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Leading COVID-19 Care in Western Massachusetts

COVID-19 is likely here to stay for the foreseeable future. That means it’s important to continue to be mindful and take steps to avoid getting sick. If you think you have COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to get tested and check if you will benefit from treatment. Oral treatment for COVID-19 is available. In certain situation, you may be referred to Baystate Medical Center for an antiviral infusion treatment.

COVID-19 Symptoms

There are a wide range of symptoms and signs that you may have COVID-19. Other respiratory infections have similar symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

Symptoms can appear two to 14 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus.

When Should You Worry?

Most symptoms are not worrisome. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
  • New confusion
  • Trouble waking or staying awake
  • Bluish lips or face

What to Do If You Have COVID-19

If you’re experiencing one or more of the above symptoms and think you could have COVID-19, make sure to get tested.

If you test positive for COVID-19, call your primary care provider. Your provider’s staff members can help you decide the next best course of action. They may ask you to come in for an office visit, see you through telehealth, or advise you to go to the ED if you have more urgent symptoms.

We know more about COVID-19 now than before. However, there are still are still unanswered questions and there are always new scientific developments related to COVID-19. We’re here to help with answers to common questions about the best ways of avoiding the virus, getting tested, the current treatment options and the COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

How Can I Limit the Spread of COVID-19?

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and regular boosters is an important part of protecting yourself. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take the following preventive actions to help limit the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact (keep at least 6 feet apart) from people who are sick and people whom you don’t live with.
  • Avoid big crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Being in crowded places, like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters, can increase your risk for COVID-19.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Be especially cautious if you’re an older adult or if you have a severe chronic medical condition. People in these groups are at higher risk for severe complications if they develop COVID-19.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cell phones, and cabinet handles. You can clean with a regular household detergent and water.
  • Practice good cough etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash afterward.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of or you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Monitor your health daily to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Stay home when you’re sick except to get medical care.
  • Wear a face mask in public places.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should especially wash after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol if you need to clean your hands and soap and water aren’t available.
Where Can I Get Tested for COVID-19?
Unlike early in the pandemic, we do not have dedicated COVID-19 testing sites at Baystate Health. However, home test kits are now widely available in the local pharmacies. You can contact your primary care providers if COVID-19 laboratory testing is needed. You can still find a no-cost COVID-19 testing site near you on the website.
What Are My Treatment Options for COVID-19?

If you are young and otherwise healthy, treatment for COVID-19 is mostly to ease your symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, most people can use the following home remedies for the symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Take pain and fever medications. For adults, take 600 milligrams (mg) of ibuprofen every six hours, not to exceed 3,200 mg every 24 hours. Take with food if possible. You can take 1,000 mg of acetaminophen every four hours, not to exceed 4,000 mg every 24 hours. For children, ask your provider for your child’s recommended dose.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use a clean humidifier, cool mist vaporizer, or saline nose drops to relieve a stuffy nose.
  • Take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Stay home and rest.

People at Higher Risk

Certain things can make some people more likely to get more severe COVID-19 and complications. If you are at higher risk, you may need to be treated with an antiviral medication. You should contact your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options. The following are the currently available treatment options for COVID-19.

Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir ( Paxlovid) Oral Therapy

This is the preferred oral antiviral therapy that’s available with a prescription from your primary care provider or convenient care center.

Remdesivir Infusion Therapy

If you are at risk of developing a more severe case of COVID-19 and Paxlovid is not available or is not recommended, Remdesivir infusion may be an option. This is the same medication used to treat hospitalized patient with severe COVID-19. If your primary care provider or convenient care center (or urgent care) can refer you to Baystate Medical Center and order intravenous (IV) therapy for you. You may qualify for remdesivir therapy if you:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 with a positive COVID-19 test (antigen or PCR).
  • Have at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19
  • Have at least one symptom consistent with COVID-19
  • Are within seven days of the start of your COVID-19 symptoms
  • Do not meet the criteria for hospitalization
What Do I Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines?

At Baystate Health, we follow COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The recommendations are constantly being updated. We’ve collected information from these resources for your convenience in this list of frequently asked questions.

I’m Pregnant. Should I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

If you are pregnant, you are at higher risk of getting sicker and developing complications from COVID-19. Keeping up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines is recommended. COVID-19 vaccines are safe in pregnant women and are not associated with fertility problems.

Medical Procedures and Screenings After a COVID-19 Vaccine

If you know you will need to have a medical procedure or go into the hospital or other medical facility, it is a good idea to be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination to protect yourself and others.

Can the COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster Affect My Mammogram Results?

Yes. Research shows that lymph nodes can temporarily enlarge after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Swollen lymph nodes on the side of the injection are common and temporary, but they can cause a false reading on a mammogram. This swelling is a normal sign that your body is building protection against COVID-19.

Which Medical Procedures Are OK After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Most routine medical procedures or screenings can be performed before or after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. These procedures include:

  • Routine blood work
  • Dental procedures
  • CT scans (also known as CAT scans or computed tomography), with or without IV contrast dye
  • EKGs (also known as ECGs or electrocardiograms)
  • Cardiac stress tests (also known as exercise tolerance tests or treadmill tests), with or without radiographic dye
  • Colonoscopies
  • Ultrasounds
  • Other medical screening exams

What Do I Need to Know About COVID-19 Booster Shots?

Please see the CDC’s updated recommendation on booster shots.

Can I Receive My COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Booster at Baystate?

No. Baystate Health is not currently offering booster doses to community members. COVID-19 vaccinations are offered in many local pharmacies. You may go to to confirm your eligibility and schedule a booster dose. For established Baystate Medical Practice primary care patients, you may discuss vaccines and boosters with your provider at your next scheduled visit.

What Should I Do If I Lose My Vaccine Card? 

If you want to register on the state’s My Vax Records tool, but you’re unsure where your COVID-19 vaccine card is or how to access your immunization record, here’s what to do:

  • If you were vaccinated at a Baystate Health vaccine site and are on the MyBaystate portal, you can find your immunization record there if needed. Baystate Health is not reissuing any vaccine cards.
  • If you are not a Baystate Health patient and not on our portal, you can print your immunization record from your outside provider’s portal if enrolled.
  • Otherwise, you can request your immunization record from the state Department of Public Health.
Will the COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster Impact My Upcoming Breast Screening Mammogram or Ultrasound?

To ensure accurate screening results, the CDC recommends scheduling screenings or screening ultrasounds at least four to six weeks after your COVID-19 shot. Research shows that lymph nodes can temporarily enlarge after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Baystate Health Patients

Patients who have received their COVID-19 vaccine or booster within four weeks of their upcoming scheduled appointment for a screening breast mammogram or breast screening ultrasound need to reschedule their appointment by calling 413-794-2222.

Manage Your Health Information Using MyBaystate
Sign in online or download the MyBaystate patient portal app to access your health information.

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