March 12, 2020

When writing my clients about my office policy regarding COVID-19, I discovered I had too much to include in an email. Thus, the birth of a new post.

For starters, abide by those common sense guidelines issued by the CDC, which you probably know by heart now. Re-iteration can’t hurt, however, and I’ve added a few tidbits from other posts that have crossed my path:
–Wash your hands frequently.
–Avoid touching your face—and if you need to, use the inside of your shirt or inside of your sleeve to do so.
–Avoid putting fingers into your mouth! (you know, to pick out that food stuck between your teeth) Use a tooth pick or proxi-brush instead.
–Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it out right away. If no tissue, cough into elbow, not hand.
–If you feel sick or under the weather, do us all a favor and stay home until you feel better.
–Trade in hugs and handshakes for elbow bumps, bows, or air hugs.
–Support your immune system: Eat your vegetables, cut down on sugar (which suppresses the immune system), get plenty of sleep and outdoor exercise, and take extra vitamin C.

 From California Dept of Public HealthI like this page and found it easier to navigate than the CDC page (which you can find from this page, should you want).

You might be scared. That’s reasonable. But panic doesn’t help your immune system or emotions. Please read this that my friend offered, Science-based reasons why we shouldn’t panic, which I found to be straightforward and indeed, calming. And my friend’s a reliable source. With an MA in Public Health, she worked for California Dept. of Public Health for years and years.

A couple more links:
Aviva Romm is a down-to-earth MD, herbalist, midwife,
whom I’ve been “following.” And I like her. She’s posting almost daily about this virus, a different aspect each day. Do begin with the introduction, since you’ll learn about her credentials to be posting. And if you like what you see, at the very top of the page is her website nav bar for you to learn more–She’s an excellent resource for all sorts of health issues.

And this interview with an epidemiologist, who’s been to China to help, was on PBS, March 4, so it’s a bit dated—information changes daily!—yet still very worthwhile the 18-minute viewing time.

Another trustworthy friend sent me the following, written by a doctor unknown to my friend, but sent to her by a good friend. It’s also quite helpful in decreasing panic. More facts! (emphases by author, mildly edited for length by yours truly):
           FACT: 98+% of all upper respiratory viral infections are self-inflicted. It’s not the coughing guy at the end of the subway car. Without realizing it, you swiped viral particles off your own cellphone and wiped them onto your own eyelid or nostril. 98% of the time.
           FACT: Respiratory viruses are trying to get into the lining of your eyes and nose. Respiratory mucosa (the pink skin) is their home base. If you don’t want to be sick, learn NOT to deliver them to their destination! Your hands are constantly contaminated as ALL the surfaces we touch (cell phone, watch, strap of your bag, headphone cables, not to mention public knobs, pens, handles, clipboards, buttons of the ATM machine) are teeming with living creatures, viral, bacterial, etc. Respiratory viruses don’t pose a threat to your body when they are attached to your hands. They can’t replicate there or make you sick. They need to latch onto your respiratory mucosa.
           FACT: Viruses survive approximately 2 hours on porous surfaces such as your skin and clothes. They survive approximately 6 hours [update 3/11/20: up to 36 hours] on hard surfaces such as metal, glass (phone screen), plastic (pen), or your own nails. Washing your hands or using Purell obsessively is fine, but you can’t sterilize your world. As soon as your clean hands touch your phone screen or jacket zipper, you have re-contaminated your hands with whatever living matter was on it before you washed them. The name of the game – DONT TOUCH YOUR FINGERTIPS TO YOUR EYES OR NOSE (we rarely touch our mouths with our dirty hands and saliva tends to detonate many respiratory viruses but certainly don’t touch your mouth either!)
           SUGGESTION: this advice from Dr. Bill Taylor in med school changed the course of my adult life as a physician and crowded-city-dwelling guy: only touch your eyes or nose with the inside of your shirt. I, for example, am a very frequent face toucher. My hair gets in my eyes. My nose itches. However, you will rarely see me touching my face with my bare hands. In medical school, I trained my mind. I mostly wear V-neck shirts which offer easy access to the inner fabric. I hook my right thumb into the outer rim of the collar and flip the inside portion of the shirt out, use it to scratch my eyelid or nose, and let it go. The inside of my shirt is not in communication with the air droplets of the 8 million of my closest friends and neighbors. And it’s not in communication with my gnarly medical/city-groping fingertips.
           FACT: This has saved me from more illness than I can fathom. Countless patients who have implemented this technique will attest to the same. Bill Taylor was right. Please follow his advice.

 Indeed, follow the guidelines for these epidemic times, eat your vegetables, stay healthy, and be grateful for your one precious life and dear friends. (Things could be a lot worse.)

And if your body is hurting, and is without cold or flu symptoms, please keep me in mind and call, 510.526.5414. I’m happy to help you free up stress and pain, heal from impact injuries, and those “not feeling right” concerns. Feeling better, after all, supports your immune system!