Just when we were beginning to think we could see the light at the end of the tunnel on COVID-19, it turns out that the light might be a train coming the other way. Or maybe not. But all signs are pointing to the possibility of a “twindemic” of the flu and the coronavirus hitting at the same time this winter.
With all the millions of words that have been written about the novel coronavirus over the past year, relatively few have covered the topic of COVID-19 and kids. That’s because, once it was discovered that most of the serious illnesses and deaths were concentrated in those who are older, kids seemed to have been forgotten, except for the impact on their schooling.
But our concierge doctors in Jupiter, Florida, have been seeing more studies and reports that have begun to focus on children. We want to pass along the newest information in this area.
“I feel like an old person; I’m only 46,” a bank examiner from Brooklyn, told the New York Post recently. “I don’t wish this on my worst enemy.” She contracted the virus March 23, and still experiences body aches, hot flashes, arthritis and her hair has been falling out in clumps.
As some people toss around phrases like “herd immunity” (the notion that the virus should spread through the population to eventually produce a general immunity) and blithely attend “covid parties” hoping to achieve the same effect, our concierge doctors thought we’d explore one of the lesser-known risks involved in that type of thinking.
So much has happened in the last few weeks. Finally, though, it seems as though we can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. There is so much conflicting data on how to move forward that we thought we would try to help you parse through it.
As I’m sure you have noticed, there has been noticeably less talk about hydroxychloroquine. Unfortunately, some recent studies have shown no positive effect with its use, and possibly increased risk. It’s too early to say since there are larger ongoing studies, but for now hydroxychloroquine doesn’t seem to be recommended for treatment of Covid.
There has been exciting news from Gilead in regards to their drug Remdesivir. Their most recent studies showed significant improvement in a vast majority of critically ill patients. That’s one to definitely keep an eye on and may be one to help us come out of this crisis.
There are recommendations that have not changed, and, frankly, ones that should continue indefinitely. Those include staying active, exercising, eating well, sleeping well and avoiding excessive alcohol use. Although we would discourage outdoor activities at peak sun exposure (10-2), we would strongly encourage you to go outside for walks, bike rides, etc. This helps build Vit D levels which are helpful for your immunity, improves physical fitness which has shown to correlate with improved Covid survival, and can have a significant positive impact on your mental health.
There is a lot of confusion about testing and test results. And, to be honest, the picture is not clear. Rapid Immunoglobulin testing has gained significant traction. Several of you have already had the test. While the accuracy of the testing nationwide is under investigation, we still have to make certain assumptions based on the information we have. If you have a positive IgM it suggests that you have had a recent exposure to Covid. IgG antibodies develop later following infection, and generally do not begin to appear until 7 – 10 days after infection. When IgG antibodies are present it often indicates a past infection but does not exclude recently infected patients who are still contagious, especially if detected with IgM antibodies. It is unknown how long IgM or IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will remain present in the body after infection and if they confer long term immunity. Therefore, we suggest, if you are positive for IgM (with or without IgG) that you follow strict isolation guidelines for 2 weeks assuming you can be contagious. If you are positive for IgG only, then hopefully congratulations is in order. We do not suggest letting your guard down and encourage you to follow statewide mandates. However, there is a good chance you have some degree of immunity which could have implications going forward. There are several options for testing for active Covid infections. If you have symptoms that are concerning please call (561) 642-1000 to schedule a test at FITTEAM ballpark of the palm beaches. Another option, while a little pricey, is a home test provided by Access labs in Jupiter. If interested please go to https://accessmedlab.com/covid19.
Some of you who have tested positive have generously volunteered to donate plasma. While the protocol is not exactly clear, we have been made aware that Oneblood is taking plasma donations at their center in Pompano. If interested, please check their web site at Oneblood.org.
We are very thankful to you, our wonderful patients, for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. Although we are encouraging you to stay away from the office to avoid unnecessary exposure, we are still available and ready to take care of any issues, Covid related or not. We look forward to seeing you face to face in the near future when things settle down.
Morgan and Amir
Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens this month pulled the over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn drug Zantac from their shelves, over concerns that it contains a chemical possibly linked to cancer. Other countries, including Canada, France, Hong Kong, and India, have issued recalls for Zantac and its generic version, ranitidine.
As the evidence against soft drinks keeps piling up, the best advice our concierge family doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter can give you is, drink water. Or coffee. Or tea. Anything but a manufactured product containing carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame (in diet sodas), phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors, and sodium benzoate as a preservative.