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Preventing illness
    • There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 currently. As such, avoiding exposure to the virus is the best way to prevent illness. You should clean your hands often, avoid close contact with sick people, stay home if you are sick, cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or your elbow, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and wear a facemask if you are sick.
  • Steps to take if you are sick
    • If you are sick and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and develop a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
    • In general, self-isolate at home and follow other prevention guidelines when you are sick to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Testing for COVID-19
    • As of March 10, 78 state and local public health labs across 50 states in the United States have the capacity to test up to 75,000 people (using CDC lab kits, not including commercially-available kits).
  • Resource List

GI Luminal Stenting

GI Luminal Stenting is a procedure that inserts a stent in the GI tract to relieve obstruction. Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure. 

When it’s used

GI Luminal Stents can relieve obstructions in the GI tract. Obstructions are caused by numerous diseases, like GI cancers. They can cause blockages of food, fluid, and waste, and lead to symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and severe abdominal pain. This can be life-threatening in some cases. Surgery used to be the only option to relieve obstructions. Fortunately, stents now provide a less invasive method. 

Preparing for GI Luminal Stenting

To prepare for stenting, there are a few pre-operative steps you may need to take. For lower GI stenting, you will need to adhere to a cleansing routine leading up to the procedure. This consists of a liquid laxative you will take the day before the procedure, preparing your bowels. You will also be instructed to consume only clear liquids the day before, and drink lots of fluids in general. For upper GI stenting, you may be asked to stop eating the midnight before the procedure.

You will also need to discuss any medications you are prescribed with your doctor. It’s especially important to mention any blood-thinners you are taking. These increase the risk of excessive bleeding, and you will need to stop taking them before the procedure. Additionally, if you use insulin, you will need to adjust your dosage and timing leading up to the procedure. 

During the procedure

Directly before your procedure, you will go to a pre-operation area where nurses will place an IV and take your medical information. You will also talk with an anaesthesiologist about the sedation used during the procedure. Machines will monitor your vitals throughout the stenting procedure. 

Your doctor will place the stent by using an endoscope. Depending on if the stent is being placed in the upper or lower GI tract, an endoscopy or colonoscopy will first be performed to evaluate the area. Once the blocked section is examined, the stent will be placed through the endoscope. 

Stents are simply hollow tubes made of flexible wire that is tacked to a mesh. The stent will be advanced through the endoscope with a guide wire. When it is positioned, your doctor will expand the stent to help open the obstruction. 

After GI Luminal Stenting

You will go to a post-operation area following the procedure. There, nurses will monitor you for any signs of complications from the sedation or procedure. Once you are recovered, your doctor will discuss preliminary findings with you. Some findings (like those from biopsies) may take several days to come back. 

You shouldn’t drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions for 24 hours following the procedure due to potential lingering sedative effects. You should also follow a clear liquid diet for a few days following the procedure, eventually transitioning to a bland diet. You’ll formally receive all of these instructions before you leave. 

Complications from GI Luminal Stenting are rare. Perforation occurs in less than 5% of cases, and requires surgery to repair. Stents can also migrate on rare occasion. When this happens, patients experience obstruction symptoms again, and should contact their doctor to remove or replace the stent. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing GI Luminal Stenting. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Single Balloon Enteroscopy: A Closer Look

Single Balloon Enteroscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to examine the small intestine. Follow along for everything you need to know about the procedure.

When Single Balloon Enteroscopy used

A Single Balloon Enteroscopy is used to examine, diagnose, and treat diseases in both the upper and lower GI tract. The advantage of the procedure is that it gives access to the entire small intestine, which is around 20 feet long on average. Other procedures cannot provide reach to effectively examine or treat the small intestine. The Single Balloon Enteroscopy lets doctors get access and live imaging of parts of the GI tract that are otherwise inaccessible. This is important for examining sources of GI bleeding, taking biopsies, removing polyps or foreign objects, and enlarging strictures.

Preparing for the procedure

There are a few important pre-operative steps you need to take prior to a Single Balloon Enteroscopy. You will need to discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor. Certain blood-thinning medications can pose risks of excessive bleeding during the procedure. Additionally, if you take insulin, you may need to adjust timing and dosage leading up to the procedure.

