Coronavirus Covid-19 Managing Successfully at Home
Instructions for Self-isolation
Updated 8 Mar 2020
The Coronavirus Covid-19 world-wide pandemic has now reached Australia’s shores, and as of 2 Mar 2020, there is evidence of the virus spreading within Australia’s borders.
As such, there is now a 4-8 week time frame before cases begin to rise significantly in Australia, and now will be the window of opportunity to prepare.
“Planning now and doing something means we can control how well we cope with some of what may be coming.”
A/Prof Ian M. Mackay (Virologist)
Is Coronavirus like the Flu?
Unfortunately not. For example the case fatality rate of the flu (influenza) is 0.1%, whereas coronavirus covid-19 is between 1-2%. Hence it is at least 10 times more serious than the flu.
The good news is that young children are not as susceptible to the virus as older people. Of note, during the SARS 2003 outbreak, there were no fatalities amongst young children either.
How does it spread?
The virus spreads primarily through contact, through touching contaminated surfaces. It also spreads if someone coughs or sneezes on you directly. It may become airborne, if you leave the toilet seat cover open while flushing, or if you are unwell enough to develop complications like pneumonia.
There is constantly new information being discovered about the Covid-19 virus, it remains on surfaces for up to 72 hours.
What to expect from a person who is infected?
Main symptoms are: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. You will also feel quite weak and lethargic ‘no energy’. It can sometimes begin with diarrhoea and vomiting, before progressing to a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The main difference from a cold or flu, is that you are less likely to have a runny nose, or muscle aches and pains, although it is still possible (6-11%).
First week: most people have mild symptoms. You can call the BNH clinic for some Chinese herbs at this stage
Second week: some people may start to become more unwell, and develop pneumonia. The second week is the crucial week. Patients either have strong enough immune systems to fight the virus, or succumb to it.
At present, there are no effective anti-virals or treatment for this virus.
Third to Fourth week: usually the recovery phase, OR progressive deterioration and eventually death.
During the third week is the best time to increase antioxidants (vitamin C 1000mg taken 3 times a day and vitamin E 1000mg daily) to eliminate free radicals which may cause serious damage to organs. Contact the Bing’s Natural Health clinic for a phone consultation for chinese herbs at this time. Remember to drink plenty of water and soups.
Risk Factors for more severe disease
If you have any of the following conditions, you may want to consider taking more stringent measures to protect yourself.
1. Cardiovascular disease
3. Chronic respiratory disease
6. Immuno-suppressive medication
A high percentage of >70 year olds will develop a severe form of the infection.
Optimistic forecasts are that a vaccine will be available in 2021. An anti-viral is under clinical trials in China at present, and if successful, we will hear about it in a few month’s time (estimated to be June-Jul 2020).
Both the vaccine and anti-viral are not expected to be available in Australia before the virus infects a significant proportion of the community.
While it is expected that many people in the community will catch the virus sometime in the next 6-12 months, what we want to avoid is masses of people becoming unwell at the same time, so as to ease pressure on health and emergency services.
We want a ‘controlled burn’, rather than a ‘wildfire’.
We can achieve a ‘controlled burn’ by being fanatical with simple measures like:
1. Washing hands before and after touching any surfaces in public
2. Coughing and sneezing into your ELBOW, not hands
3. Keeping toilet seat cover CLOSED when flushing
4. “Pat on the back” or “bow”, instead of handshake
5. Reducing exposure to large group gatherings
6. Staying home if you are unwell
Practice 1-4 starting from now, so it becomes a habit.
Look after yourself, look after your family, look after your neighbours!
Look after yourself
Things to Consider:
1. Extra 1 month supply of prescription medications, inhalers and disposable products as there may be interruptions to supply
2. Medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen can help make us feel less sick
3. Alcohol-containing hand rub and soap
4. Household cleaning agents and disinfectants:
a. Disinfectant: anything containing benzalkonium chloride is good for coronavirus.
b. Alternatively, diluting 1 part bleach (4% white king is suitable) with 7 parts water makes a excellent hospital-grade disinfectant (0.5% sodium hypochloride).
However, you will need to make a fresh batch each time, as diluted bleach degrades quickly in a month.
5. Consider organising pick-ups of groceries. Coles has an online ‘click and collect’ facility, and Foodworks – you can phone in advance and pick-up groceries at the drive-through.
Look after your family
Do you have:
1. Separate bedroom where patient can recover without sharing immediate space with others?
2. Access to food and other necessities?
3. Access to personal protective equipment, at minimum gloves and facemask?
4. A thermometer?
5. Patient and household members capable of adhering to respiratory (coughing into elbow, NOT hands) and hand hygiene (frequent hand-washing or use of alcohol hand rub)?
6. Are there household members who are at increased risk of complications from Covid-19? ie. immuno-compromised, elderly etc.
