By Justine Myers, Lic. Ac.
The Covid-19 coronavirus is on the minds of many people these days. We’d like to share with you our precautionary measures to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and staff, as well as some links to helpful public health information (scroll to the bottom for those links). Our aim is to make our clinic a healthy place for all. We will continue to review and update our practices and policies as needed based on more information becoming available.
Here are the measures we are taking at Acupuncture Together based on research and risk assessment recommendations from local, federal and global officials as well as in collaboration with other POCA clinics. We appreciate everyone’s participation and understanding:
–If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, or vomiting or diarrhea, please stay home. The main symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Call your primary care physician if you’re in need of medical attention for these concerns.
-If you have an appointment scheduled and aren’t feeling well, you may call our office to cancel it on the same day and will not be charged (please just let us know you’re cancelling due to illness and the late cancellation fee will be waived).
-We’ll be sanitizing surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door knobs and call buttons, several times each day.
-Please use hand sanitizer when you check in at the front desk, or wash your hands in the bathroom if you prefer that to hand sanitizer. We have hand sanitizer placed on the front desk and at every station in the treatment room. Feel free to help yourself at any of those locations. When washing your hands, please wash for at least 20 seconds. Having everyone clean their hands upon arrival will help reduce the transmission of germs.
-We have 3 types of hand sanitizers available throughout our clinic: alcohol-based clinic made hand sanitizer in spray bottles (our recipe: 12 oz 91% isopropyl alcohol, 4 oz witch hazel, 1/4 tsp tea tree oil, 20-40 drops lavender essential oil and vitamin E squeezed out from 4 x 400 mg capsules), alcohol gel-based hand sanitizer in pumps, and non-alcohol based Cleanwell foam sanitizer. We will be using the alcohol based types before providing treatments – spray more often than gel. We limit our use of the gel type in the treatment room because it becomes sticky on our fingers during treatments when used repeatedly, so we prefer/alternate with the spray type. We use Cleanwell at other times, not directly before needling.
-Our recliners are all at least 3 to 5 feet apart. Sources vary on the amount of space between people in which Covid-19 is likely transmittable: the World Health Organization says 3 feet/1 meter and the Centers for Disease Control says 6 feet. When seated in recliners, patients are not face to face with other patients. Given the space and the fact that people aren’t facing one another, we believe that the treatment rooms are safe.
-We are now putting a layer of paper towel on the hand/armrest section of all of our chairs as an added precaution. We change sheets on recliners daily, and we also change them immediately after someone who has been sitting in one has any upper respiratory symptoms, or if the sheet becomes dirty or sweaty. If you’d prefer to bring in your own sheet or large towel to place on a chair, you’re welcome to do so. Here’s a statement about Covid-19 on soft surfaces from the Harvard Health Blog.
-If you are coughing we will provide you with a face mask and ask you to wear it. This helps prevent any possible spread of germs and also will help alleviate concerns from others sharing the space.
-Avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes and face with unwashed/non-sanitized hands.
-Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than onto your hands. If you sneeze or cough on your hands or into tissues or a handkerchief, please use hand sanitizer or wash your hands as soon as possible.
Here are some more guidelines and links to inform you about how to take care of yourself and recommended local, federal and global practices regarding Covid-19:
CDC Facts about Covid-19
WHO Facts about Covid-19
FAQ by an Intensive Care and Infectious Disease Physician
American Society of Acupuncturists Covid-19 Fact Sheet
Cambridge Public Health Department Covid-19 Information
Business and Employer Guidelines