Firstly, I want to say a huge thankyou for the lovely words and support I received for my previous blog. I am surprised by how many it resonated with and it was refreshing to realise I wasn’t on my own.
I mentioned on my instastories last week that I would chat about my take on the Coronavirus COVID-19.
It’s pretty daunting to see empty shelves in the shopping centre, new cases reported daily, and more bans being placed on travel and mass gatherings. And the latest advice to socially isolate with the suggestion to stand 1.5 metres apart during greetings may have many of you worrying more. It’s all a bit too much to digest and many of you have asked my thoughts on it.
I don’t usually write about the flu season until next month but due to your concerns I thought I’d share some tips that I do with my family to keep the bugs at bay or to help reduce the severity of anything we contract. Plus give you some simple facts on what will pay out in the scientific world.
I have to disclose that the information provided in this article is not to replace the advice of the Australian Government and the World Health Organisationguidelines. I am a Pharmacist so cannot diagnose and if you are experiencing any symptoms or concerns please seek advice from a medical practitioner.
My first bit of advice, is to not be scared.
Collectively we need to support one another more when the world is affected by these types of situations, as the mental health impacts of fear, anxiety and isolation are just as damaging, if not more than contracting COVID-19.
I don’t blame you for wanting to turn your televisions off because of the doom and gloom the media portray. I must make you aware, that the media although great at keeping you up to date want to keep you watching so need to sensationalise things to do so. Am I saying the Coronavirus COVID-19 is not an issue, no absolutely not. I am just saying to stay cautious but understand that the media have an objective and pushing the narrative is at the media’s best interest.
So far as of the 15th March 2020, according to the World Health Organisation the world has had 153,517 reported cases and 5735 deaths due to or suspected to be caused by COVID-19. In Australia we have close to 300 reported cases and 5 deaths according to today’s interview by the Australian Government Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly. By the time this is published the data would have changed.
But how does this compare to the normal flu?
The normal flu which we seasonally see a spike in the winter months in Australia is similar, meaning it displays the same type of symptoms and can range from being relatively mild to severe and can potentially cause death in those high-risk patients (the elderly, immunocompromised, and those who have certain pre-existing health conditions). It also likely that it is following the same pattern of transmission through respiratory droplets. The common flu we tend to see a spike in Winter months due to it favouring low humidity and moderate temperatures. The COVID-19 is not displaying this type of behaviour and therefore we can only hope it will spike but it would be an assumption to think it would behave the same way. Therefore treating it that way would be dangerous.
According to Jonathan Runstadler, a professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Cummings School, ‘it doesn’t appear to affect children 5 years and younger. It only appears to show a very mild, if not noticeable disease progression.’ It may mean that the young are more likely carriers.
This was once again re-iterated by Professor Paul Kelly today who explained that '80% who develop the virus get mild symptoms, those that have died have been elderly'. He explains also that he classes elderly those above 60 years of age.
COVID-19 is highly contagious, in fact 10 times for contagious than the normal flu. So it spreads much quicker and it is this fact that requires the world to act cautiously.
The concern that health and medical scientists have is that we don’t know enough about the virus and its this uncertainty that has the world on the edge of its seat. Although the world is slowly increasing in the number of reported cases, the data we do have is mainly from China and the reliability of it can be questionable.
Generally, coronaviruses do not spill over to other species. By this I mean, a coronavirus that exists in humans tends to not affect the likes of our dogs or cats or transfer to an animal. And vice-versa, types that exist in animals do not transfer to humans. However, the COVID-19 virus has been able to do this. And when it does jump from wildlife to human our lack of prior exposure to this virus means we have not developed the immunity to fight it.
The other concern is the speed of reaction and type of reaction the international world took. I believe it was rather slow due to the fact they thought it would be like previous outbreaks such as Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that never turned to pandemic levels.
But what about a Vaccine?
The process to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is potentially a slow and difficult one. Creating a vaccine isn’t hard to do, it’s creating an effective one that’s hard. And getting it to enough people in the right amount of time is even harder.
We are at a minimum, months to a year away from any probable vaccine. And that is to just develop a vaccine. The longer process is to test and ensure the vaccine is safe and effective through a clinical trial. Only then once it passes this, the process of producing in large scale begins.
So, my advice is like anything.
We can’t be fearful.
But to air on the side of caution.
So to do so, I have 3 key things that I make my kids do everyday and they are very simple steps you can take to help reduce your family’s exposure. This has been a concern that many have, with worry that their kids could infect grandparents and other family members who are not well or suffering a medical condition.
Hubby calls school ‘human petri dishes’ and I believe it. Anything you get at home has generally come from day care or school carried home by the wee little poppets together with their homework, left over lunch and everything else they shove in their bag.
So I have 3 rituals I make my kids do daily, although simple they are very effective at reducing both toxin load and nasty germs in the home.
My 3 Daily Rituals for the kids
Now, you may not be heading home and taking your kids to sport or have other agendas after school. I use Squeakie on the kids hands. I keep one in the car and one in my hand bag. Do I think the kids need to have one in their bag, no. I encourage them to handwash over antibacterial hand sanitisers and resort to this only when it is necessary. Pre-order here if you wish to get it.
The idea behind the above is to minimise their time of exposure and inhibit anything coming into the home. 3 simple things that will drastically reduce the home germs.
These rituals are done everyday, it’s a standard that I uphold not matter how silly and simple it is. I even apply the same principals to myself as I'm always out and about with work. Give it a go and tell me keep me posted.
My next blog I’ll talk about boosting and protecting your immune system. I believe we will no doubt be in for a heavy flu season.
In the meantime, stay healthy and be kind to one another.