You will need to adhere to a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure. You will also be asked to refrain from eating starting the midnight before the procedure. In addition to these steps, you will need to use a cleansing routine the day before your procedure. This entails a liquid laxative that clears and prepares your bowels for examination. Your doctor will give clear instructions for all of these important steps leading up to your Single Balloon Enteroscopy.

During Single Balloon Enteroscopy

On the day of your procedure, you will first check in to a pre-op area where nurses will place an IV and take medical information. You will also meet with an anaesthesiologist to discuss sedation during the procedure.

The procedure takes around 60-75 minutes total. Your doctor will use a balloon system consisting of a flexible endoscope with a camera, an overtube, and an attached inflatable balloon at the tip of the overtube. They first insert the endoscope down your throat and into your intestine (you will have a mouthguard to protect your teeth and the endoscope). They will inflate the balloon to anchor the overtube, and then advance the endoscope further into your small intestine. Cyclically, they can then deflate the balloon, advance the overtube, reinflate the balloon, withdraw the overtube to shorten and straighten your small intestine, and advance the endoscope further. This pleats the small intestine over the overtube, shortening the small intestine’s length.

The endoscope is also able to inflate your intestine, rinse it with water, and guide biopsy and cautery instruments. Since you will be sedated, given pain medications, and given a local oral anaesthetic, the procedure is pain-free.

After the procedure

Following the procedure, you will return to a post-op area to recover from sedation. Nurses will monitor you for potential complications. After recovery, your doctor will discuss findings with you, although some results for biopsies and polyp removal can take a few more days to be finalized). You should not drive, make important decisions, or operate machinery for 24 hours after the procedure due to sedative effects.

You may feel bloated for a few hours after the procedure, which is normal. There are few severe complications and risks associated with Single Balloon Enteroscopy. On rare occasions, the procedure can cause perforation, excessive bleeding, and complications from sedation. If you experience excessive rectal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, or a fever, contact your doctor immediately.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing Single Balloon Enteroscopies We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Radiofrequency Ablation: What You Should Expect

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that utilizes radio waves to destroy diseased tissue. Here’s what you need to know if you are preparing for the procedure. 

When it’s used

Radiofrequency ablation can be used during an upper endoscopy to treat Barrett’s esophagus. People with Barrett’s esophagus have an increased risk of esophageal cancer, and RFA can eliminate this risk by destroying pre-cancerous tissue in the esophagus. Patients with both high and low grade dysplasia should almost always pursue radiofrequency ablation. It has an 80-90% success rate in removing Barrett’s esophagus long-term. There is a chance that Barrett’s can develop again after a successful procedure. However, repeat treatments are effective and often able to eliminate abnormal tissues entirely. 

Preparing for Radiofrequency Ablation

To prepare for RFA, your physician will discuss preoperative steps with you. First, you will need to talk to them about medications you are taking that could be a risk factor. For example, blood-thinning medications can increase the risk of excessive bleeding during the procedure. Additionally, if you use insulin, you may need to adjust dosage or timing leading up to the RFA. Your doctor will also ask you about any allergies to medications. You will be instructed to stop eating at midnight the day before the procedure. 

During the procedure

Before the procedure, you will be on an IV and will give your medical information in a pre-op area. An anaesthesiologist will then discuss sedation for the procedure. Then, you will go to the procedure room. Doctors will connect you to monitors that measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels.

Your doctor will perform radiofrequency ablation during an upper endoscopy. You will be on your left side. A bite block will be in your mouth to prevent damage to your teeth or the endoscope. You will be under sedation for the duration of the procedure. 

Your doctor will advance the endoscope into your esophagus and examine the Barrett’s esophagus. If they see any visible abnormalities, they may perform an endoscopic mucosal resection. This involves either injecting or banding any identified lesions and then using a snare device to capture, cut, and remove them. If this is not necessary, your doctor will perform RFA. They will inflate a balloon-catheter to make contact with the targeted area and apply heat energy for a second or so. 

After the Radiofrequency Ablation

Afterwards, you will wait in a post-op area where you can recover from the sedation while being monitored for any complications. Once you have recovered, your doctor will discuss their findings with you. Some results may take days or weeks to return. They will also give you information on any follow-up appointments. 

For the first 24 hours after the procedure, you should not drive or make important decisions due to sedative effects. Your doctor will also recommend a clear liquid diet for a few days following the treatment. 

