Reflecting on the Past Year of COVID-19

Year_In_Review_UNSPLASH

As the nation crosses the one-year mark since COVID-19 drastically changed our habits and lives overall, we want to reflect on how our efforts impacted our community. While cases began to rise in March in various states, our locations responded swiftly by providing comprehensive testing solutions and educating customers with verifiable information.

Something ARCpoint has continued to do for over 20 years. Even though each state was hit hard at different times in different ways, our locations were flexible in supporting our communities when they needed it most. From ongoing COVID-19 testing to vaccines and returning to the workplace, we will continue to serve, whenever and however we’re needed. 

Antibody Testing

Just days before major sports leagues paused activities and businesses shifted to work-from-home policies, our locations began to receive COVID-19 antibody tests. Developed to identify a previous infection of COVID-19, these tests were instrumental in helping scientists discover how far the virus had spread in a few short weeks of being in the US. Scientists then were then able to study how the virus spreads, whether on surfaces, through the air, et cetera. Understanding the transmission of the virus in the early stages helped the scientific community conclude that wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings is the most effective way to slow the spread.

Active Infections

In addition to the antibody tests, many of our locations began to offer PCR tests in the early months of COVID-19. This “gold standard” test was vital for identifying an active infection of COVID-19 and active infections in people that did not display any symptoms. Necessary before traveling abroad or returning to the workplace, this test was in high demand wherever it was offered. As the year continued, customers returned for their PCR tests if they felt ill, were possibly exposed, or to understand their risk before seeing loved ones over summer and fall. Being able to consistently provide accurate and reliable tests allowed ARCpoint to solidify our position as a pillar in our community. 

Reliable Information

Producing high-quality information that was scientifically factual helped bolster ARCpoint’s position as a knowledge hub for customers seeking to learn more about COVID-19 and the risks associated. With the help of Medical Director Dr. Chris Cherubino, our resources were properly vetted before production so people knew they could trust what they were reading. These articles and resources help ease confusion as new and conflicting information about the virus seemed to change every day. Providing a reliable source of information that was easy to understand helped our community get the answers they needed to know. 

Looking Forward

As we look to the future, ARCpoint Labs will continue serving our communities whenever and however necessary. From assisting with vaccine rollouts to on-site COVID-19 testing, we are preparing to help our neighbors return to life before the virus, as best we can. For companies returning to the workplace, our comprehensive guide will assist in limiting the risks of bringing employees back. For individuals who can’t get vaccinated quite yet, but want to know their current infection status, our convenient testing options are here to help. We’re hopeful for 2021 and are thankful that we were able to respond to the call when our community needed us most.  

Social Share

Dealing With Stress During COVID-19 

Woman Stressed During COVID_PEXELS

It can be difficult to juggle the stress of the holiday season now in addition to rising cases across the country. As you prepare your fall and winter travel plans, it’s important to relax and not let all of the stress impact your immune system. 

The phrase “these are unprecedented times” is brought up frequently since COVID-19 became a part of our lives. But the truth of the matter is that very few people have experienced a worldwide pandemic of this scale. That inexperience can lead to stress and depression, which can have negative effects on your physical health and increase your risk of being infected by COVID-19. Keeping up with your mental health during these times is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Understanding the signs of stress can help you take the next steps to care for yourself or others. 

What Are The Signs?

Accepting the fact that there are events you cannot control during these times may be hard, but may also help you on the path to lowering your stress. Some folks worry about not being in control of the current situation. This worry can lead to other stressful habits such as spending too much time reading headlines, constantly scrolling through news articles and comment sections on social media, and a lack of sleep and/or appetite. Additional signs of stress due to COVID-19 can include:

  • Fear of you or a loved one being infected
  • The guilt of not fulfilling your duties such as working or helping others
  • Worry about losing income
  • Increase in alcohol and/or drug intake
  • The anxiety of being isolated or unable to see loved ones
  • Fear of being labeled if you are infected

Since everyone handles situations differently, there may be additional stressors that are unique to you so please consult a physician or therapist if you feel your stress levels are too high. It’s also important to understand that it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, and scared during these times, but constant feelings can lead to a decline in mental and physical wellbeing. Coping with this stress can feel overwhelming and feel like it’s never going to end. Taking steps to alleviate the situation can help you feel better and allows you to focus on your physical health. 

Coping With The Stress

Knowing you’re not going through this alone can help you cope with the stress. If you do feel isolated, call or text your friends and family members to check on them and make sure they’re doing okay. Keeping these connections can help you know how they’re physically doing along with keeping you company for a little while. Extending this kindness to strangers can also help lower your stress as well. Studies show that helping others raises dopamine levels which makes you feel happier. This “helpers high” can come from assisting elderly neighbors with grocery shopping, picking up medications, and other essentials.

