ANN ARBOR – Infectious disease expert Fred Brown, who was on the teams that developed tests for HIV and Ebola, said the most important step anyone can take to minimize the body count that COVID-19 is expected to produce in the United States is STAY HOME.
Here’s a list of his other steps. He will present them live Monday at 2:45 on MITech TV. The show will be simulcast live on Facebook/M2Techcast starting at 2 pm.
1. STAY HOME – Hand wash and sanitize public surfaces. Stay home and maintain six feet of distance from others. Wash hands every time after you complete touching potentially contaminated objects. Make sure you do not miss the tips of your fingers and the base of your thumb – these are problem areas. USE SOAP (or a 70%+ alcohol sanitizer)! Rinse for 30 seconds. Get into a sanitizing routine – every 24 yours for all surfaces, more often on high touch surfaces and if in quarantine or sick. Spray with a 5% bleach product and let sit wet for 3 minutes, then wipe off surface with clean rag. Sanitizing wipes with bleach is also ok.
2. Wear Masks and Gloves in Public (or in the house with a sick person). New research – If you must go out, wearing a mask is up to 5x more effective at capturing droplets – the main transmission route of COVID-19 – than having no mask in the general public for both healthy and sick people. The more viral inoculum you are exposed to, the more sick you will become – that is why healthcare workers are getting so sick. There is a severe shortage of both N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers. People are recommended to make their own masks or to wear scarves when in public. Here is how to sew your own mask. ttps://www.nytimes.com/article/how-to-make-face-mask-coronavirus.html. Make sure you wear your mask over your nose and under your chin, tight against your face. Avoid touching your face – the virus enters your body through mucus membranes including your eyes, where facemasks do not protect you. Remove your mask correctly: wear gloves, unty the straps and put directly into the laundry or garbage. Also, wear gloves in public. It is easier than hand washing. Once you are finished wearing gloves, pull them off inside out and use one glove to remove the other to avoid getting contamination from the glove surface onto your skin. . This will become the new fashion statement this year – get used to wearing masks and gloves in public.
3. Get Fresh Air. Ventilation reduces the risk of spreading the virus and getting sick. Open your windows at least once per day. Get outside alone, away from people at regular intervals for fresh air and sun. Resist using air conditioning in favor of opening windows until more is known about the circulation of coronavirus in aerosols. COVID19 can linger in the air for up to 3 hours. (We believe that air conditioner HEPA filters screen them, but studies have not been done.) Try to keep the air humid – this causes aerosols to become heavier and not to travel as far.
4. If You Have a Cold, Do NOT Exercise. Typically, we maintain our fitness regimen through a cold – not now. . If your “cold” is COVID-19, exercising could be life-threatening. Symptoms of COVID are fever, fatigue, dry cough, shortness of breath. Other diseases with similar symptoms to COVID include the flu, para-influenza, RSV, rhinovirus, adenovirus, among others. Today about 40% of people who get tested because they are symptomatic do actually have COVID 19. As the flu season stops and COVID19 prevalence increases, the chance that your cold symptoms are COVID 19 are much higher. If you have symptoms of COVID 19 telephone your physician immediately to see if you should be tested.
5. Test & Treat COVID 19 Professionally. Buy a thermometer and monitor your temperature. if you have a fever/dry cough, then call your doctor. Test at a drive through center with an appointment and physician referral. There are many unreliable tests and remedies coming on the market. Talk to your Doctor and Pharmacist before buying or using any of them
6. Vaccinate. Immune system over-reaction to the COVID19 can cause significant lung damage and death. Vaccinations can help “calibrate” your immune system and reduce your overall risks of infection and prevent getting COVID with other diseases. Vaccines help your body’s immune system recalibrate and respond appropriately – especially if you are elderly. Get the seasonal flu and pneumonia shots with the highest number of serotypes possible.
7. Reheat/Wash Take Out Food. Do not enter a restaurant until this outbreak is over. Any delivered or picked up food from a restaurant or friend is a vector of disease into your home – you do not know if the person who prepared your food was sick. Rates of COVID 19 transmission through ingestion are presumed low, but not known. Remove the food from container wearing gloves. Re-plate the food. Reheat warm foods to over 212F for 2 minutes in the microwave – this will also kill most bacteria. For fresh salads, fruits and vegetables from a restaurant or the store, rewash. Take 2 table spoons of baking soda in a glass of water, use this solution to scrub the salad, then place in a lettuce spinner/colander and rinse vigorously for 4 – 5 minutes under running water – add dressing and eat.
8. Stop Smoking. Good lung health is your best defense against contracting and dying from COVID19. In China, smokers had a 2.5x mortality rate vs non-smokers.
9. Continue Treating Your Chronic Conditions with Telehealth. You do not want have COVID 19 and an out of control chronic condition – mortality rates can increase by 10x. Call your physician for your regular check-ups and therapies. About 60% of patients with chronic conditions did not have them treated last week. Call your Doctor to get on to a telemedicine/telelhealth platform. If your physician does not participate in telemedicine, try to work with them on the phone. Do not make an office visit. If an office visit is necessary, get a referral from your physician to a physician who does have telemedicine capabilities. Switch to a physician who offers telemedicine services. This pandemic will be life threatening for the next 18 months or more to those patients suffering from hypertension, heart conditions, lung conditions, immune-suppression therapies and kidney conditions. If you have these conditions and do not have telemedicine capabilities, get a telemedicine physician engaged now.
10. Track Contacts. Write down a list of all the people not living with you with whom you have had any direct contact each day. If you are at a venue and unable to maintain the 6’ distance from others, then add the location and time to your contact list. (Do not enter such venues unless officials separate anyone with an elevated body temperature using a thermal scanner before they enter.) When improved, faster testing occurs, this list will help you manage your life to normalcy faster.
11. STAY HOME.
Healthcare Expert Fred Brown is Chief Operating Officer of Fred Brown Management Consulting. To read his bio, click on https://www.linkedin.com/in/frederickwkbrown/