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How to Communicate COVID Concerns to Your Care Team

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Published on October 4, 2021

What COVID Concerns Should I Communicate to My Care Team?

Nicole Lamanna, MD, from the Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains how to communicate your COVID concerns to your care team and encourages patients to get vaccinated. Keep watching to learn more.

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Transcript | How to Communicate COVID Concerns to Your Care Team

Dr. Lamanna: Hi. Nicole Lamanna, Columbia University, again. Just calling to say hi. And we're going to talk a little bit about COVID-19 infection and also a little bit about doctor-patient communication with regards to what's going on. Obviously, again, hoping that many of you, if not all of you are vaccinated to help given what's going on. As we've been dealing with the COVID infection in the last year and a half, and as we go forward dealing with it in the future.

What Concerns Should I Communicate to My Care Team?

Dr. Lamanna: But anyway, I think it's really important. I think what's easier now than it was a year ago is obviously if there's any concerns, if you're having any kind of symptoms of an infection, and whether it's COVID or not COVID, it's always important to have good communication with your physician and your physician team, because it could be something else, of course, and whether or not somebody might need antibiotics or attention is always important.

So keep that open dialogue with your physician. I think it's really important now. Again, compared to last year, what's nice is that it's much easier to get tested for COVID than it was when we first started a year ago in the pandemic, where it was very difficult sometimes getting access to testing. But now it's much more easier. It's easy access to get testing for COVID in a variety of different locations. Doesn't have to be your doctor's office. There's a variety of different places that offer testing. But let's say you're concerned, certainly I think you should reach out to your team. You should get tested.

And the reason why to get earlier testing is because obviously, we are, I think, better and able to deal with the COVID infection than we were, obviously when the pandemic just started. And we didn't know what we were dealing with. So, the Regeneron monoclonal antibody cocktail just recently also got approved for post-exposure prophylaxis. And this applies to patients, persons who might have been in contact with somebody who has a COVID-19 infection and been in close quarters with that individual. And probably, we're not really sure how they're going to roll this out. I think this is evolving because it just got approved, but certainly it's going to apply to patients who might not have been vaccinated and got exposed or to patients with compromised immune systems who haven't mounted an antibody response to the vaccine.

So clearly, this would be applicable to our CLL patient population. Obviously, we're going to see how the institutions and hospitals roll this out. I actually have already been in discussion with our institution to see how they're going to do this. But I guess for you guys, I think what's important to know is that if you have any signs or symptoms concerning for an infection, you should reach out to your team. If you're concerned about possibly having a COVID infection, you should get tested because this is the kind of treatment that we are going to want to administer to somebody earlier to try to, again, prevent the virus copies from progressing and try to obviously cut down the incidence of severe infection from COVID.

So again, even if you've been vaccinated, any concern that you might have a COVID-19 infection, get tested for it, communicate with your team. If you have a positive test, certainly your team can help with possibly setting up this infusion for you to try to decrease the severity of COVID-19 infection.

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