Patients commonly feel some chest discomfort and have difficulty swallowing for a few days after the procedure. Your doctor will be prescribe medications to help with any pain or nausea. You will also need to take a proton pump inhibitor twice a day for 30 days. 

Complications

There are a few complications that can occur from the procedure. In around 6% of cases a stricture or narrowing of scar tissue develops in the esophagus. Doctors can treat this with dilation during an upper endoscopy. Another more rare complication is a tear in the esophagus, which occurs less than .02% of the time. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing radiofrequency ablation. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Capsule Endoscopy: What You Need to Know

A Capsule Endoscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to examine the middle part of the gastrointestinal tract. Patients swallow a pill that contains a video camera, battery, and light source. The camera takes pictures as it travels through the GI tract, which allow doctors to examine the GI tract. 

Here’s what you need to know about the procedure. 

When it’s used

Capsule Endoscopies are used to examine the small intestine, which is not easily reached with other endoscopy procedures that involve passing an endoscope through the throat or anus. Specifically, the procedure can help doctors investigate causes of bleeding in the area, polyps, tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcers. 

Preparing for a Capsule Endoscopy

There are a few important steps to take to prepare for a Capsule Endoscopy. Your doctor will give you specific instructions leading up to the procedure. A cleansing routine is at the core of the preparations. You should stop eating and drinking 12 hours before the procedure, and may need to follow a clear liquid diet prior to that. You may also need to take a laxative to flush out your small intestine. All of this can help improve picture quality from the procedure. Additionally, you will need to discuss your medical history and medications with your doctor. 

During the procedure

The procedure begins with you swallowing the camera capsule with water. A monitor is attached to your abdomen to record images obtained from the camera. You are then able to leave the office and go about your day. Some restrictions apply as the camera records, like strenuous activity. 

As the camera in the capsule passes through your digestive tract, it will take thousands of color pictures. The images are saved and transferred to a computer, where they are then strung together into a video format. This is what your doctor will view to examine your digestive tract. Getting results back can take a week or two. 

After the Capsule Endoscopy

Around two hours after the procedure, you can start drinking clear liquids again. After four hours, you can have a light lunch or snack. The procedure is over after eight hours or when you see the capsule after a bowel movement, whichever occurs first. Since everyone’s digestive system varies, you may pass the capsule in a few hours or in a few days. At that point, you can remove the monitor, pack it up, and follow the equipment return instructions given by your doctor. You can flush the camera capsule. If you have not seen the capsule pass within two weeks, you should contact your doctor. 

Complications from a Capsule Endoscopy are rare. In some cases, the capsule can get stuck in the digestive tract, especially where there is a stricture from surgery, a tumor, or inflammation. Symptoms of obstruction include vomiting, abdominal pain, and unusual bloating. It’s important to recognize the signs of an obstruction early on. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after the procedure. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing Capsule Endoscopies. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy

An Upper Endoscopy (EGD) is an outpatient procedure in which an endoscope is passed through the throat to examine the lining of the upper GI or digestive tract. There are a few things you should know about an EGD if you are preparing for one. Here’s an overview of the Upper Endoscopy: 

When it’s used

The Upper Endoscopy allows gastroenterologists to examine the upper digestive system. Doctors can use the procedure to diagnose or treat conditions affecting the stomach, esophagus, and duodenum (beginning of the small intestine). It can help determine the cause of digestive symptoms like vomiting, trouble swallowing, gastrointestinal bleeding, and abdominal pain. The procedure also allows doctors to collect tissue samples to test for specific conditions or diseases like anemia or cancer. They can even use the procedure to treat some conditions; doctors can clip off polyps, treat bleeding, remove foreign objects, and widen a narrow esophagus during the procedure. 

Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy

To prepare for an Upper Endoscopy, there are a few steps you need to take. Your doctor will discuss these with you. You should abstain from eating or drinking starting around six hours before the procedure. This is helpful because an empty stomach allows for a safer and more effective examination. Your doctor will give you specific guidance on timing for starting to fast, as it can vary case-to-case. 

