The situation with COVID-19 is evolving and the flow of information can be overwhelming. The news cycle is 24/7 and there are podcasts, special episodes, webinars, resource pages and emails from anyone you’ve ever done business with updating you on the situation and what they are doing about it. Not to mention the frenzy on social media, especially now that many more people are working from home! Where can you get reliable information? How connected and informed do you need to be? How do you put the information coming out into context? I hope to address some of that here to serve as a framework for your response to COVID-19.
We are posting updates on True Health Medicine’s webpage and blog and will share relevant information on our social media outlets. For information about our clinic’s plans and some things you can do, we’re a good resource. For more detailed information about the virus and the state of the pandemic, here are some pages with reliable resources:
- govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 – Specific information, updated regularly, about Oregon.
- oregon.gov/gov/Pages/coronavirus2020.aspx – Includes new rules and regulations in Oregon.
These are good sources of reliable information and news related to the virus. There will be a lot of overlap in the information contained on these pages and you will no doubt find other pages with similar information. In fact, you will probably find similar information and links being posted on social media as well. While that is okay, I do urge caution in relying on social media to keep you updated as misinformation can spread as easily as facts. I encourage fact-checking by referring to source materials and verifying the source of information, especially if the information is related to what you should or should not do. And that leads me to…
How informed do you need to be?
With such an evolving situation and a constant news cycle, it can feel like you need to stay glued to the television or to your social media feed to not miss something. COVID-19 is a virus which is completely novel to the human body, and the current situation is one that most of us have never seen in our lifetimes, so it’s important to be aware of current recommendations and what’s happening. But, unless you are a news buff, a medical professional or work in public health, I don’t think you should be constantly scanning for updates. Staying online or on television all day listening to the news isn’t going to provide that much new information and can have a bad effect on your mental health. I encourage people to check-in at the level that feels comfortable for them, but to consider checking in on some of the sites listed above once a day. That should be often enough that a few minutes of reading catches you up on the news relevant to you. It has been my experience in the times I’ve stepped away from the news media cycle, that if something important happens, someone makes sure I know.
What can we do about COVID-19?
The most important thing you can do right now in response to COVID-19 is to maintain social distancing. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “flatten the curve,” and maybe even read this article (tinyurl.com/w49ms3s). Practicing social distancing can slow or prevent the spread of this virus. While we are still learning a lot about COVID-19, we do know:
- This virus spreads easily through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets
- You can have a high viral load and be contagious before the onset of symptoms
- This virus is completely new to humans and we have no natural immunity to it.
This is why social distancing is so important for you and your community. (Much more on that in the article linked above.)
Practice Good Hygiene
Washing our hands regularly is also useful. We have more information about handwashing available on our blog, but the take-home message is that washing with soap and water is preferred and alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be used only when there is no option to wash. I know many people are using a lot of bleach wipes or disinfecting sprays at home as well – I encourage you to sanitize thoughtfully. While there is some evidence that viral fomites may survive on surfaces, good social distancing and hand-washing practices may moderate the amount of sanitizing you need to do at home. Carefully consider the potential sources of contamination and be judicious in your cleaning and sanitizing routine. Do not use sanitizing or bleach wipes on your hands, face or body. If you are using bleach at home, dilate to a 1-10% solution and do not mix bleach with other cleaners. Disinfecting sprays should not be inhaled and should only be used in well-ventilated areas – with our nice local weather, open those windows!
Build and Maintain Health
With the projected heavy load on the medical system, we encourage you now more than ever to build and maintain your health. There are currently no FDA approved treatments for COVID-19 because this virus only emerged in late 2019 and there hasn’t been enough time for the research and development required for FDA approval. Any claims that X, Y or Z will specifically prevent or treat COVID-19 infection should be viewed critically. However, COVID-19 is being treated by medical providers. Is this a contradiction? No, treatment to prevent or cure this particular virus is different from treating symptoms or providing treatments which support a healthy immune response which is the approach the medical community and the naturopathic physicians at True Health Medicine are taking.
In addition, continued care and management of chronic conditions is vitally important. There are a number of chronic conditions which may impact outcomes with COVID-19. For example, people with diabetes may be at higher risk of complications with COVID-19. If you have diabetes or are prediabetic, improving your blood sugar levels and managing your condition are vital at this time. Many clinics, including True Health Medicine, are transitioning to telemedicine, and this may be the new norm for some time. We encourage you to maintain treatment plans and schedule telemedicine visits on your usual schedule for chronic conditions and to utilize telemedicine services as your first check-in for acute symptoms as well. Government regulations around telemedicine are being relaxed and insurance coverage is being expanded for telemedicine so that more people are able to access care while social distancing.
True Health Medicine is accepting new patients via telemedicine, and we encourage our established patients to utilize telemedicine as needed. Naturopathic physicians can evaluate and treat you for acute and chronic complaints, assist you in self-treating at home with naturopathic and conventional medical treatment options or refer you if you need testing or advanced treatment. Call 503-691-0901 or visit TrueHealthMedicine.com to schedule.