What Are Your Thoughts On This Coronavirus Outbreak?
So many people are so frightened of the coronavirus! The media frenzy over this is unlike anything I have seen in my entire career as a healthcare professional. The question is: Is the Fear necessary? And are we all going to die!? The simple answer to this is probably not. So please take a deep breath, ground yourself and let’s discuss what can be done to help boost your immunity and prevent illness. And then let’s discuss what you can and should do if you begin to have symptoms. But first, what is coronavirus and what are the symptoms of the big bad COVID-19?
The Truth About Coronavirus & COVID-19
Did you know coronavirus is not a new virus? This group of viruses has been around for centuries. 20% of all cases of the common cold are caused by coronavirus. SERS and MERS, and SARS are also coronaviruses you may have heard of in the past. COVID-19 is a specific subtype of coronavirus that began in China and due to our world economy and ease of travel has now spread to many parts of the world.
Currently there have been > 88,000 cases worldwide with a death rate currently estimated at approximately 1%. Who typically gets sick when exposed to this virus? Those more likely to get sick are those who are generally unhealthy, have multiple other illnesses, chronic pulmonary disease, or have at risk immune systems due to other issues. Additionally, it has been noted by those in the trenches, children and young healthy people are unlikely to get sick with this virus. It is more likely to cause infection in middle aged people approximately 50 years and older. They are more likely to be men, smokers, or those with prior chronic pulmonary disease or other respiratory illness.
According to my inside sources (it pays to have spent 20 years as an ER doctor in these times of crisis), the epidemiologists working closely with this virus state that it is a very weak virus. It does not seem to infect individuals easily unless direct contact with ill persons or their aerosolized sputum occurs. The big issue is the 6 foot radius around an infected person who sneezes or coughs near you. Those droplets are inhaled or inadvertently smack your eyeballs and that is where it can begin.
According to the CDC and the WHO, the COVID-19 symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea and shortness of breath. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (> 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Those who are generally healthy and who have healthy immune systems are more likely to have no or very mild symptoms if exposed or infected with this virus. Many healthy individuals will not get sick at all, just like with any other coronavirus that has come through our communities.
There is a lot of fear mongering and misinformation out there on social media and the internet. It is really important that we evaluate what we see and read to be certain it is true before spreading or acting on this information.
Do I need a Flu Vaccine?
If you hop in the CDC website they recommend the flu vaccine. However, it does not make any sense to me given the science. The flu vaccine is not proven to prevent influenza and this is a totally different virus. Consequently, MY answer is a NO you do not need the flu vaccine for this issue.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself from Viral Illness?
The key to protecting yourself is to do all that you can to boost your immune system and avoid exposure. Easy peasy, right? Be aware of what’s going on around you but do not let the media scare frenzy effect your mental health. Avoid large crowds. Why risk it if it is unecessary? However, if you are not sick, do not be afraid to leave your home for heavens sake.
Control your stress and anxiety in whatever way works for you. Feed your Endocannabinoid system with a high quality CBD from hemp oil. This is known to decrease inflammation, boost immune function, and support a peaceful state of mind. Meditation and prayer are also useful mindfulness practices that help focus our energy on peace and healing. Other plant-based therapies like essential oils can boost your immunity and help balance your body, mind, and spirit. Sipping herbal tea while watching the sunrise and sunset can be particularly relaxing and holds many health benefits. Exercise, especially outdoors in the fresh air which also provides healthy light exposure. Do it barefoot too, if you are able. There are many scientifically proven health benefits of grounding. All of these are helpful for managing the stress of this situation.
Healthy eating with organic and pastured meat and poultry products. Cook your meals cleanly at home where you can control what goes into them. Lots of colors on your plate. Low sugar/low carb meals are best.
Healthy Sleep! Eliminate all unneccessary EMF exposure. Avoid blue light/screentime in the 2 hours before you go to sleep. No late night meals and no alcohol before bed. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Sleep hygiene is key.
Frequent hand washing (30 seconds-sing happy birthday song twice, or make up lyrics to the tune which is what I have resorted to) with chemical-free soap and water or a chemical-free hand sanitizer (see recipes). Wipe down surfaces frequently touched by others with a chemical-free cleaner. I have included DIY recipes in case your store shelves are empty and you cannot find a chemical free version.
What Are You Doing With Your Family For Prevention?
There are many natural options out there from vitamin supplements, to essential oils, to herbs, to homeopathics, to other natural interventions like hyperbaric oxygen, light therapy, and Austin Air filters for your home. All these support healthly immune systems and respiratory systems.
So what am I doing with my family and myself? We are taking full spectrun high quality CBD, Vitamin D/K2, methylated B vitamins, Vitamin C, Zinc, and a probiotic (my favorite is a homeopathic blend by Energetix). At our house, we are also utilizing the air filters and home soft hyperbaric therapy. However, this is not because of COVID-19 so much as due to the fact that I keep on hand what I believe in during virus season.
Dr.Campbell, Can I See You?
Yes, you can see me virtually. Uniquely qualified as a Board Certified and experienced Emergency Medicine doc practicing integrative and functional medicine, I welcome you.
I am offering mini-consults online and significantly discounted prices on products for my clients. Reach out to me soon while products last and while shipping is still available. And that last bit is for real! I have been literally watching as vitamin supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathic and essential oil products have been going out of stock one by one. If you are concerned based on the information in this article, you should reach out to me and schedule a consult ASAP.