Additionally, you should discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor. You may need to adjust the dosage of medication leading up to the procedure; in particular, blood-thinners can cause excessive bleeding during the procedure, so these should be addressed. If you take insulin, you will need to adjust your dosage or timing before the procedure as well. Last, you and your doctor will need to discuss any allergies to medication that you have. 

During the procedure

An Upper Endoscopy is an outpatient procedure, meaning that you will be able to leave the location of your procedure the same day it occurs. Directly before an EGD, you will enter a pre-op area where nurses will place an IV and record your medical history. An anaesthesiologist will also discuss how sedation will be used during the procedure.

After, once you have been taken to a procedure room, you will be connected to monitors that track your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure. You will be under sedation for the procedure’s duration, which takes around 10-15 minutes. During the procedure, a bite block is inserted in your mouth to prevent damage to your teeth or the endoscope. As you are on your left side, the doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and into your upper digestive tract. Depending on your situation, they will then examine, diagnose, or treat as needed. 

After the Upper Endoscopy

After an EGD, you are taken to a post-op room to be monitored for any potential complications. Your blood pressure, breathing, and pulse will be monitored for stability. Your doctor will discuss initial findings with you after you have recovered. Results from biopsies will take several more days to come back. Because of the sedative effects, you will need someone to drive you home. Additionally, you should avoid operating machinery or making important decisions for 24 hours. Your diet may return to normal, unless otherwise indicated by your doctor. It’s normal to feel gassy or bloated following the procedure, and mild cramping or sore throat is common for a brief time post-op. 

Though uncommon, there are some more severe complications to be on the lookout for following the procedure. If you notice tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, or difficulty swallowing after the procedure, contact your doctor immediately. These can be signs of complications like excessive bleeding from a biopsy, a perforated intestine, or a reaction to sedation. In general, these severe complications are very uncommon, and are far outweighed by the general safety and health benefits of an upper endoscopy. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing EGDs. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Colonoscopy: What to Expect

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows a physician to examine a patient’s colon. Colonoscopies are often used to evaluate GI disorders and screen for colon cancer. Here’s what you need to know if you are preparing for a colonoscopy.  

When it’s used

There are a few reasons your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy. The procedure is commonly used as a screening tool for colon cancer, which starts from polyps in the colon. A colonoscopy can help your doctor examine your colon for any polyps and other warning signs of colon cancer. You may also need a colonoscopy if you have previously had polyps. In this case, your doctor will likely look for more polyps and remove any, as a preventative measure against colon cancer. Last, you may need a colonoscopy if you have any GI pain or distress that your doctor needs to identify and diagnose through examination. 

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

There are a few important pre-procedure steps you need to take leading up to a colonoscopy. You will be asked to adhere to a cleansing routine the day before the procedure. This typically consists of taking a liquid laxative the day before to empty your bowels, and switching to a clear liquid diet. You may be asked to drink plenty of liquids as well. Following the instructions on laxative use is a crucial step to properly prepare for the exam, so always be diligent in this regard. 

In addition to the cleansing routine, you should also discuss any medications you use with your doctor. You may have to stop use of some medications like blood-thinners prior to the procedure. This is because some of these medications can increase the risk of excessive bleeding. If you use insulin, you may need to adjust dosage and timing the day of the procedure. Your doctor will also want to know about any allergies to medication you have. 

What to Expect During the Procedure

A colonoscopy takes about 20-30 minutes in total. You will be sedated for the entire procedure, so there is no discomfort during it. Your doctor will monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure throughout the process as well. During the procedure, your doctor will insert a colonoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera) in your anus while you lay on your side and advance it to the end of your colon. The camera and light allow your doctor to fully examine the colon lining. 

If your doctor sees anything they want to analyze further, they may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for later analysis. In the case that they see any bleeding during the examination, they can feed instruments through the colonoscope to medicate, cauterize, or clip affected areas and control bleeding. If they find any polyps, they can use an instrument threaded through the colonoscope to remove them. None of these techniques cause discomfort during the procedure. 

After the Procedure

It typically takes around an hour to mostly recover from the sedation after a colonoscopy. As such, you should always have someone take you home afterwards. The effects can linger to an extent for the next 24 hours, so you should avoid driving, making important decisions, or working for that period of time as well. If any polyps were removed during the procedure, you may be prescribed a temporary special diet. It’s common to pass gas and feel bloated for a few hours after the exam. Walking can help ease some of this discomfort. 

