• Aziz Merchant, BHMS,MDHom

Staying level headed in the times of Covid

For me, I am what I believe. Being Enough gives me a sense of Abundance, a solace in satisfaction. And what gives me this sense is knowing that I belong to a community- a community that is under threat from a historic pandemic. In situations of pandemic, the goal is to protect the part of our population that is most vulnerable. We need to look after our elderly population. We have to limit and stop the spread of this disease. We have to limit and stop the spread of misinformation on social media and gravitate to official authorities. We have to divert the cardinal sense of greed and opportunism to make way for healing. There are many theories out there as to why this has occurred- and to each his own. But the fact remains that the ‘spread of this pandemic’ can only be achieved through measures dictated by common sense and good hygiene practices, irrespective of what you believe caused this in the first place.


Stay up to date on all current COVID-19 information in your area by referring to the following websites:

· Alberta Health Services

· Government of Alberta

· Government of Canada

· World Health Organization


Facts First:

What is COVID-19? 

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. It belongs to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.


How does COVID-19 spread? 

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.


Who is most at risk? 

We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day.  Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.  As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children.


What is the treatment for COVID-19? 

There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous.

There are some practitioners recommending Homeopathic remedies as “vaccines” for COVID. There is no such thing. There are some remedies in general that can be recommended for “flu prophylaxis” but not curative for COVID. COVID, like any other case in Homeopathy is treated on the concept of individualization. Each person will require a different remedy. There is no one size fits all approach. I am currently offering treatment options to my existing patients only if they are immune-compromised. If you are already under constitutional Homeopathic therapy, do not take remedies suggested on social media as preventive coronavirus. This will only give you a false sense of protection and mess up your treatment plan. Please consult your Homeopath before you take any new remedy.

Needless to say the recommendations below are to be strictly followed:

How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed down or prevented?

As with other respiratory infections like the flu or the common cold, public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses. Public health measures are everyday preventive actions that include:

✓ staying home when sick, practice self-isolation

✓ covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately

✓ washing hands often with soap and water

✓ cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.

As we learn more about COVID-19 public health officials may recommend additional actions.

Re-calibrating to a new norm: Accepting Self-isolation

Normalize Self-isolation. Take it upon yourself to self isolate for minimum of 14 days (even if you do not have any symptoms) if you have travelled recently, and not just to the epicenters of the epidemic since now it is a pandemic. Any travel anywhere may have exposed you to the coronavirus. And you will not know if this is the case for upto 2 weeks. If you know someone who has travelled or been exposed to COVID sufferers, support them if they self-isolate. Monitor them for development of symptoms during this period. Don’t think of this as an over-reaction. This is the best method to control the spread and improve outcomes. Instead, thank them and encourage them for taking this significant decision and support them by offering grocery/ food drop offs. Food delivery services are offering no-contact drop offs. Remember, the virus does not spread by/ survive on packaging materials. Thank them for sparing physicians like me and first line health care workers from having to deal with this in a few short weeks.


Re-connect:

As I write this, the government has urged all Canadians abroad to return as soon as possible while flights are still available. It will only be a matter of weeks before this nation goes into a lockdown like Iran, Kuwait, Italy etc.. As of today (15 Mar 2020) the City of Edmonton has shut down rec-centers and libraries. Private businesses, restaurants and schools are still open, but this will change pretty soon!

Make use of this time to be with people who really matter in your lives- your families, your friends. People who you have been hustling for when you go to work- you get to be with them while you are compelled to stay home from work! Every cloud has a silver lining.


Finding method in the madness of potential cabin fever:

✓Finish reading that book you always wanted to but never found the time to do so

✓ If you are like me and procrastinating on filing your taxes, do them now!

✓Get a head start on that spring-cleaning

✓The libraries are closed, but EPL offers a wide range of e-books you can still check-out

✓ Check in on your neighbors who are over 65 or considered high risk to venture outdoors, to see if they need some supplies- like foods, groceries (or one of the million toilet paper rolls from your stash)

✓Find time for yoga and meditation. Youtube has some excellent yoga series.

✓Why not take this time to learn a new skill, hobby or language? Estoy en lo cierto?

✓ Chances are you are reading this on your device that holds millions of pictures you have taken. And I can guarantee less than 10% have them backed up. Sort them. Delete the duplicates. Catalogue them and create back-ups!

When all this has blown over, let us know what did you do with your time. I know I used to complain how there is so little time and so much to do. I’ll be careful what I wish for.


“Life and Time are the world’s best teachers.

Life teaches us to make good use of time,

And time teaches us the value of life.”

- Dr APJ Abdulkalam, Aerospace scientist and former President of India

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