Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note, where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week to start off the new year, we want to talk about COVID-19 and everything that we’re learning.
We’ve learned so much over the past year. We’ve been dealing with it for over a year now!
At Performance Medicine we’ve treated so much of this on an outpatient basis. Close to 500 patients as of right now.
Some Common Sense about COVID-19
I’m optimistic about the vaccine, and feel like we are well on our way towards herd immunity.
At the time of this writing, we are still peaking where I live in East Tennessee.
For most people, I still believe early treatment is key. You can’t just tell a patient to go home, and if you get worse go to the ER. We have a protocol that will hopefully prevent you from getting worse.
Half of the people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms at all. Of the other half, 80% have very mild symptoms and in 20% of those it can get really serious.
It’s certainly more contagious, and more virulent than the Flu.
We actually haven’t seen much Flu or Strep this year. This could be because of social distancing, and possibly better hygiene. We don’t know.
Like I said, we are peaking in our area right now in East Tennessee. And when I hear that someone has COVID, I want to do something for it!
Thoughts On What To Do
Whether you have COVID or not, get yourself a Pulse Oximeter. You put your finger in it, and in about 4 seconds you get a measurement of your pulse and your oxygen saturation. You want to monitor this, especially if you have COVID.
If you have COVID-19, you feel pretty good and want a warning for if things get worse, get a pulse oximeter and monitor it.
We call this the Happy Hypoxic. A lot of people who have COVID don’t realize they are short of breath. This puts them at risk for developing early pneumonia. It gets into your lungs and causes an inflammatory reaction.
We still don’t know exactly why this happens.
The people who are getting hit the hardest with this, it comes down to low vitamin D levels and the ability of your immune system to react and not overreact.
When your immune system overreacts, it inflames your lungs 1,000 times more than they need to be. Your body becomes it’s own worst enemy. This can lead to blood clots, which can lead to a pulmonary embolism which can kill you.
An inflammatory reaction is your immune system going haywire.
You want to treat early to prevent this cytokine storm from happening.
We usually use a combination of some or all of these:
- Higher doses of D, C, Zinc, and Quercetin
- Pepcid AC
- Melatonin (not just for sleep)
- Usually use an Aspirin
- A steroid if I get concerned.
If your lungs do get involved, we use an inhaled nebulizer form of Budesonide.
All of this while monitoring your O2 SAT.
Thoughts on Monoclonal Antibodies
There is an interesting new treatment that’s available in some hospital systems called Monoclonal Antibodies. This is man made proteins that limit the ability of the virus to enter the cells. The problem is you have to get these antibodies infused in your vein over the course of an hour with medical supervision.
Hospitals are creating outpatient infusion centers for this. If you’re sick enough that you have to be in the hospital, then it’s too late for monoclonal antibodies. It has to be done on an outpatient basis.
People who should consider Monoclonal Antibodies
People with major risk factors: Morbid obesity and low Vitamin D levels.
Other risk factors include:
- Being over 65 years old
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
These people are at risk.
What To Follow
The course of this disease can be odd. There are asymptomatic cases, and it can also be a progressively severe disease. I’ve seen people get out of the hospital after 10 days and have extreme fatigue and cardio pulmonary problems. We call these patients “long haulers” because it takes them a long time to get better.
The average incubation period is 5 days. This is the time period of when you were exposed to when you start getting symptoms.
Most of the problems with COVID have to do with a weaker immune system. Being older is probably the main reason your immune system would be weakened. Also muscle weakness, nutritional stats that aren’t good, and poor gut function.
Interferon and Heat Therapy
Interferon is a substance in your body that you need a lot of to fight this virus. As you get older, you produce less of it which makes it more likely to get really sick with this thing.
We get a fever for a reason. It heats your body up, and increases the amount of interferon in your body.
Having a fever might be your first step in fighting this virus. I wouldn’t fight the fever a whole lot. It can fight viral and bacterial infections off.
If you do test positive:
- Take 50,000 units of Vitamin D for 5-7 days
- Double up on your Vitamin C (2 grams twice a day)
- Use heat therapy
For heat therapy you can use an infrared sauna to heat up your body significantly. This turns your immune system on kind of like a fever.
If you don’t have access to an infrared sauna, you can simply use hot towels or a hot bath.
After you get hot for 20 minutes or so, you can then take a cold shower. Being cold does not cause you to get a cold or a virus. It does the opposite.
Go from having a heated body to cooling it off with a cold shower. This can boost your immune system.
Take your probiotics to protect your gut function. Sweat and exercise everyday. Get out in the sun! I think a lot of the worry about skin cancer has caused people to avoid the sun. This, of course, can lead to lower Vitamin D levels.
My hope is that we’ve learned a lot of lessons for 2021. This is going to be a great year!
Get fit. Age well. And get that immune system functioning optimally.
If you need help and aren’t getting any, we hope you’ll reach out to us.