In 2003 while stationed in Seoul, South Korea, I was the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons specialist assigned to the primary medical unit for the Yongson garrison. Thus, when SARS began to spread, I was attached to the emergency response team that would treat any patients that came down with it in our area. Fortunately, although SARS was quite lethal (up to 15% mortality rate), it didn’t spread fast, and was quickly contained before it could spread too far.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case with the Covid-19. Though the virus is less lethal (2-3.4%), it has spread much wider and faster than SARS. This has led to crises in China, and now Italy, where the medical system was overwhelmed by the flood of people who became sick. And now 6 states, including California, are under “shelter-at-home” orders. This mandates social distancing to prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus. The goal of these measures is to “flatten the curve” and keep the number of new cases from exceeding the capacity of the health care system to handle severe cases.
What that means for us
HeCares is dedicated to providing quality healthcare to the community, and the current situation is no exception. We feel that acupuncture is an essential part of keeping the community healthy, and will remain open for the duration of the shut down order. We are taking special precautions, including cleaning down surfaces after each patient, sanitizing rooms, and washing our hands before and after each patient.
In addition to providing our usual care, we can also provide treatments specifically to boost the immune system. We offer a specialized treatment to increase blood flow to the throat and sinuses, to keep your body strong at the virus’s point of entry. Additionally, getting treatments can reduce your stress levels, which also helps to boost your immunity. We are also providing masks and hand sanitizer to any patient upon request.
What that means for you
If you are not actively sick, or in a high risk group, we encourage you to come to your regular appointment. High risk groups include the elderly, those with imapired immune systems or on immunosuppressant medication, and people with certain medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or uncontrolled diabetes. For everyone else, acupuncture is part of what can keep you healthy, and so long as you don’t have an active fever, we encourage you to still come in for treatments.
What to do:
- Wash your hands regularly. Wash them thoroughly for 20 seconds, making sure to get the creases of the finger joints. When you can’t wash your hands, use alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- Regularly wash down surfaces that your touch regularly, including door knobs and light switches.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissue or the crease of your elbow, not your hands.
- Only wear a mask if you’re sick or a caretaker. Unnecessary use of masks creates shortages for those who do need it, especially medical personnel.
- Maintain social distancing: stay away from crowded places, only go out when necessary, work from home if you can.
- Do things that keep your immune system healthy:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat good food, including soups, fruits and vegetables.
- Come to your regular acupuncture session!. Acupuncture and herbs can help you keep healthy by reducing your stress and boosting your immune system.
- Don’t hoard equipment, such as masks. This can deny it to medical personnel who do need it. And remember, you staying healthy depends on those around you staying healthy as well. We’re all in this together!
- Don’t panic: stress and worry can actually lower your immune system and make you more vulnerable.
David Dick, L. Ac., DAOM