About COVID-19 & Coronavirus from Dr. Anita Wang, MD, FACEP

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March 19, 2020

Laguna Beach’s local functional medicine practitioner Dr. Anita Wang, MD, FACEP is also a board-certified ER doctor and no stranger to viruses in her 30 year career. 
 
Her own personal safety measures protect her from infectious diseases and keep her healthy despite working near highly contagious, critically ill patients. As the team lead for Doctors Without Borders during the 2003 SARS epidemic, she led fellow physicians on the outskirts of Beijing, China to set up treatment centers amidst this frenzied outbreak.
 
“What is important to remember is that Covid-19 is containable, and each person’s actions make a big difference,” says Dr. Wang. She urges the public that now is not the time to panic. If we can be vigilant and disciplined with our care, our risk is minimized. 
 
What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large classification of viruses that are common in animals, like bats, cattle, even cats that have been around for ages. In some instances they mutate and spread to humans. Most common human coronaviruses cause only mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract symptoms that are resolved in a matter of days.
 
Other coronaviruses have been much more serious. Like the 2003 SARS and 2012 MERS viruses, the Covid-19 coronavirus is highly transmissible and has caused more severe respiratory illness in individuals, even death in many cases worldwide. For these reasons it is important to understand the illness and our defenses against it. Dr. Wang urges the public to remember that Covid-19 is containable therefore personal actions make a significant difference.
 
Unlike SARS and even the Influenza virus, Covid-19 spreads in the absence of symptoms: during incubation before people get sick, or if people carry the virus but never feel sick. And while healthy individuals often experience only mild symptoms, elderly individuals and individuals with other underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and lung disease) are at higher risk for severe symptoms and unfortunately, higher mortality.
 
Best Protection Practices for All

World officials are now advising the public to practice frequent hand washing and social distancing habits to protect our loved ones. “High risk individuals are susceptible to all viruses because of their weakened immune systems, and we should be practicing these habits the entire flu season,” says Dr. Wang. She advises that we must not rely only on vaccines. “If our global leaders were more supportive of self isolation, we might not have the hundreds of thousands of deaths every year from the flu. The deaths that occur from viruses are the respiratory infections not responding to antibiotics because it is viral. Those who develop this Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) are critically ill, and the only treatment is supportive care using a ventilator or supplemental oxygen.” With Covid-19, the chances of hospitals running out of ventilators is high, which can mean life or death for some sufferers. 
 
Please, for the good of everyone, protect yourself and your loved ones by isolating yourself if you have any virus.
 
Dr. Wang’s Personal Virus Protection Habits
 
In addition to following the CDC’s recommendations on how to protect yourself from Covid-19, Dr. Wang follows several personal safety measures to keep herself healthy.

  •     Keep 6 feet from others.
  •     Keep gatherings of people less than 10.
  •     If someone coughs or sneezes next to you, try holding the breath to avoid inhaling their germs, and walk 10 feet away.
  •     If someone coughs or sneezes on you, realize the virus can be on the surface of clothes. Do not touch. Disinfect and/or change clothes.
  •     Avoid using the palms of the hands to touch publicly used surfaces. If you do, wash hands and make sure not to touch the face. Viruses can survive on surfaces for several days and are transmissible during this time.
  •     Utilize sunlight to promote health and boost mood. Germs tend to prefer colder weather and some studies suggest light can inactivate viruses.

 
Should I wear a face mask to prevent Coronavirus?
 
Sick individuals absolutely can avoid contaminating others by wearing a facemask, whether it’s covid-19 or something else. When sneezing and coughing, a face mask will contain the spread of secretions and therefore limit the ability of the virus to travel through the air. Face masks should be worn over the nose and mouth. This is in line with the CDC’s recommendation, which is to wear a face mask if you are sick as part of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
 
Healthy individuals gain less benefit by wearing most regular surgical face masks other than avoiding touching their noses and mouths. These basic covers cannot not fully keep viral particles from entering your body. Since they do not prevent coronavirus droplets from entering one’s airways, Dr. Wang advises reserving the use of a face mask for when you are sick and in areas where you will be in contact with others.
 
Though there exist special face masks that block the entrance of the coronavirus, they must be properly fit to be effective, may cause you to touch your face more and tend to be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Dr. Wang also advises against stockpiling these important supplies, as a shortage of face masks could put the health of our health workers and people who need them at risk. The last thing we want is for our face mask supply to run out, leaving sick patients without face masks to avoid contaminating others, and health workers getting infected and unable to help our community.
 
What can Boost your Immune System amidst the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic?
 
Important in boosting overall immunity against illness during cold and flu season are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and virucidal herbs. Our body’s immune system functions better when it’s well nourished and has the micronutrients it needs to fend off attacks from illnesses of any kind during this time of year, when illness peaks.  The best prevention is making sure your micronutrients, antioxidants, and minerals such as zinc, selenium are at their optimal levels to allow our immune systems to perform at their best. Dr. Wang offers such comprehensive health profiling and rebalancing as part of her Wellness Plans, along with unlimited virtual office visits included.
 
What happens if I get sick?

Above all, keep calm. If you experience all symptoms associated with coronavirus, including fever, cough, exhaustion, and shortness of breath, contact your doctor. A medical professional can give you a diagnosis and offer you instructions on what to do next.

 
Who can I call if I get sick?

Consider what you would do in the event you get sick with respiratory symptoms right now. Are you able to call your doctor? How responsive are they? How well do they know you and your individual body?
 
Going to a hospital or urgent care office could expose an otherwise mildly ill individual to other viruses including the coronavirus. The CDC also recommends staying home except to get medical care if needed. 

She is also available to all non-patients to answer general questions about this and any other health related issues. Dr. Wang’s established Wellness patients can also rest assured that they can contact her office for virtual appointments. For those with Wellness Plans, these telemedicine services (call, text, virtual, urgent care) are all included as part of their membership. New patients can contact the office to establish themselves as a patient today.
https://www.anitawangmd.com/appointments/
 
“Understanding the facts and knowing what we each person can do is key to the health and prosperity of Laguna Beach, and I’m happy to be a part of that,” Says Dr. Wang.
 
Dr. Wang is thankful for the efforts of every individual in the Laguna Beach community doing their part to prevent the spread of this Covid-19 pandemic. More information about coronavirus and other health related topics is available on her website at anitawangmd.com.
 

255 Thalia St., Suite B, Laguna Beach, CA
(949) 734-0580
info@anitawangmd.com
AnitaWangMD.com


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