The last viral scare we had was SARS in 2003. I was advisor to Hong Kong consulates on medical matters and emergency procedures in this horrible time when we faced a new virus that had been incubating happily in China for years. When we finally learnt that it was a frightening life-threatening virus, there were many cases in Hong Kong and starting to spread around the world.
It seems likely that we may have the same situation as SARS here, and I’m going to give you some tips based on my 30 years experience of helping patients with difficult disease, on SARS consulting, and also having worked in a tuberculosis hospital in Hong Kong with untreatable strains of tuberculosis, which if I’d picked up could have been fatal.
Right in the beginning I will say one thing and that’s that news, risk assessment and medical advice changes day to day so I will be giving you a regular update after Chinese New Year on the situation.
Keep it real .
Having a sense of proportion helps keep fear in check .
Yes, there have been some coronavirus deaths Jan 2020, and this will no doubt increase. Compare this to 2019, when according to WHO around half a million people died of influenza in the U.S. This figure is due respiratory deaths and doesn’t even include cardiac complications of viral infection, so numbers may be higher.
Infectious disease and infectious viruses have been around as long as mankind has been on the planet.
The difference is that alongside sophisticated life saving medical technology, we now have the media exploding every case on a daily basis.
Diagnosis and reassurance.
Firstly we do have specific clinical and diagnostic criteria for the coronavirus Wuhan Pneumonia. For this you will need to come to the office to be examined. Get reassurance from your doctor, as obviously you will be concerned if you or your child picks up the annual seasonal flu with fever, wondering if it’s Wuhan Pneumonia. In this particular diagnosis we eliminate other viruses first. To aid in his, we have a cutting edge flu antigen nose swab test that can indicate the absence of ‘normal’ influeza A or B in 60 minutes. Diagnosis is a step by step diagnostic process set out by the HongKong Department of Health.
Our ally the immune system.
The first line defence against viral infection is our immune system. As doctors we work with boosting immunity in two ways, the first is vaccination. However at present university hospital infectious disease experts are saying that influenza vaccine will have absolutely no impact.
Our next option is to boost the immune system and there are many tips on doing this here. Further advice from our Dr Sara Jefferson.
For instance our nurse can give you ‘astragalus’ capsules. This is an ‘Immune adaptogenic’ This is a category of substance proven to modulate and it optimize our immune system and activate lymph drainage (the body’s toxin vacuum). Dose is 0.8-1 G once daily as a preventative and immune adaptogenic.
Vitamin C, 1000mg twice daily, and zinc10-30mg day, are other daily essentials. Vitamin C has been studied in immune support as well as attacking viruses. Zinc is essential in he defence of the mucosa (lining) of nose, throat and lungs. We have a well absorbed powder mix of vitamin C and zinc powder which dissolves in water.
You don’t need to see a doctor, the nurse can prescribe these.
If you don’t need to go to China please don’t.
When travelling be careful of touching surfaces, especially in toilets, perhaps take a hand bottle of alcohol for cleansing hands constantly. Although wearing facemasks is not 100% proven, using them with an essential oil such as tee tree drops on the mask will help slightly, as of course the virus enters us through our nose.
Epidemic of fear
Back in the days of working in tuberculosis hospitals with untreatable strains of disease where patients would be coughing. However everyone working in that hospital was 100% healthy. None of the nurses or doctors ever picked up this disease. The patients had picked up the disease only because their bodies’ protective mechanisms were depleted.
Have you ever been at an accident or stressful situation with people panicking and running around doing nothing, repeating themselves? There is always one calm person who just gets on with the job of sorting things out.
In the situation who is more likely to develop a weakened immune system? The ones in huge stress, who are constantly immersing themselves in gloomy news. This is not conceptual but solid science as it is now proven that stress completely defeats your immune system. Yet we are stressed on a minute by minute basis with media reports of a life-threatening disease that undoubtedly will increase over the Chinese New Year period with people visiting from China.
It’s essential to keep your stress levels at a minimum because there’s only so much you can do. Meditation apps such as ‘Calm’ are very good.
My international work is based on mindbody well-being, so I’m happy to give you free access to calming and healing meditations, in this link…
Wishing you health in the new year of the rat!