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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
The time is now to practice this maxim given to us by the polymath Benjamin Franklin. Even though he may have been originally talking about fire safety, it really applies to so much of life and particularly to this humbling moment in time. There is much to consider, and so many unknowns and shifting sands. May we join together and collaborate as a global society to limit the spread of this new disease, as well as be open to considering all options for treatment to reduce morbidity and mortality. Please know, I am avoiding using certain words due to high rates of censorship going on right now on-line. It is based on keywords and automated screening by robots. Many websites and social media pages and posts are being shut down either temporarily or permanently. Yes, there is always going to be a lot of hype and people taking advantage of a bad situation, but we also need to be able to share information and ideas freely.
As the state is nearing shelter-in-place orders to control the spread of disease, and rightly so, I also want to encourage you support the optimal functioning of your immune system. We need to respect this current outbreak as it has a significantly harsher effect on those with a weakened immune system and underlying inflammation in the cardiac and lung systems. Even people who consider themselves healthy are sometimes getting hit hard. We don't understand all of the mechanisms at play, but there are many working hard to figure this out.
Regardless of which camp you are in, healthy and wanting to limit your chance of contracting and spreading disease, or at higher risk of a more severe outcome, for personalized recommendations, please schedule a telemedicine appointment with me. I have been studying reputable resources for long days at the office to stay on top of the current understanding about how this illness works in the body and how to approach prevention and treatment. Of course, I am particularly interested in using herbal medicine, both Western and Chinese, supplements - oral and intravenous therapies, and homeopathy. I will share what I am doing for prevention in my next post - as a middle-aged person without comorbid conditions. These recommendations would change if I had a history of chronic bronchitis, heart disease, COPD, and depending on medications used, etc, so make sure to schedule an appointment for personalized medical advice.
Most of my patients have not been coming into the office for over a week now, we have changed appointments to telemedicine (phone or video) appointments, canceled acupuncture sessions with respect to NM Department of Health guidelines, or delayed appointments in the hopes that this isolation won’t last too long. As of this writing, I am still seeing up to a maximum of 2 patients daily, separated in time so there is not overlap, and also only seeing one person per room per day. These appointments are primarily to give intravenous treatments to support immune function in a vulnerable population. This service is offered only to individuals with no suspected exposure (i.e., they are self-quarantined outside of these appointments) nor symptoms of infective illness.
This is a time to be proactive as an attempt to reduce the chances of an infective illness progressing to requiring oxygen and hospitalization. Here's more information on some of the intravenous therapies available: Ozone therapy, Ultraviolet blood therapy, IV Vitamin C
Symptoms Beware: Anyone with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, loss of sense of smell or taste, or diarrhea should assume their illness could be COVID-19 and take steps to protect others in the community and household from the disease. If you are sick, you need to stay home and stay away from other people in your home. If you need to go into public to visit a healthcare provider, wear a mask and practice meticulous hand washing.
A note about fevers: So long as it's not getting dangerous (keeping under 104 degrees F) - do NOT suppress a fever. Your body is working hard to create a higher temperature because it helps us kill off infectious disease. Most viruses and bacteria get weaker in high temperatures so it is easier for our immune system to fend them off. You can use ice packs or a tepid bath for comfort, but avoid medications to suppress the fever as severity and mortality rates have been worse in Italy when people use fever-reducing medications (NSAIDS). Of course, if a temperature goes above 104 F, then you need to actively lower the fever for safety.
Allow some cough to permit the lungs to clear any buildup, but manage cough to allow sleep and relative comfort.
I will share information on other simple home remedies for comfort and upper respiratory infections in an e-mail in the near future.
PREVENTION OF VIRAL ILLNESSES AND SELF-CARE ADVICE
▶ Eat clean food (fresh, local, mostly produce, free of preservatives, dyes, additives and pesticides) – lots of fruits and vegetables, and also nuts and seeds. If you have a way to clean your raw foods with ozonated water, you will further cleanse the food from infectious organisms and denature pesticides.
▶ Drink clean water (filtered, not from a plastic bottle). Staying hydrated helps the lungs, the gut, and the immune system function properly. This is a good time to focus on providing the body what it needs most. Green tea is also a good idea, it helps zinc get into our cells.
▶ Exercise most days of the week. (30 min to target heart rate 5 days per week, or just get outside for a walk in the sun)
▶ Sleep soundly 7-8.5 hours per night. Aim to sleep during nighttime hours to maximize melatonin production. Go to bed early, wake early - this is a good time to have good habits!
▶ Spend time daily in gratitude, prayer, and meditation - see my next post for some simple ideas to include this. Also consider picking up that hobby you were always wanting to do, or the projects you hadn’t had time to finish.
▶ Use an air filter at home if you have one. Consider buying one for the long-term health benefits if you don't. Indoor air quality is usually worse than outdoor, and we may be stuck inside a lot more for a while. I use the small Luft Qi's in the office, and a large IQ Air filter at home.
▶ Consider daily saline lavage of mucus membranes (neti pot or saline rinse) to clear allergens and microbes.
▶ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
▶ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
▶ Stay home when you are sick. (14 days quarantine after known COVID-19 infection)
▶ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
▶ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Pay attention to instructions. Some cleaners require 10 MINUTES of contact time for disinfection to occur. Sanitizing hand sprays need to have a minimum of 60% alcohol content to be effective against this virus.
▶ Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility). Everyone could use a homemade facemask if you leave the house though, it's only going to help cut down on risk of spread.
▶ The CDC has recommended that patients secure a three month supply of medications. Our practice has products in stock if you are running low & need refills. We are also working to make on-line ordering easier, although not everything is available in that way yet. In addition there are some items currently low in stock from manufacturers and difficult to procure. I request avoiding hoarding or ordering more than you expect to use over the next three months so that others may also get their needs met.
Within a few days I will share my personal protocol that I am using to minimize the chance of illness. I have a responsibility to my family and especially my patients to be as available as possible to offer care. I do not take this lightly.