Reasonable Measures for Coronavirus
There have been some interesting questions this past few weeks about the spread and severity of Coronavirus. I thought I'd answer some of these questions and offer some proactive advice for everyone.
Firstly, please try not to be afraid. Fear is immunosuppressive. If you are having difficulty handling your fear, there are a couple of coping strategies that you can do.
Use the Mental Field Technique -- go to whole-life-medicine.com Essential Handouts page to find it.
If you are still struggling, please either come into the office or book a phone consult. I'm quite sure we can work it out together.
As a first principle, normal prevention is key!
Wash your hands! This is an excellent preventative. Dry with disposable towels and throw those away in plastic lined bins.
Masks are really not going to do much, they don't seal well enough to prevent viral transmission (those viruses are TINY). A respirator (a surgical N95) would be better, especially if you were quarantined with a known case.
Because I have not yet seen any cases of this virus, I can't quite tell you what remedies it seems to be responding to.
My BEST GUESS is that it will be helped by some of the items we normally use for pneumonia, like NAC, which helps prevent mucous consolidation and is the main antioxidant for the lung.
There are a number of homeopathic remedies that would fit the description of this virus, I will try to keep you updated as I learn more.
Consider taking some stress support, like GSF, TAD+, Adrenoplant, etc. Whichever one you typically take, keep it in the loop! B vitamins will help a little bit too.
If you feel sick:
Evaluate your symptoms through the online Alberta Health assessment at https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx
The online calculator is basically guiding you to determine if you need testing or consultation.
I have written below about what the main symptoms are and how they seem to be occurring.
If you do get sick with a fever, remember that fever is an appropriate viral-killing response. Suppressing a fever will NOT shorten your symptomology and will NOT help your immune system respond. If you have a fever, continue fluids but minimize solids intake, other than broths. And please rest, even if you just feel a little bit off.
About the Virus
I am sure you have heard by now that this is "new" virus, meaning that this specific virus has not been seen in human infections. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses, many of which commonly infect humans in a mild way. This particular virus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is similar genetically to SARS-CoV-1, which we saw in 2003, and also came out of China originally. These particular viruses are very similar to those found naturally in bats. At this moment, no-one has proved for certain that this is a bat virus, but it likely has some association in the sense that the proximity of a live animal market to a very large, densely populated region makes such mutations more likely.
Both viruses can create viral pneumonia. That means that the lungs are infected by the virus, as opposed to just the nasal passages, like a cold.
The SARS virus caused a substantially more serious set of symptoms with a faster development (read:easier to identify quickly) of more severe symptoms and the death rate was quite high, about 1 in 10. COVID19, in comparison, has been substantially milder for the majority of cases, but when serious, and has looked a great deal like SARS when full-blown, but it has taken at least a week to look that symptomatic. Because it is asymptomatic or mild in the majority of cases, and also because it is taking time to become evident in severe cases, it has had a greater chance to spread. At the height of the SARS infections there were 8400 cases identified and around 800 deaths.
At present (March 15th, 2020), there are about 150,000 case reports of COVID19 worldwide, with 5700 deaths. There are 39 cases in Alberta. At present, 94-96% of patients are recuperating, in the oldest and at risk patients, 90% are surviving. Children are not at a high risk of serious illness, but they can transmit it to adults and seniors, even if not symptomatic. The death rate below the age of 9 is 0%, the death rate from age 10 to age 19 is 0.2%. One child in Alberta has acquired a case through travel to Florida.
The rate of infection in China has now slowed substantially. The first case identified there was December 1, 2019. They have now closed all temporary hospitals that were erected to handle the outbreak.
I have been paying attention, not so much to the news, but to the journal articles and clinical summaries coming from the clinical research sources that are available these past weeks. (Strangely, there is no mention of the crucial role of toilet paper in this epidemic in the journals. More research may be needed... ;)
There are a few interesting pieces of information that are coming out of my journal perusals:
The majority of serious cases are being found in older people (median age 56 years old) with co-morbid conditions, in particular those people with coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes. More have been male.
The most common symptoms have been fever, a dry cough, followed by the development of sputum from the lungs, fatigue and shortness of breath. Respiratory distress is defined in an adult as 24 breaths per minute or more. The reason that the respiratory distress occurs is that there is a very significant inflammatory injury being caused by the virus in the serious cases which forms a membrane through which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is not efficient (usually your gas exchange occurs over a very tiny distance, this makes it much farther for gas exchange).
The duration of infectious viral shedding has been reported as 8 to 39 days. This means that if you have been infected, you can be considered infectious somewhere in between these values! The only way to know for sure is testing, which is why the suggestion has been to self-isolate for 14 days and see if you develop symptoms after being exposed.
The full course of illness to recovery (or death) has been 3 weeks.
The tissue samples are showing evidence of a great deal of Type 2 cytokine mediated inflammation. Cytokines are molecules that are usually helpful in combating infections, except for that in some instances, they can become dysregulated and create massive inflammation. In essence, this type of inflammation decreases control of viral replication and makes a more prolonged inflammation process than normal, in a type of self-perpetuating circle. This is part of what is likely making this more serious to people who already have an inflammation based illness.
Don't forget that this is not the only virus at present where people are at risk! Annual influenza epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths. (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)). The rate of death is under 1% typically, but the math will still see us losing more to flu than to COVID19.
"Addressing the Munich Security Conference on Feb 15, 2020, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “we're not just fighting an epidemic; we're fighting an infodemic.” The ease through which inaccuracies and conspiracies can be repeated and perpetuated via social media and conventional outlets puts public health at a constant disadvantage." -- EDITORIAL| VOLUME 395, ISSUE 10224, P537, FEBRUARY 22, 2020
I know we'll all get through this! I'll keep you posted...
-- Dr. A.