I want to let all of you know that I am keeping up with the COVID-19 crisis and will remain available to all of you. I will plan to give an update once a week and as needed. My goals are to:
1. Support the best practices and behaviors as we are doing now
2. Dispel falsehoods and partial truths
3. Quickly address any symptoms or concerns that occur
Here is a quick background. PLEASE pass this helpful information on to friends and family. The best management for fear and anxiety is information and planning.
COVID-19 stands for COronaVIrus Disease 2019.
Coronavirus is a TYPE of virus (other coronaviruses include the common cold…) So, think of this in terms of automobile Make and Model. Coronavirus is a Make, COVID-19 is a Model… and Influenza is the Make, influenza H1N1 is the Model
COVID-19 is a NOVEL (new) coronavirus and has NEVER been seen in humans before. It was a wild animal virus that mutated to infect a human, and then mutated again so one human could infect another. It is VERY CONTAGIOUS because the human immune system has never seen this before. Think of Europeans bringing illnesses to Native Americans whose population was very vulnerable.
This virus invades the body when the virus gets to the lungs. It gets there through inhaling larger droplets from someone near you within 6 ft or so, by cough or spray. Also, VERY tiny virus particles can hang in the air because they are so light when aerosolized, which is more common in a hospital setting, and why we need the N95s there. Regular masks filter droplets, N95 filters out 95% of aerosolized virus particles
OR the virus can invade through your mouth or nose after you TOUCH something that has the virus on it then go to your face. Over several hours to days, the virus moves into your lungs and causes infection.
Symptoms to look for:
ANY URI (upper respiratory infection) symptoms such as:
– Sore Throat
– Shortness of Breath
– Chest Pain
– Body Aches
– Loss of Taste and Smell
Other possible symptoms:
abdominal pain and diarrhea (in up to 20% of patients) usually lasting just a few days.
WHEN TO CONSIDER GOING TO THE ER:
For a small but real percentage of those infected, the lungs will be severely involved resulting in shortness of breath, especially worse with exertion. (Not “I think I’m a little short of breath…”) This shortness of breath can be associated with blue lips and fingers/toes and chest pain. However, you should only show up at the ER if you think you are so sick you need to be hospitalized (where the sickest people already are…). Your first step is contacting your doctor on any COVID-19 Helpline available.
FOR MOST PEOPLE, this will be a stay at home with achy, feverish, ‘flu-like’ illness. Your biggest risk may be spreading it to others.
TREATMENT is all supportive at this time:
– Zinc oral lozenges with early symptoms of sore throat. Zinc lowers the reproduction of the virus in saliva, so fever virus particles make it to the lungs.
– Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NO ibuprofen or naproxen and NO prescription NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as not clear yet if NSAIDs are safe.
– Stay well hydrated, indicated by having frequent and pale urine. Infrequent and dark yellow urine indicates dehydration.
– Multivitamins and extra Vitamin C, while remembering that massive doses of Vitamin C (6-10 GRAMS a day), will likely cause diarrhea.
– ISOLATE yourself, and everyone in your household. All are considered infected or at the least a carrier.
– Get tested by drive-through IF ABLE. Be aware that you don’t need the test to know that you have the infection. The positive test DOES NOT change how you are going to be treated at this point.
HOW SHOULD WE PROTECT OURSELVES AND OTHER?
Do these things to LOWER YOUR RISK:
HUNKER DOWN – stay home, go out in the open air and AVOID any contact with anyone other than your household. Bike, hike, garden, exercise, Facetime on the porch or patio, get some sunshine.
EASY RULE – for everyone you pass by when you are out – expect that they may begin having symptoms tomorrow – so stay 6-10 ft away
WEAR A HOMEMADE MASK WHEN YOU ARE OUT – save hospital-type masks and especially N95 masks for the hospitals and EMS/Police/Firefighters.
Consider bringing N95s to your local fire-chief or ER. There will be more and more ‘DIY’ type masks available. I found one that is made from a folded paper towel, staples and two rubber bands!
IF YOU HAVE A REUSABLE N95 MASK (workshop, industrial, etc) PLEASE CAREFULLY DONATE TO YOUR FIRE CHIEF OR YOUR ER. THESE WILL BE INVALUABLE FOR THOSE WORKING DIRECTLY WITH THE MOST ILL. (because these can be cleaned and reused)
WASH YOUR HANDS – a lot. You WILL get this virus on your hands, but it is really easy to kill. It is a fat layer (ball) around a single strand of protein. SOAP breaks down the fat and you have then destroyed the virus. Put your hand to your mouth or nose and you have allowed the virus to grow and infect.
EVERY time you touch something when you go to the store, etc., EXPECT you now have the virus on your hands. Wash with soap and water OR use 65% alcohol hand cleaner and wipe down purchases before they come into your house.
HELP YOUR NEIGHBOR – it is for times like this to draw upon positive character. Remember that everyone’s anxiety level is sky high, and everyone’s stress plays out differently – fear, worry, anger, denial, paranoia, with intelligent mature people making irrational and impulsive decisions.
HELP THE MOST AT RISK — consider things like helping elderly or other high-risk neighbors by calling and checking in regularly. They may need ‘runners’ for basic supplies and benefit just from your contact. Support your neighborhood by modeling calm but resilient behavior. Patiently dispel ‘myths’ with either facts or questions about the validity of their sources. Currently, the best sources are the WHO and the CDC website.
I’m available to discuss this, either by text, email or phone call. I am taking all precautions at my job in the ER. WE CAN FLATTEN THE CURVE, but it takes all of us. One carrier can unknowingly cause a full ICU in a short time…
And, importantly, this is NOT a surprise to our Lord and Savior. Remember, He speaks for Himself to each of us, through prayer, His Word, and through wise counsel. Each of us could ‘meet our Maker’ today or tomorrow in death. Perhaps we should all get to know Him a little better before that face-to-Face meeting. He is the Comforter, and Safe Place, and the Rock in this current maelstrom. He is loving and merciful and offers us the choice of dependence and faith in Him. Take his offer.
Depending on Him,
Andrew Daigle, MD