Medicine For People!

November 2020: Home Care for COVID-19

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Home Care for COVID-19

The Germ Theory

It’s 1971. I'm standing around an X Ray view box in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Kaiser hospital in San Francisco. A resident physician, I am part of the team helping care for premature babies weighing in the range of 2 to 4 pounds. We wash our hands every time we move from baby to baby, which seems to be about 100 times a day. Our hands raw, we take this opportunity to apply lotion, and stand as a group rubbing our hands together. Not quite the image of the dashing physician!

Long ago, observant doctors deduced that certain diseases were caused by invisible microorganisms, and throughout the 1800s, against a good deal of doubt and opposition, the germ theory began to prevail. And so here, in 1971, as we care for these vulnerable patients, we take the necessary precautions.

Fast forward to 2020. The germ causing the Spanish flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS—a particular coronavirus­—has evolved into a form that requires us for propagation. And it's not treating us nicely. But as with all physicians and nurses, I pull out the N95 masks I had stockpiled for this situation, start washing my hands every five minutes, and intensify the familiar habits.

We call it the germ theory, but with modern microscopes and technology, it's a theory no longer. We know SARS-COV2, the germ that causes COVID-19, down to the atomic level. This virus has caused us to change our office procedures, as you will see at the end of this newsletter.

Colds and Flu

Most of the colds and fevers we develop this winter will be a result of the flu or a common cold. Some of them, however, will be COVID-19. So we, as all other primary care offices, ask you to call the hospital’s Nurse Consult Line at 360-344-3094 if you have symptoms suggestive of COVID.

Should you have COVID-19, about 5 times out of 6 you will be treated at home. You’ll be given specific instructions for self-care as well as instructions on how to protect those around you.

Here is some further information I hope you will find useful.

Home Remedies for COVID-19 as of Winter 2020

As you may know, COVID-19 can stimulate our immune system to overreact in such a way as to cause respiratory failure. Vitamin D makes this less likely.

If you already have lung disease, here's a further precaution you can take. You might have a prescription inhaled corticosteroid that you take only when needed. At this point in the pandemic, if you have the slightest symptom of a respiratory infection, take it every day no matter how you feel.

MERS was caused by a previous mutation of the coronavirus, and based upon what was learned then, it appears that Vitamins A, C, D, and other nutrients enhance recovery and reduce the risk of an immune system overreaction.

A zinc acetate lozenge can help us eliminate the coronavirus when it enters through the throat if taken immediately at the beginning of the infection. However, most zinc lozenges are ineffective. We described the effective type in a previous newsletter. While we have discontinued selling supplements in the office, we have a few of these on hand in case you need a bottle on an urgent basis.

COVID-19 also can damage the brain. Neurologists are looking closely at melatonin as a preventive measure.

Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, has long been known as an effective anti-inflammatory agent, and is also proposed by COVID-19 researchers as a leading candidate to help us eliminate the virus without damaging our own tissues.

Another way COVID-19 kills is through abnormal coagulation of blood in the lungs and other organs. Some people are more susceptible to this than others. To be on the safe side, take a baby aspirin daily unless you have a bleeding problem or ulcer.

For an adult, effective and safe doses are as follows:

  • Vitamin A- 100,000 units daily.
  • Vitamin C- 1000 to 2000 milligrams every four hours while awake.
  • Vitamin D- 10,000 units daily for up to 6 weeks, longer with medical supervision.
  • Melatonin- about 8 milligrams a day, either all at once, or two 4 milligram doses a day.
  • Curcumin- 500 milligrams of a highly absorbable form called Meriva-SF, twice a day.

As far as I know, none of these supplements interfere with standard pharmaceuticals. That said, it is best to let your physician know what supplements you are taking.

Schedule Changes in Response to the Pandemic

  • Jill and I have cancelled our trip to our family in Texas and will be here throughout December.
  • All scheduled office services, including nursing services, will be provided only on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Messages will still be picked up every weekday.

To Protect You While in our Office

  • The highest risk of COVID comes from prolonged indoor exposure. To reduce your time in our office, we are breaking our physician visits into two parts. The first is a telephone or Zoom visit with Dr Rienstra to go over the details of your medical needs. These will be done on Mondays and Wednesdays. Then we will schedule you to come into the office on Tuesday or Thursday for your examination and treatment.
  • To eliminate crowding in our office, appointments are required for all services including lab work.
  • To reduce your risk and ours while you are in the office, we provide all patients with a responsibly sourced KN95 mask.

The Germ Theory

The germ theory is no longer supposition, it’s fact. The SARS-COV2 virus causes the disease we call COVID-19, which to date has killed more Americans than the First World War, Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. It has left many people with permanent heart disease, breathing difficulty, chronic fatigue, brain fog, dementia and disabling anxiety. Even young people have been left with strokes, seizures, and spinal cord damage.

When we intelligently use what we know about viruses and other microorganisms, we can save lives AND reboot our economy.

Let’s do it.

Thanks to Jill Buhler Rienstra for editorial assistance.

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Medicine for People! is published by Douwe Rienstra, MD at Port Townsend, Washington.