Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

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Dr. Richard Chern, M.D., communicated with several experts and wrote the following statements to let the community know the latest information on ways to combat COVID-19:

• Highest risk individuals are those who have diabetes, high blood pressure (especially on ACE inhibitors), COPD, cardiovascular disease, age over 65 and males. Each adds significant risk. If you have any of these risk factors or have regular contact with someone who does, be extremely cautious. In the United States as of March 26, the death rate in diabetics with COVID-19 is over 10%.

• COVID-19 can stay aerosolized (airborne) for three hours and alive on surfaces for 10 days. It is found in blood, stool, tears and of course respiratory secretions. It can be shed 10 days before a person displays symptoms and 20 days after recovery from infection, although 6 to 10 days is typical. People under age 20 can display symptoms as mild as a headache, sore throat, mild cough or just diarrhea. It’s best to consider every stranger infected.

• Step one is avoidance. This infection is in our community. Stay at home if possible and use social distancing if not. Be aware of people around you and give them space. Kids want to touch everything. Be aware of any surface kids can reach. Wearing masks, gloves and glasses does not eliminate your risk. They can give a false sense of security and often encourage you to touch your face. Be careful when wearing these and avoid touching your face. When wearing gloves, it is easy to contaminate clean surfaces. Be aware of what surfaces you want to keep clean and do not touch them with gloved hands.

• Doorknobs, doorknobs, doorknobs… They may be a primary transfer method of COVID-19. Be careful where you place your hands after touching a doorknob.

• COVID-19 is an enveloped virus which means it is easily destroyed with soap and water. Soap and water can be used on countertops, food containers and many other surfaces, not just your hands. Alcohol is also effective but the killing action occurs during evaporation. Let alcohol dry and avoid wiping it up before it’s job is done. In Italy, non perishable groceries are quarantined outside for at least a day and perishables are sanitized with either soap and water or alcohol before being put away.

What can you do to reduce the severity of infection?
• T cells, B cells and Natural Killer cells are white blood cells that help prevent and fight infection.
• Vitamin A is critical for T cell and B cell function and reduces mortality in infection.
• Vitamin C directs white blood cells to the infection site for a quick response.
• Vitamin D increases Natural Killer cell function and reduces risk of infection.
• Zinc increases Natural Killer cell function and optimizes T cell function.
• Iodine enhances immunity by increasing B cell and Natural Killer cell function.

In addition, these prescriptions are available from our office.
• Thymosin Alpha greatly inhibits viral replication and stimulates B cell, T cell and Natural Killer cells. It is used in Influenza, Hepatitis, HIV and other viral infections and is safe to use at every age.
• Thymosin Beta stimulates T cell production and improves B cell antibody formation.
Selank kills viruses and bacteria by increasing superoxides and white blood cell function.
Optimizing hormones and thyroid can boost immunity by inhibiting the ability of viruses to enter our cells and decreasing the severity of respiratory infections.

Avoid ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin and possibly naprosyn or Aleve. This is based on preliminary findings but is becoming a common recommendation.

Lastly, the combination of chloroquine and azithromycin works well. Chloroquine inhibits the virus’s ability to enter the cell while azithromycin inhibits its ability to replicate. Unfortunately, these drugs have multiple drug to drug interactions and possible severe adverse effects. Chloroquine can cause retinal damage, hearing loss and in those with particular heart abnormalities, sudden death. It is not for everyone.

All these preventative measures need proper dosing and patient selection. They should be discussed with your doctor or myself during an appointment. Something as simple as zinc lozenges can cause loss of smell, kidney and liver damage, or death. Speak with a doctor before using these.

We are still seeing patients and can also do telemedicine appointments if desired. We are adhering to all CDC guidelines. Please call Dr. Richard Chern at 850-837-1271 for an appointment.