Coronavirus Updates: Please read carefully

Notice: This information is subject to change without notice. Please check back frequently for updates.

General Information: The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has created unprecedented circumstances and challenges, especially regarding health care. However, it remains our priority to continue to provide you and your family with excellent ENT healthcare. We remain open and are pleased to offer in-office care with the following changes to our policies and procedures.

  • We are asking all patients to undergo evaluation by telemedicine prior to being seen in-person. Given the limitations of testing for coronavirus as well as the particular symptoms that typically require an ENT visit, we feel this is the best way to offer our initial work-up in a relaxed and low risk environment. Surprisingly, many issues can be addressed solely through telemedicine, and for those whose problems necessitate further in-person work up, we will arrange this for after your telemedicine visit. If you feel that a telemedicine visit is technically challenging or impossible for you, we would still encourage you to give us a call. We can offer some of the same initial evaluation through just a phone call. Due to limitations in personal protective equipment and the unpredictable nature of medical problems, however, we cannot arrange for an in person visit without first evaluating you through telemedicine or on the phone. Thank you for your understanding in this matter, as this policy has been adopted for the safety of our patients and staff. Additionally, we will be re-evaluating this policy continually and making adjustments as needed.
  • Special information for allergy patients already receiving either allergy shots or allergy drops: It is still our goal to avoid interruptions of your ongoing allergy care during this time, and we are continuing to ask all patients to remain on allergy drops instead of shots for the time being. Please see this memo regarding switching from allergy shots to allergy drops to avoid interruption of your care. We currently anticipate offering shots on Thursdays when we are able to resume services, but this is subject to change. Check back on this website for updates. You will be contacted by the clinic if we have vials for you to pick up, and you should call if you need to re-order your vials or supplies. If you have recently started allergy drops and need the instruction sheet for optimal use, please click here.

  • Special note for patients using hearing aids:  We are working hard to restore full services for all Hoover Hearing Clinic patients, and we are beginning by offering select in office services on a case by case basis. Please call 205-733-9694 if you would like to be scheduled or if you are in need of service for an existing device. We apologize for any inconveniences you may be experiencing, and we will be monitoring the situation closely to re-establish full services as soon as possible.

  • Special note for patients using saline nasal rinse or medicated saline rinse in their nose: Some reports are recommending against rinsing your nose with anything during the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, we do not know if continuing your nasal rinse is increasing or decreasing your risk getting or spreading the infection. Thus, we are currently providing these additional guidelines. However, each patient must take into account their own particular circumstances in making the choice to continue or stop their nasal rinse. 

    • If you were not previously rinsing your nose, we would generally not recommend starting at this time.

    • If you are already rinsing your nose and having no change in symptoms, please consider the following:

      • At minimum you should find a dedicated area, away from others, to rinse your nose. Consider cleaning the sink and surrounding area afterwards and also washing your hands before and after. You may also wish to cover your clothes with a towel that you can remove and wash after you finish rinsing (to  avoid getting anything on your clothes).

      • Please consider sterilizing your nasal rinse bottle more frequently, perhaps daily. Here is a video from a colleague describing how this can be done through boiling the bottle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ7HPv0VG7g&feature=youtu.be

      • Consider adding some betadine to the rinse if you have this available. NOTE: Do NOT try this if you have a shellfish or iodine allergy. We do not know the optimal amounts, but consider 2 ml of a standard 10% aqueous betadine solution (available to buy online) for each 240 cc bottle of rinse. We do not know if this can be mixed with other additives in your rinse, but if you use only  saline (water and salt) in your rinse, you can likely safely add this and use it once a day. If you use other additives, consider switching some of your rinses to this betadine rinse. If we can determine that the betadine can be safely mixed with your other additives, we will post it here. 

    • If you have the coronavirus/COVID-19, please be advised that continuing to rinse your nose in the presence of others may increase your risk of transmitting the virus with them. 

  • For patients who have symptoms consistent with possible coronavirus infection and feel they are in need of immediate medical care for coronavirus related pneumonia, please contact either your primary care physician or an emergency room by telephone for further instructions. You can also call the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1-888-264-2256 if you are in need of additional guidance. As always, patients with any immediate life threatening emergency should call 911 and report to an emergency room in person. You can also visit apple.com/covid19 for a screening tool created in conjunction with the CDC that can offer your some guidance on when to seek testing.

  • As always, it is our privilege and pleasure to provide you with the best ear, nose and throat care at Hoover ENT. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we strive to provide the utmost in medical care and compassion during these challenging circumstances.