What Do I Do If I Have Symptoms?
My recommendations echo that of many other integrative and functional medicine practitioners out there. I highly recommend at the onset of symptoms (if you are not pregnant, in pregnancy my recommendations will differ), you do these things:
- If you are sick, STAY HOME!!! Quarantine yourself. Immediately begin these vitamin protocols:
- Take Vitamin A (not Beta Carotene) 100,000 IU once daily with a meal for 4 days.
- Take Vitamin C 4,000 mg daily for 4 days. If you have GI discomfort or runny stools from this, back down on the dose or split the doses through the day, whichever works best for your bowels.
- Vitamin D3 (with 200mcg K2) 50,000 IU daily with a meal for 4 days. The K2 is essential to accompany the D3 to avoid unwanted calcium deposition or side effects. With the K2 it works to boost the immune system like a charm. Normally I would like to see a baseline Vitamin D blood level but as it is end of winter and you are adding K2, you can get away with this for 4 days without it. But definitely this is a Vitamin level that should be regularly monitored.
- Implement other plant based immune boosting methods-homeopathic, plant oils, herbals, and more. As I stated above, I am offering mini-consults to help you find what works for you and to offer you discounted prices on any and all products recommended.
- If you have access to home based hyperbaric oxygen therapy, this has been utilized in China and Korea to help those ill with the virus to recover. If you want more information on how to get a hyperbaric oxygen unit or Austin Air purifier for your home, you can contact Natalee Hessell in Clarkston through her contact us page at Connective Resource Healing, LLC . Tell her Dr. Christina sent you for discounted pricing. Please do not just show up at her office. She sees people by appointment only.
What If I Feel I Need To See a Doctor?
Doctor’s office recommendations:
If you are sick but not in a life-threatening state, CALL your doctor for advice but Do NOT show up at your doctor’s office!!!!!! Doctor’s offices are not set up to handle contagious illness of this nature. Alternatively, you can set up an online consult with me from home via my contact page.
Urgent Care recommendations:
If you are worried but do not feel you are sick enough to warrant a 911 call and a trip to the ER, some Urgent Cares are set up to evaluate you and give you advice on next steps. Expect to have a mask placed on you as soon as you arrive and to wear it until you are evaluated. This is to protect the other patient’s and staff at the UC.
Only in an emergent situation should you go to an ER. Let me repeat that. ONLY IN AN EMERGENT SITUATION SHOULD YOU TRAVEL TO AN ER. Most symptoms can be managed from home. However, if you are struggling to breath, are unable to keep food or liquids down, or have high fever that does not come down, or you otherwise feel you must have intervention, call 911 and be sure to tell the emergency operator you feel you may have coronavirus.
What NOT to DO!
If you have developed symptoms, do not just show up at your doctor’s office. You should not go to school or work. You should take a deep breath, follow the above guidelines I recommended.
If you are not improving, you are becoming more short of breath, or you have life-threatening symptoms, then you should go to the ER. But you SHOULD call 911. DO NOT drive yourself to the ER. Call 911 and TELL the 911 operator EVERYTHING about what is happening to you. Tell them all your symptoms. If you have a a known exposure to COVID-19 you should tell them that too. This way the Emergency Response Team can implement effective protocols to take the BEST care of YOU, keep the ER clean of the virus for other patients, and keep you from exposure to other illnesses that may be present in the ER.
What About Lab Testing for COVID-19?
Currently the test is a nasal pharyngeal swab test. This means a Q-tip in your nose and/or throat. Testing for COVID-19 is being handled by the Health Department in coordination with the CDC. Contrary to what you may think, at this time, the urgent cares and doctor’s offices do not have access to testing.
While hospitals are testing, they must send the swabs to the state. Consequently, turn around time for lab results are long. These tests are helpful for the CDC tracking the disease but less so for the doctors caring for patients.
However, this will change soon. My sources tell me commercial testing and point-of-care direct testing at health systems will be available by next week. These tests will provide quick answers and will improve care. I will keep you updated as I find out more. However, this should not change how you proceed if you have symptoms.
What are supportive measures offered in the hospital or ER?
What are supportive measures? Tylenol and/or Motrin for fever. Oxygen therapies and nebulized medications for acute respiratory distress. IV fluids for dehydration. And pharmaceutical support for any other chronic or acute co-morbid illnesses you may have. That is it. Again, there is not much that standard medicine offers for acute viral illness other than for life-threatening issues.
Summary and Disclaimer
Our bodies are amazing and when kept healthy and in balance they can defeat most illnesses. So this should be your goal, not only now, but in your everyday life. Finding a healthcare provider that you know and trust is also essential. I have offered many natural methods to boosting your immune system here. A I have shared with you some of what has worked for me and been utilized for years in the alternative/integrative/holistic/functional medicine world. Anything I have offered here in this article is for education purposes only. It is not to be used in lieu of seeking your physician’s advice. Your health is your responsibility. I support and encourage you to reach out to a physician you trust, your primary care doc, me, or another physician. Stay calm, but take appropriate measures to keep yourself and our communities safe.
Where Can Accurate Local Updates Be Found?
For those who want to follow local updates in Oakland County Michigan and keep tabs on the current recommendations from Emergency Services and current updates on the spread of the virus. Check out the Oakland County Medical Control Services (OCMCS) podcast on this topic which will be kept up to date as things progress locally.