I just consulted with my first coronavirus patient this week. Because we’re on lockdown this was a phone consult. I could hear his wife coughing in the background. So it became a family consult.
Like most business people today, he’s a traveling man. And we traced back his probable contact to a conference with attendees from all over the country.
This is a stealth bug. It gets access to your nose, mouth, eyes through airborne droplets. Or you touch your face after touching a contaminated doorknob, handrail, plastic bottle. You didn’t know. And now you’re infected. And so are dozens of others across the nation.
So like the rest of us, this dear couple hunkered down for the past week or so. They practiced social distancing. But it was too late. They were already harboring Covid-19.
Their initial symptoms seemed like seasonal allergies – runny nose, post nasal drip, occasional cough. Here in Southern California wildflowers are blooming. Everyone is sneezing, more so now since we’re all on lockdown and people are mowing down their weeds.
But there was this headache that wouldn’t go away. And occasional chills. And when he talked a lot – like on conference call – the cough got more persistent. Not until the fever hit did he get concerned. It was low grade. Tylenol took care of it. He didn’t feel bad. No body aches. No shortness of breath. Just this persistent dry cough.
So I asked a few more questions.
Did they have any GI symptoms? Diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite. A little loose stool which he assumed came from taking high doses of vitamin C. And not much appetite.
Coronavirus causes damage to the gastrointestinal lining. We’ve noted this on endoscopy. The virus can survive digestion and be shed through the feces. 50% of children infected with COVID-19 tend to have GI symptoms. Of course, these grandparents were concerned about their grandkids who they had had contact with in the past two weeks. While children can get infected, they generally have mild disease.
Was there a change in their sense of taste or smell? Why, yes. Food doesn’t taste good anymore. Hmmm. Anosmia or loss of sense of smell was experienced by 30% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in South Korea.
Of all the countries dealing with this pandemic, the South Koreans have collected the most data. They’ve run nearly 400,000 tests on their population of 50 million – way more testing than we’ve done here in the states. And they were able to effectively flatten their curve of infection by early social distancing. We waited a little too long. California didn’t go into official lockdown until March 19th. My patient probably got infected around March 4th.
Public health had already gone over his contacts, but they wanted to know if their family and friends were ok. We don’t know yet. And testing is being reserved for the sick. We have to assume his wife who has the same symptoms is infected – so they’re both on quarantine. From now until two weeks after the last fever breaks. Just to be sure.
Until then, lots of fluids, rest, don’t aggravate their lungs trying to be active even though they don’t they feel so bad – let their infected lungs heal. There’s no medicine yet to effectively treat the coronavirus.
Since COVID-19 can cause serious pneumonia in 14% of cases, I counseled them to call their local emergency room if they experience difficulty breathing, confusion, bluish lips or face indicating low oxygen levels. Thankfully so far they’re doing well.
We have faith that the healthy lifestyle they’ve adopted since becoming my patients some ten years ago will help pull them through this infection. They eat well, are active, support their hypothalamus by taking Genesis Gold religiously, get enough sleep, practice stress reduction techniques and generally have very positive hopeful attitudes. And that’s the best medicine.
It’s estimated that half of the population will be exposed to this novel coronavirus. So it’s not if we get infected, it’s when. We have to slow this virus down. Because otherwise we will overwhelm our health care system. We don’t have enough doctors and nurses trained in intensive care medicine, nor do we have enough ventilators to take care of the critically ill if this virus is not slowed down.
That’s why we practice social distancing. And we self-quarantine for at least 14 days if we suspect we’ve been exposed. Remember 80% of us who test positive will have mild disease or no symptoms. But we still have to self-quarantine to protect others.
I know it’s scary to test positive for COVID-19. And it may be hard to take a deep breath, but try to be calm. Fear suppresses your immune system. You can help your immune system by staying positive, imagining the best outcome, and watching funny movies – laughter has been shown to increase your immune response.
Connect with family and friends virtually – by phone or video chat. COVID-19 attacks your lungs causing a dry cough and making it difficult to breathe, so you won’t be doing all the talking. But it’ll be good for you to hear their words of encouragement, maybe watch funny videos together.
You can get through this. Join us in our virtual Hormone Support Group – we’re here for you.
What to do if you test positive for Covid-19:
- You need to quarantine yourself – not interact with anyone else – for at least 14 days. Separate yourself from the rest of the household. Stay in one room with the door closed. They should stay six feet away from you or wear a mask.
- Drink lots of liquids. Don’t get dehydrated. Adequate hydration helps your heal.
- Try to eat nourishing foods. Clear broth soups with lots of vegetables. Fruits. Some protein. Keep your strength up, even if your appetite is poor.
- Take acetaminophen for the fever, especially if it’s over 102. There’s some controversy about taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen with this coronavirus as it may aggravate a cytokine storm – which may be fatal. Talk to your health care provider if you have any contraindications to taking acetaminophen like liver disease.
- Use a tissue to cough and sneeze into and throw it away afterwards.
- Wash your hands frequently and after using the bathroom and before interacting with anyone else.
- Disinfect the bathroom that you use if anyone else needs to use it with 10% bleach solution (mix 4 tsp bleach into a quart of water). Also disinfect hard surfaces like doorknobs. Get your dishes in the dishwasher or wash them in soap and hot water immediately after use.
- This disease lasts two weeks. It may be very mild or it may be worse than any flu you’ve ever had.
- If you have severe difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, feel confused, notice a bluish tint to your lips or face – you may not be getting enough oxygen. Call your local ER, tell them you tested positive for COVID and they will help advise you about the need for hospitalization.
Genesis Gold® helps support a healthy immune response by keeping your Hormones in Harmony®, balancing your brain chemistry and optimizing your immune function. Get yours today!