The American Society of Acupuncturists would like to make sure that you are informed about the outbreak of COVID-19 (2019 novel Coronavirus). The World Health Organization and the United States Department of Health and Human Services have both declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency. Here are some up to date resources about COVID-19 that are important for acupuncturists and other healthcare workers, as of Feb 29, 2020.
What are the symptoms?
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
● shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
At this time, the CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Where are the current cases? For the most up-to-date number of cases, the World Health Organization maintains a COVID-19 Situation Report worldwide. Current statistics show that 80% of cases show mild flu-like symptoms, 3-5% of cases end up in intensive care and approximately 2% of cases are fatal.
What are the recommendations to prevent the spread of disease?
There are simple everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
● Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-90% alcohol if soap and water are not available. COVID-19 can transmit through both respiratory droplets and via stool, so careful handwashing is critical.
● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hand if you do not have a tissue available. If you contaminate your hand and then touch other objects, you will spread the virus.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should follow the CDC’s recommendations for those who might be infected:
● Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to the COVID-19 related virus.
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Here are other actions you can take that can meaningfully support your health and ability to fight illness:
● Get good sleep, and prioritize your self-care. Sleep is critical to optimal immune function. If you are sleep-deprived, you are not at your peak immunity.
● Eat nutrient-rich foods, and prioritize a healthy diet. Your diet provides building blocks used by your immune system to fight illness. Without those resources, your immune system will be weaker.
● Talk to your doctor about optimizing your vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin C levels. These nutrients are particularly important for optimal immune function and may be depleted in the typical diet, and in the winter depending on location.
● Stay hydrated. Water is at the foundation of our health. Clean/filtered water consumed regularly helps keep our whole system functioning optimally, including our immune systems.
● Don’t panic! An outbreak is scary, but most people will experience COVID-19 as a mild illness. Prolonged, toxic stress inhibits immune function, so whether it is fear about the virus or excess stress at home or work, do what you can to give your system a break and restore. Exercise, acupuncture, nutritional and herbal supplements recommended by your healthcare practitioner, qigong/tai chi, yoga, meditation, or whatever your “go-to” to unwind must take priority now. These are not luxuries! Take care of yourself.