You may see a small amount of blood in your stool during your first bowel movement post-procedure; this is not cause for alarm most of the time. However, if bleeding persists or you develop a fever or consistent bowel pain within a week or two of the procedure, you should contact your doctor. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing colonoscopies. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Everything You Should Know

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic examination that helps doctors view the lower colon and rectum.  Here’s a closer look at the procedure. 

Why is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy performed?

Flexible sigmoidoscopies can help doctors determine the cause of symptoms like rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits. Additionally, doctors can use the procedure as a screening tool. They may recommend that people over the age of 50 have these exams on a regular basis to check for signs of colon cancer. While a colonoscopy is often used to do this, the flexible sigmoidoscopy offers a few advantages. For one, it is less involved in terms of preparation and exam time. It also does not typically require an anaesthetic, and it has a lower risk of perforation.

Preparing for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

To prepare for the procedure, you should always talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking. Additionally, they will give you instructions for bowel prepping before the exam. A bowel prep helps ensure there is as little stool as possible is present in the intestine during the exam. Doctors usually prescribe a clear liquid diet the day before the exam, and avoiding consuming anything after midnight the day of the exam. The bowel prep may also involve laxatives or enemas. You may need to consume a certain volume of liquid laxative leading up to the procedure. If your doctor prescribes an enema, you should use it the night before the procedure to wash out the rectum. 

During the procedure

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the patient is positioned on their left side with their knees drawn up towards their chest. The doctor first does a digital rectal exam, inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the patient’s rectum to check for anything abnormal. Next, they insert the sigmoidoscope into the rectum. This may feel like pressure to the patient. The doctor then adds air through the sigmoidoscope to expand the colon, allowing them to see more clearly. The sigmoidoscope has a camera on the end of it that gives video feed to a monitor that the doctor views. Lastly, the doctor examines the lining of the bowel while slowly removing the scope. If necessary, they can insert forceps through an empty channel in the sigmoidoscope to take a tissue sample for biopsy. The entire procedure usually takes around 15 minutes.

Post-procedure

Following the procedure, patients can expect some mild abdominal discomfort, cramping and bloating for a few hours. Since the procedure is fairly non-invasive, you can return to your normal and activity level immediately. If a biopsy was performed, you may experience some light rectal bleeding from the site of the tissue sample. If the bleeding is persistent, or if you develop a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, contact your doctor. 

Your doctor will give you post-exam instruction on home care. They will also discuss the results with you. A negative test is when no abnormalities are found during the procedure. If your doctor finds any polyps or other issues during the exam, it is a positive test. This may lead to further testing, including a full colonoscopy. If a biopsy has been performed, the results are usually available after a few days and are communicated to you by your doctor. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience performing flexible sigmoidoscopies. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a liver infection that can cause both acute and chronic liver complications. It can lead to serious health issues over time. Here’s what you need to know about Hepatitis B. 

Causes and Risk Factors 

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This virus is transmitted in several ways, including blood, semen, and other bodily fluids, but not through sneezing or coughing. Some common modes of transmission are sexual contact, needle sharing, and mother to child. People who have unprotected sexual contact with someone infected with Hepatitis B are at a higher risk. They can contract the infection if any saliva, semen, blood, or vaginal secretions from the infected person enter their body. Also, since HBV can spread easily through infected blood on needles and syringes, intravenous drug-users who share equipment are at a heightened risk for contracting Hepatitis B. Mothers can pass the virus to their newborns during delivery as well. 

Types

Hepatitis B can be an acute or chronic infection. Acute cases last less than six months, and the immune system clears the virus from the body without long-term effects. Most adults who get the infection have an acute case. Chronic cases last over six months, and occur when the immune system can’t fight off the virus. Younger children are more likely to have a chronic case- 80-90% of infants who are infected in their first year develop chronic infections, and 30-50% of children under the age of 6 develop chronic infections. Fewer than 5% of healthy adults develop chronic cases.

Symptoms and complications

Symptoms of Hepatitis B can range from mild to severe, and usually appear one to four months after infection. They include joint pain, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Some people, who are infected may show no symptoms; this is most often the case for younger children. 

Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious complications, including Cirrhosis, liver failure, liver disease, liver cancer, Hepatitis D, and kidney problems. 

