Day 1 of Preparing for COVID19Read Now
Refill my RX meds.
So there's a new virus infecting humans. Well, not a new virus, but newly capable of making humans sick and of spreading from one person to another. Catchily named COVID19. Last I have read credible news, we now have evidence of community transmission in the US and that means it's not likely we will stop the spread. Some presumptions:
1. This is new to humans so none of us have acquired immunity in the form of specific antibodies.
2. Typical spread is each infected person infects 2.2 others. This means it can spread pretty quickly.
3. Incubation period is about a week.
4. Most of us who interact with other humans are going to get it
5. Most of us who get it are going to be mildly or moderately sick for a week or two and then get better.
6. Mild and moderately sick folks will be best cared for at home with things like chicken soup, elderberry syrup, and rest. Those people will need to be checked on
7. A small number will get seriously sick, some will need intensive care and a few of them will need to be on ventillators.
8. Somewhere between 1/1000 and 1/100 of those who get sick will die. Most of them will be people who are old and who have other health conditions. Children seem to be spared serious illness.
9. Higher death rates will occur among people who can't get intensive care, either cause they decline it, can't access it, or the system is overwhelmed and can't offer it to everyone.
10. Slowing down how rapidly this virus spreads seems like the best approach to keeping the death rates low. Our health system can do a good job of providing intensive care, but it's a limited capacity.
11. There may be weeks where the wisest, most generous, most civically responsible thing to do is to stay home.
So today I did my first act of being prepared for that: I ordered my prescription early. So if my current supply runs out when I should be staying home (and so should my pharmacist and my postal delivery person, etc), this will be one trip I won't feel pressed to make/ask someone else to make. What are you doing?
We are all sick. . .Read Now
So many calls these weeks, like every late winter since I started taking care of folks who get sick. The kids are sick, the parents are sick, the grandparents are sick. Cough. Fever. Upset stomachs. Crying, restless babies. And the kids seem to get sick again every 2-3 weeks. I am not spared this year. It's hard.
The calls I get are from people who have illnesses that will resolve in days to weeks with supportive care. I care for lucky, hardy folk who take good care of themselves, have great home remedy medicine cabinets, and who put lot of stock in the body's ability to heal.
What am I recommending? Mostly reassurance and encouragement to keep up what they are already doing. Sometimes I have some other ideas of things to add. Here's the list I run down when I am talking to folks:
1. Rest. There is something really healing in clearing the calendar for 48 hours and going to bed with fluids and a good book. I don't think screens are a part of rest
2. Fluids. Mostly water, herbal teas, and broth soups. Drink to thirst
3. Simple diet. Vegetables, especially onion family, simple grains, and some fruits. Meats, dairy, nuts as tolerated but mostly not.
4. Ask for help. For most of us to do this, we need others to do all the amazing and generous work we do the rest of the time.
5. Immune supporting herbs. Garlic (raw). Echinacea. Astragalus. Olive Leaf Extract, Goldenseal, Elderberry.
6. Wash your hands
7. Stay home and away from others until you feel solidly well.
You can implement most of these if you want to avoid getting sick, too.
Elizabeth Alleman, MD is a family physician, acupuncturist practicing and pondering in central Missouri