If you are not showing signs of COVID-19 or haven’t tested positive, taking a walk outside and reconnecting with nature allows you to get exercise in a relaxing environment. While outside, it’s important to still keep a distance of 6-feet between you and others and wear a cloth face-covering in public. Additional steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing and lower your stress can include: 

  • Keep up with daily routines with a schedule and task list
  • Limit screen time. Spending too much time on social media and websites can increase anxiety
  • Limit news intake about COVID-19 to only accurate, reliable sources such as the CDC
  • Eat healthy meals, and drink plenty of water
  • Be mindful and considerate of others
  • Practice breathing exercises for relaxation
  • Find a mediation that works for you

If you plan on traveling for the holidays, encourage your family members to take a Standard PCR Viral COVID-19 test. Known as the “gold standard” for testing, the PCR test identify an active infection with results in 3-5 business days. Knowing if you or a family member have an active infection or are cleared for travel can help you make a plan to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season. Visit the CDC’s page on Holiday Celebrations during COVID-19 if you need more information on how to stay safe this fall and winter. 

Understanding that we’re all going through this together can help ease the feeling of isolation and can help build compassion for others. At ARCpoint, we’ve been here for you and our communities since the beginning and will be here throughout. With convenient testing options available, you can get the information you need to help you cope with the stress. Whether it’s finding out if you have an active infection with COVID, were infected at some point, or need more information on your general health, we have testing solutions for you. Find your local ARCpoint Labs and get the peace of mind you need to help cope with the stress. 

Social Share

COVID-19 versus Flu Symptoms

COVID vs Flu Symptoms – PEXELS

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and temperatures begin to cool down, you may wonder if that cough or fever is the flu or the novel coronavirus. Knowing the difference between these two highly contagious respiratory illnesses can help you get the right treatment for a speedy recovery. 

What’s the flu?

We’re sure you’ve heard about the flu at some point in your life, but maybe you’ve never taken the chance to learn more about what it is or how to detect the symptoms. The flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses that target the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Spread by small droplets that are emitted while sneezing, coughing, or talking, this virus can be quite contagious. The Center for Disease Control estimates 38 million symptomatic cases of the flu will occur in the United States between 2019 and 2020. With so many cases, it’s important to know the symptoms so you can get the proper treatment if you’re feeling unwell.

Symptoms of the flu can include: 

  • Fever (temperature over 100°)
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Headaches

 

If you have at least one of the above symptoms, you may be infected with the flu. These symptoms come on quickly, typically 1 – 4 days after your initial exposure. If you or a loved one displays any one of the above symptoms, it’s important to limit contact with others by staying home from work or school. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except for getting medical care or other necessities. Getting plenty of rest and drinking water are additional ways to help your body fight off the flu virus. 

What’s COVID-19

Similar to the flu, COVID-19 is an illness that targets the respiratory system such as the lungs, nose, and throat. First discovered in late 2019, this virus also spreads through droplets emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. One key danger of COVID-19 is that someone who is infected may not display symptoms while still contagious. Those who are asymptomatic carriers can continue to spread the disease if they are not practicing social distancing, or wearing a mask while in public places. 

While this disease has been discovered for over a year, scientists are still discovering new information about this particular coronavirus. For any new information regarding how the disease is transmitted or new symptoms, please visit the CDC’s website. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: 

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

 

While the flu symptoms can come on rapidly, COVID-19 symptoms can develop between 2 and 14 days after the initial exposure with the average case showing symptoms on the 5th day after exposure. Even though someone may not display symptoms until 5 days after the initial exposure, they could begin to spread the virus days before. If you or a loved one is experiencing at least two of the symptoms above, it’s important to get tested to know if you’re infected and self-isolate for a period of two-weeks to limit exposing others. 

What’s the difference?

The flu and COVID-19 contain very similar symptoms, however, there are a few key differences between the two. While coughing may indicate an infection of either disease, the flu produces a more mild, dry cough, with COVID-19 producing more of a persistent cough that’s also dry but can leave you short of breath. COVID-19 may also result in a new or sudden loss of taste and/or smell, which is different from the flu. 

Get Tested

While comparing what you’re feeling to a list of symptoms can help you get a better understanding of what your body is fighting off, the only way to diagnose your illness is through testing. With both flu tests and COVID-19 tests available at select locations, find your local ARCpoint Labs and schedule your appointment. As COVID-19 cases are on the rise nationwide and flu season approaches, we’re here to help you get the information you need to stay safe.  

Social Share