Diagnosis

The symptoms of the infection overlap with numerous other viral infections. As such, blood testing is used to diagnose. People who may have been exposed to Hepatitis B, or who have been in high-risk occupations or places, are encouraged to get tested. Blood tests can indicate a number of things including whether you currently have HBV, whether you have ever had HBV, if you are infectious, and whether the infection is acute or chronic (through follow-up testing). 

Since Hepatitis B can cause no symptoms in some cases, certain groups of healthy people are often recommended for testing. These groups include pregnant women, HIV-infected people, hemodialysis patients, and people who require immunosuppressive or cytotoxic therapy. 

Treatment and Prevention

In cases of acute infection, treatment for Hepatitis B involves symptom management. In some cases, a timely post-exposure prophylaxis can prevent the infection. This usually involves administering the Hepatitis B vaccine, and may include adding immune globulin to bolster protection. 

The vaccine is an effective prevention measure. The vaccine schedule is usually for three injections: an initial injection, one a month later, and one six months from the initial injection. All infants should receive the vaccine, in addition to any unvaccinated children under 19, people at risk of exposure (including some health care professionals, people with Hepatitis B positive partners, and some people with diabetes). Prior to travel, seek guidance from a doctor regarding vaccination. 

Mitigating risk factors is also crucial for preventing infection. People who intravenously inject drugs should seek help to stop use, or use clean needles and avoid needle sharing. Additionally, you should always seek to know the HBV status of your sexual partner(s). People who have sex with partners that may have the infection should use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time they have sex. Additionally, if you are going to get a tattoo or piercing, make sure you utilize a reputable and sterile shop. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience helping people prevent, manage and treat Hepatitis B. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Hemorrhoids: An Overview

Hemorrhoids is a term given to a condition in which the veins around the anus or rectum become swollen or inflamed. They can occur inside the rectum or around the anus. Hemorrhoids are extremely common- around 3 in 4 adults will experience hemorrhoids, and about half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50. 

Here’s an overview of hemorrhoids. 

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

The symptoms of hemorrhoids vary based on whether they are internal (inside the rectum) or external (around the anus). External hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, pain, irritation or itching around the anus, and swelling around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids don’t usually cause any pain or discomfort, but they can cause bleeding during bowel movements. Sometimes, these can also push through the anus (prolapse), which can lead to irritation and pain. 

Causes and Risk Factors

The veins around your anus stretch under pressure, and may swell or bulge as a result of too much pressure. As such, anything causing this pressure can cause hemorrhoids. This includes straining during bowel movements, heavy lifting, anal intercourse, having a low-fiber diet, being pregnant, being obese, and sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. 

The risk of developing hemorrhoids increases with age. Tissues supporting veins in the anus and rectum weaken and stretch with age, and can increase risk. Additionally, this same stretching and weakening can happen during pregnancy as baby weight puts pressure around the anus.  

Treatment for Hemorrhoids

Treatment can often take place at home, and for mild cases includes using medications and taking warm baths. Larger or more persistent cases may be cause for seeking further medical attention. Doctors may recommend surgery or banding. Banding is non-invasive and non-surgical. To perform banding, a doctor places a rubber band around a hemorrhoid to cut its blood supply and cause it to wither. This may be recommended for cases with significant persistent bleeding. Typically, two or more cases are required for treatment with banding. 

Prevention

Preventing hemorrhoids involves a few simple lifestyle changes and home remedies. First, eating the proper amount of fiber is important; fiber softens stools and makes them easier to pass, decreasing the likelihood of straining or pressure. Exercise also helps, stimulating bowel function and keeping you regular and less likely to have straining bowel movements. Try not to sit for long periods of time, as it can increase pressure around the anus. Always use the bathroom as soon as possible when you need to defecate as well- waiting can cause build-up and increase strain. Don’t strain during bowel movements either, as this will add pressure around your anus and rectum. All of these simple behavior changes can be incredibly effective prevention measures. 

A warm bath for the buttocks can also help relieve irritation around the anus. A 20 minute warm bath after defecation and a few more baths each day can ease any potential flare-ups. Last, avoiding hard sitting surfaces can prevent hemorrhoids from forming, and also helps ease symptoms of existing ones. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience helping people manage and treat hemorrhoids. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.