A word from Dr. Taub: Covid Policies & Procedures Update
To the patients of Advanced Dermatology:
I thought I would update you on our policies and procedures, given that we are now in an environment of increased COVID incidence in Illinois, as well as Tier 3 (illinoisgov) according to Governor Pritzker.
Let’s review Advanced Dermatology’s mitigation strategies first:
- All employees and visitors must wear a mask at all times unless instructed to remove it for examination or treatment. We ask you to please make sure your mask fits (no large gaps, doesn’t fall below your nose) and you do not remove it for ANY OTHER REASON while you visit us. We find that when people are alone in an exam room for a few minutes and then we enter people frequently have their masks off. Since the virus is airborne, it is NOT spread just when we are face to face and this could cause the virus to remain in the air. This is true also when you are in the bathroom. Masks are the number one defense against this virus and have shown to be highly protective.
- We have filtration devices in every exam room and many other parts of the office. We are frequently vacuuming them and changing the filters. The manufacturer specs say these filters clean the entire room air 4 times per hour.
- None of the employees are allowed to come to work if they have ANY symptoms of illness, even a cold. We test all employees after 5 days of any symptoms and they must have a negative test in order to return to work.
- We test any patients who need to have their masks off for >10 min for a procedure. Although we have a rapid test and we know these are not as accurate as the PCR type, these should be positive for most people who have a high enough amount of the viral load to be contagious at that moment.
We take temperatures at the front door of both employees and visitors and ask questions about exposure and symptoms. We recognize that this may not be the most scientifically based recommendation because many people who are infected have no fever or other symptoms, but it prevents people with active fever from coming in.
- We are not having any extraneous people who aren’t necessary for our operation in the office. Drug representatives have not been allowed in our office since March and we also restrict family members from tagging along unless necessary (ie minors or seniors or disabled).
- We have placed plastic shields at any patient facing station (reception, exit area, cosmetic lounge) and have restricted the number of people in the waiting room. We ask patients to wait in their cars for their appointments. We have also reduced the number of employees in the lunchroom and installed plastic shields between all tables.
- Cleaning of the rooms every visit and cleaning the facility daily. Although surfaces have been shown not to play a large role, we still want everything you touch to be perfectly clean. We are also washing our hands or using sanitizer every time we see anyone.
- We have discontinued Diamond Glow, facial peels, facials and extractions. Technically, we could continue these as these are not really facials, they are medical procedures. However, we are unable to test patients before the treatment (we do not have enough staff or capacity to test everyone who gets these) and feel we should err on the side of safety. If the numbers go down, we will reconsider.
- We have had some recent very good news! It looks like 2 very effective vaccines are going to become available soon, although we have no idea what the distribution will be like. Many people have asked me if I would be the first in line for a vaccine and the answer is yes. Let me take the time to explain a little bit about the science of the vaccine.
The two vaccines are called mRNA, which stands for messenger RNA. Messenger RNA is sent normally from the nucleus of a cell, where it is “transcribed” from the DNA and then goes to the cytoplasm (open space) of the cell and it gives instructions to the cell to make specific proteins. The protein this vaccine is encoded for is the coronavirus’ “spike” protein or the protein that all coronaviruses use to enter a cell. Since the protein is foreign and the body has never seen it before, the immune system senses it as foreign and starts to make antibodies and cellular defenses against it. Then when you get the virus, these antibodies and cells come to the rescue and attack the virus by the spike protein and render them unable to enter any of your cells.
This is different from the usual vaccines that use killed virus, or even very small amounts of live virus, and the body then makes antibodies against the virus surface proteins (much like the spike protein). Then the body develops antibodies and cellular immunity. But the concept is similar and in fact, if this works, will most likely be safer than existing vaccines.
There are all kinds of circulating rumors about how the mRNA can hijack the cell, or go into the nucleus, or force the cell to make the virus. None of these are true, as this mRNA can only make one protein. If you want a great and more detailed explanation point by point about every scary thing you may have heard about the vaccine, you can go to here to get the real scoop.
I took some of the very first dosages of the Hepatitis B vaccine when it came out and here I am: no Hepatitis B! Despite being at high risk as a health care worker and having experienced many unfortunate needle stick events, as most procedural Doctors probably have, I have never had Hepatitis B. Vaccines are truly meant to protect you. Yes, you could get a fever or joint pain for a couple of days (this is courtesy of the active immune system that has been riled up by the foreign protein) and no one wants to be sick, but it beats a visit to the ICU!
Advanced Dermatology has no intention of closing again unless instructed by the state to do so. However, we will try to switch visits that don’t really need to be in-person to telemedicine. This includes interval follow-ups for already diagnosed conditions where a texted photo will probably give us enough information, such as follow-ups for acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and rashes. If we find that it is not sufficient to care properly for you, we will ask you to come in and will not charge you for the telemedicine visit. We are trying to reduce the number of people that come through the office to keep both our patients and staff safe.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us! Stay Safe!