I am posting this update to hopefully give you some information, strategies, and tools to help minimize the psychological duress and give you some internal stability and external equilibrium as we deal with this infectious process and help your clients, coaches, and friends do the same.
As you know, my philosophy is quite simple. We encourage the individual citizen to take responsibility for their health and adopt the habits that support long term optimal health and wellbeing.
There has never been a better time to get out Your LifeBook and commit to your health. In addition, Part 2.14 in Dr. A’s Habits of Health has many strategies you can adopt now to improve your ability to prepare your body for any external threat, such as the COVID-19 virus. We will discuss in a moment some of the precautionary measures you can take, but in the event you are exposed and contract the virus, we know that the more optimal your physical and mental health, the virus is less likely to have a major impact on you.
Here is some specific info you may find helpful:
1. Washing Hands: Hand-washing—with soap and water—is a far more powerful weapon against germs than many of us realize. The first thing that happens is that you physically remove things from your hands. At the same time, for certain agents, the soap will actually break apart their protective lipid envelope—basically, a layer of fat. Soap can break that fat apart and make the virus unable to infect you. The second thing soap does is mechanical. It makes skin slippery so that with enough rubbing, we can pry germs off and rinse them away.
Sounds pretty simple, but the vast majority of people still don’t do it right.
How do you do it right?
First, turn on the water. Second, lather up. The soap helps germs slip off your skin as you rub your hands together.
If you’re in control of the soap you’re using, you may want to pick a liquid or gel over foaming pump soap. Researchers think because foam washes off more quickly than gel soap, users are more likely to splash and dash after a dollop of foam.
How long should you scrub your hands? At least 20 seconds, according to the CDC. As you’ve probably heard, that’s the same amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice. Finally, dry your hands with paper towels. Paper towels actually have a beneficial effect beyond simply washing. Rubbing your hands with a paper towel removes even more germs than just washing alone. Dry hands are also less likely to spread contamination than wet hands.
If you can’t wash, reach for some hand sanitizer. Lipid membrane viruses like coronaviruses are killed by alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Just make sure it’s at least 62% alcohol. Make sure to use enough so that it covers all the surfaces on your hands. Rub that on until your hands feel dry, which should take about 20 seconds.
If you still have some skin left on your hands after all that washing, try to keep it clean. Avoid touching contaminated surfaces. Use a clean paper towel to open bathroom doors. Disinfect dirty surfaces that you use every day, like the touchscreen on your phone and your computer keyboard.
You can learn even more here.
2. Contact with others: If you want to greet someone, touch elbows or simply bow, please. I try not to touch my face, mouth, and eyes, but I admit that it’s hard. If I sneeze, it’s into the bend of my elbow and downward.
3. Masks: Most masks work to protect others but not you. Nonetheless, the demand is incredible. Although it is not a current recommendation in the U.S., you might entertain wearing a mask whenever flying.
4. Medications: There are no antiviral prescription products available for the coronavirus. The flu vaccine does not cover it and, in fact, hardly covers the flu (45% coverage of the common flu at last report).
5. Be concerned, but don’t panic. The coronavirus is serious, but the mortality rate is low. Approximately 80% who contract the virus have a mild to moderate upper respiratory event and do well. 20% become very sick because the virus invades their lungs and they may have to be hospitalized. The current mortality rate is between 1-2 percent although a review of the China experience says it may actually be less than 1 percent.*
The vast majority of the 20% who become sick are debilitated, have respiratory problems, are on chemotherapy, have impaired immune systems, etc. Rarely does the average, healthy person have a severe reaction. Fortunately, the virus doesn’t seem to bother children too much, but you should expect young people to have significant problems if they vape! ANY vaping of any kind puts you in the high-risk category.
Dr. A’s worry scale (10 is worst): Ebola = 10! Coronavirus = 6 Common Flu = 5. The media and Internet have created a worldwide panic and may bring a worldwide depression based on a potentially severe but not terribly lethal virus. Be concerned, but don’t panic.
As of 3/10/20, the USA had 755 cases with 25 deaths (21 were elderly, debilitated, etc.). 16 of the 22 deaths were nursing home patients in Washington. To put it into perspective, the CDC estimates that 16,000 Americans died of the seasonal flu so far this year.**
Predictions: The coronavirus is a pandemic that has left 100,000 worldwide infected with COVID-19 so far. It is not going away for a while. Expect far more cases with a potential lull in the summer months, but it will continue at least through the fall and probably longer and settle in like other flu-like vectors. Avoid any high-risk areas such as China, Japan, Italy, and Iran, and expect that list to continue to grow. In order to track the US infected areas please visit: https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-updates-united-states.html***
There is a worldwide race to create a vaccine with Israel reporting testing in progress, so stay tuned.
It is important to be informed. I have taken the latest updates from the leading medical experts in infectious disease, public health, and epidemiologists and government agencies to give you a balanced perspective of this public threat.
It is a serious virus and, as such, must be treated with respect—but not with hysteria. Remember our mental state affects our physical health. If we are losing sleep or constantly worried, the stress lowers our ability to protect our body as the immune system is taxed.
Make the decision now to renew your health journey or enhance it as well as your mental state, pull out the Habits of Health Transformational system, call your coach, and put yourself in the best position to protect you and your family from the effects of this latest threat.
Use the suggestions, especially hand washing, and avoid high-risk situations where the virus is highly present.
Stay safe and healthy
* Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in ChinaList of authors: Wei-jie Guan, Ph.D., Zheng-yi Ni, M.D., et al for the China Medical Treatment Expert Group Covid-19*Drs. Guan, Ni, Yu Hu, W. Liang, Ou, He, L. Liu, Shan, Lei, Hui, Du, L. Li, Zeng, and Yuen contributed equally to this article. This article was published on February 28, 2020, and last updated on March 6, 2020, at NEJM.org.
** Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Influenza
JAMA. Published online February 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2633