WASH YOUR HANDS and KEEP THEM AWAY FROM YOUR FACE
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) has the potential to become a pandemic infection and has many of our patients and staff asking us how best to prepare for such a possibility. We do not want you to panic but feel a sense of responsibility to educate you about what you can do.
So, let’s examine some of the current data so that you can be mentally and physically prepared:
- The corona virus is a virus that causes the common cold, and COVID-19 is one that we have not been exposed to before, so we have no “immune muscle” to protect ourselves from getting it.
- The virus is highly contagious and has an estimated mortality rate of around 2.5% (whereas the Flu is 0.1%), so it is like a bad Flu infection and is being compared to the 1918 Flu pandemic. As more testing kits are becoming available, more cases are likely to be diagnosed daily and the mortality rate will then be lower.
- The 1918 Flu did not end civilization and was the second deadliest event of the last 200 years, but medical care has evolved a lot since then.
- The 1918 Flu mainly affected children and young adults, whereas COVID-19 seems to be most severe in older adults (in China it has been worse in men and particularly in men who smoke), whereas children have not been severely affected.
- Currently, every day there are new cases and deaths occurring in America and other countries. If this continues to spread it may turn into a pandemic, which has the potential to profoundly affect all our lives.
- It is possible that as the weather warms up the virus will become less infective, but it could then potentially resurge in fall.
The infection causes a cough, fever, myalgias (muscle aches) and possibly a sore throat. 80% of infections will be mild, 20% possibly more severe causing a viral pneumonia for which there is no effective treatment other than supportive care. Anti-viral medications do not seem to have been helpful thus far, and a safe and effective vaccine is probably a year away.
The virus is spread from coughing and being on surfaces of objects that are touched, so it gets onto our hands and easily infects us especially when we touch our faces-eyes, mouth and nose.
WHAT CAN WE ALL DO?
We may not be able to keep this from becoming a global pandemic, but the more we can all do to slow the spread of the virus the less severe the impact will be.
- Stay calm but take it seriously. This is likely to become more serious, but it’s not the apocalypse.
- Stay home if you or someone in your home is sick. If you become infected, the best way to prevent the infection from spreading is to isolate yourself from non-contaminated people. This prevents the virus from replicating and continuing to spread through the community.
- Do not go to work or come into our office to be seen if you are sick. Our office will accommodate your needs and take care of you via a virtual visit- by phone or video conferencing with you. Work from home if possible.
- Wash your hands. Get into the habit of washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap for 20-30 seconds. (Check out this video to see how to wash your hands correctly!)
- Try not to touch your face with your hands- get into the habit of not doing this.
- Minimize direct contact with others- including handshaking and hugs. Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump etc.
- Use only your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons etc. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
- Open doors with your closed fist or hip– do not grasp the handles with your hand unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and commercial doors.
- Use disinfectant wipes at stores to wipe grocery cart handles and wipe down commonly touched surfaces such as phones, keyboards, iPads, doorknobs, light switches etc.
- If possible, cover your cough with a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to.
- Cancel non-essential travel and avoid large scale gatherings.
- Reduce your trips out of the house and if possible, shop for 2 weeks of groceries at a time. Stay home and cook instead of going to a restaurant.
- Do not stock up on masks– while it is fine to have some available for personal use, supplies are running short. Please let these be available for health care workers to protect themselves and enable them to take care of ill patients.
- Make sure you have an adequate supply of any prescription medications or supplements.
Look after yourself to enhance your own immune system.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Exercise regularly
- Focus on stress reduction and self-care!
- Speak to your AIM physician to assist you with specific medication or supplement recommendations tailored to your needs.
- Although there is nothing proven to help Coronavirus, here are some of the things we recommend to boost your immunity naturally for prevention:
- A vitamin D supplement. 1000 IU to 5000 IU daily. (levels need to be checked at higher doses.)
- Immucore 1-3 daily (Metagenics)
- Astragalus 2 daily (Standard Process)
- Moducare 2 twice daily (Thorne)
- Honey – local or Manuka
- Certain immune boosting probiotics
- With the acute onset of any viral illness, the following may be helpful:
- Essential Defense (Metagenics )
- Andrographis as instructed (Metagenics )
- Viracid as instructed (Ortho)
- Olivirex 1-2 twice daily (Bio Botanicals)
- Zinc lozenges
- Vitamin C (preferably buffered) 1000 mg 2-3x/day (Metagenics )
Keep calm – we can all handle this thoughtfully together.