By Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz and Dr. Rosalie De Lombaert
With the news this week of the first US deaths from novel Coronavirus being here in King County, it is no surprise that people in our community are on-guard. It seems like every time we turn on the radio or TV, read a newspaper or online news-source, inevitably, we are bombarded with information and stats about Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of fear-based news appealing to the public’s emotion these days, which is leading to a wave of heightened anxiety around upper respiratory infections in general.
Let’s share a few important facts:
- The deaths in Kirkland were all people in a nursing home facility who were all over the age of 50 and had other co-morbidities
- There is vast underreporting of cases of Coronavirus at this time; hence it artificially raises the mortality rate. Historically, after pandemics in the past have happened, the adjusted mortality rate is much lower than the rate reported during the beginning of the disease. For example, as of February 1st the death rate in China has already dropped down to less than 1%.
- A state of emergency has been declared by the Governor here in WA State. This allows for more money and emergency services to be called upon quickly if the need arises. Doing this early helps us better prepare, it does not mean that you have to go and buy out all the TP and water at Costco!
Here at AIM we are committed to educating our patients on the medical facts. We want to promote prevention-based medicine, and thankfully enough, all of the naturopathic cold/flu-season prevention tactics we have imparted through the years still apply to this novel coronavirus. Read below for the essence of what we have discovered while sifting through various evidence-based articles and research:
What is it?
Coronavirus is actually a label that refers to a family of viruses that look like a crown (corona) under the lens of a microscope. For example, the common cold that many patients experience during the winter months is part of this larger Coronaviridae family. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a beta-coronavirus, thought to have originated from animal to human spread in the Hubei Province of China last December. This virus can lead to a variety of diseases in susceptible populations: COVID-19, pneumonia, and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), to name a few.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of novel coronavirus are similar to many other common symptoms associated with a cold or the flu: including a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, body aches and sore throat. Symptoms that continue to progress over 2-3 days, despite preventative measures, should be followed up on by your doctor. Please feel free to call or email your provider here at AIM to see if any special precautions are needed prior to you coming into the clinic, or if you are really concerned, maybe a phone consult would suffice versus an in-person visit. We’re happy to oblige.
How dangerous is it and how is it spread?
At this moment in time, the flu is still our major concern. So far, this year there have been over 29 million cases of the flu in the US with at least 16,000 deaths associated with it. Obviously, contracting coronavirus along with another cold or flu is going to potentiate the virus. So again, keeping your immune system strong and avoiding visiting people who are immunocompromised, so that you don’t risk your health or theirs, is the best way to minimize the potential spread.
But just for those of you who want numbers, here is some recent history:
- Influenza during the 2018-2019 season had more than 35 million cases reported resulting in over 16 million medical visits (including almost 500,000 hospitalizations) and about 34,000 deaths in the United States.
- SARS had a mortality rate of 10% (about 8,000 cases reported with about 800 deaths)
- MERS had a mortality rate of 34% (about 3,000 cases reported with about 850 deaths)
- Current total mortality rate for COVID-19 is 1.6%
The COVID-19 hotspots include Wuhan region of China, South Korea, northern Italy and Iran. If you have been in contact with someone who has traveled to those places or you yourself have traveled there recently and are showing signs or symptoms mentioned above, you should call your doctor and discuss your options.
Make sure you take necessary precautions around people like wearing a mask (if you have symptoms, not needed for prevention), maintaining a distance of 6 feet whenever possible, and trying to quarantine yourself at home for 2 weeks if you are having symptoms. This is the incubation time for the virus and it may take 2 weeks for you to exhibit symptoms (if you have not shown symptoms but were in contact with someone who is showing symptoms or was in a hotspot); during which you would have been contagious.
We are a medical clinic and take all precautions to prevent the spread of disease at all times, not just times of paranoia! So our facilities are cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day. If you feel like you are at risk of having contracted coronavirus, please feel free to call the clinic and discuss your options. We do ask that you call ahead of your visit so we can prepare to see you and limit your exposure to the rest of our patient population. Today we heard that Harborview along with the Department of Health is offering in home testing for those people deemed high risk by their medical provider. So again, feel free to call us so that we can figure out what is at your best interest and those in your community.
What are the best ways to prevent COVID-19?
All the things that your grandmother taught you as a child to prevent the spread of disease qualify here. WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash frequently with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds (singing the happy birthday song is about the right amount of time). Think about how a surgeon would wash, remove rings, get between your fingers and up your wrist. Make sure to wash hand towels and all other towels frequently or use paper towels so that germs don’t lie around on your counter tops.
Avoid contacting your eyes, nose, and mouth – this means stop biting your fingernails too! Change your toothbrush if you have been feeling under the weather. Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Get good sleep.
Eat a diet high in colorful fruits and veggies while avoiding unhealthy, processed foods filled with sugar and carbs while limiting things like alcohol and caffeine.
Try and move your body and break a sweat a few times per week or even get in a sauna to induce a sweat. All the things we have been preaching as prevention are exactly what you should be doing now, and hopefully what you have been doing all season!
How about some treatment/supplement options…
- Our immune protocol consisting of EHB, Immunotone Plus and Viracid are a great thing to take daily. I would recommend hitting things a little harder and taking 2 caps of both the Immunotone Plus and Viracid in AM and PM to keep your immune system on high alert.
- Optimizing Vit D is always good for your immune system. Make sure you are taking at least 5000IU per day for adults, 1000 IU per day for children, or doses recommended by your provider.
- Probiotics are a great way to keep your gut healthy and make sure you have the right balance of good vs. bad bacteria in your digestive tract.
- IV therapy – here at AIM we are lucky to have one of the best IV clinics on the eastside. Here we can customize bags on the spot to give you exactly what your body needs. Doing an anti-viral protocol to give you a boost of immune vitamins like C, all the B’s, lysine, magnesium, resveratrol and even glutathione can help prevent you from getting sick or help you get over the common cold or flu faster so that you can be back to normal and fighting off further infections. We also recommend the Multi-Vitamin Drip with a Glutathione Push for Immune support.
Remember, this too shall pass. If anything, this is a good reminder of the importance of our daily health and wellness choices, and the importance of optimizing our immune systems. Surprises happen. But when they do, the people who are best prepared tend to be able to weather the storm.
Be safe. Keep in touch. Stay Healthy!