Infection Control Procedures at home:
1. Place patient in well-ventilated single room (windows open if possible)
2. Minimise shared spaces (ie. bathroom, kitchen)
3. House-hold members should maintain a distance of at least 1m from patient
4. Limit the number of caregivers for the patient. Ideally one person should be assigned.
5. Hand hygiene after any contact with patient or objects in their environment
6. Mask should be provided to patient and worn whenever in close contact with others
7. If masks cannot be worn, then nose and mouth needs to be covered with disposable tissue paper when coughing or sneezing
8. Mask should be worn by care-giver. Mask should be tightly fitted over nose and mouth. Remove the lace from behind, and do not touch mask from the front
9. Avoid direct contact with bodily fluids
10. Use dedicated linen and eating utensils for patient
11. Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas in patient’s environment, including bathroom DAILY using:
a. Detergent first, then after rinsing
b. 0.5% sodium hypochloride (1 part household 4% bleach like White King to 7 parts water)
c. Use protective clothing during cleaning (ie. plastic apron), and if using utility gloves, ensure they are washed and sterilised with 0.5% sodium hypochloride
d. Other household disinfectants with “benzalkonium chloride” will suffice as well
a. Machine wash at 60-90 degrees
b. Avoid direct contact with the skin and clothes with contaminated laundry
13. Waste generated during the care of the patient should be placed in a waste bin with a lid in the patient’s room before disposal
Monitoring of Vital Signs
1. Assess twice daily and record in a book
a. Heart Rate per min – feel their pulse on their wrist or neck, and count the number of beats in 20 seconds, then multiply by 3.
b. Respiratory Rate per min – look at the rise and fall of their chest. Count the number of breaths in 20 seconds, then multiply by 3.
c. Temperature – use a thermometer, not your hands!
2. When to report to a doctor or nurse URGENTLY
a. If Heart Rate is consistently >100 beats/min for >5 mins
b. If Respiratory Rate is >25/min
c. If having a fever >37.5C for a least 4 days
3. Report IMMEDIATELY if
a. Experiencing difficulty breathing
b. Feeling severe drowsiness
c. Lips are ‘turning blue’
Links with Health Services
Know the telephone numbers you can phone like your GP’s clinic or Nurse-on-call 1300 60 60 24, if you are unsure or are seeking advice. Record these numbers in your phone, or place them on your fridge.
Make sure you phone your GP clinic in advance letting them know you may have Coronavirus Covid-19, before arriving in person, so health care workers can be prepared for your arrival.
CoVID-19 Government Hotline 1800 020 080
Federal Department of Health website is updated regularly: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
World Health Organisation website is updated regularly: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Look after your neighbours
Are your neighbours isolated at home? Do they need deliveries of food or medication you can leave at their doorstep? Do they need encouragement?
By preparing now, you can reduce the impact of the virus, and cope better in the coming weeks and months. I strongly advise you to start now.
Key sources are below. Feedback has been sought from subject matter experts and the community. This factsheet is meant to supplement, not replace any formal advice issued by a formal health authority. Please follow any instructions issued by any formal health authority and your doctor in the coming weeks and months, for your safety and the rest of the community.
Bing’s Natural Health clinic
1. WHO Home Care Recommendations for Covid 19 – accessed 15th Feb 2020
2. CDC Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalisation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (accessed 25th Feb 2020)
3. CDC Best Practices for Environmental Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities in Resource-Limited
4. Home Isolation Guidance – Australian Department of Health (Federal), accessed 4 Mar 2020
5. DDHS Victoria – Factsheets – confirmed case/suspected case, accessed 4 Mar 2020
6. “Covid 19: Summary of Current Clinical Evidence for GPs” accessed 3 Mar 2020
7. American Health News accessed 20 Feb 2020
We would like to express our heart-felt Thank you to all our valued clients for their continued support of the clinic this past year. We look forward to continuing to look after all your Acupuncture and Chinese medicine needs in 2020 and beyond.
A number of changes happened this year; there was a refreshing of the clinic space. A brief overview of the past year (in no particular order):
- Online appointment bookings became available
- Refreshing of the clinic space with many luscious indoor plants and soothing Himalayan Salt lamps
- Bing has happily transferred ownership of the business into the very capable hands of Alice Louey
- Luxurious new Cosmetic Acupuncture items were introduced; new gemstone quality facial gua sha tools and new gemstone quality jade roller. You need to experience them.
- we bid a fond farewell to Bing, who retired this year
The clinic is constantly evolving to improve our services, so we can better serve you in achieving your health and well-being goals. We look forward to revealing what we’ve been working on.
The clinic’s last opening day will be Saturday 21st December 2019 (closing at 2pm).
We will re-open again on Monday 6th January 2020.
For those in need of a tune-up, de-stressing session, or pain relief during the holidays we do have a limited number of sessions available
Holiday Opening hours:
Friday 27th December 2019 10am – 2pm with Alice Louey
Please book your appointments early with our receptionist 96995333 or book online
Appointments are limited and prioritised on a first in first served basis.
You can restock on your Chinese herbs at these times also.
Wishing you a Heart-Warming Christmas and Every Happiness in the New Year!
From the team at Bing’s Natural Health
Flu Shots… To Have or Not to Have, THAT is the Question!
by Nadia Gazzi
“Tackle the root cause, not the effect”
~ Haresh Sippy
It’s that time of year again! Everyone is offering flu shots and encouraging everyone to get them. Here at Bing’s Natural Health (BnH) many clients ask, “Should I get a flu shot?” So I thought I’d share some of the thoughts I’ve been sharing with people when they ask.
Although I personally do not get a flu shot, there may be a perfectly good reason for you to do so. After talking with you, and examining you I might even recommend it.
My personal decision is to not get a shot because I spend most of my days working closely with people and many of them are sick, so my immune system doesn’t need any extra stress. Some people do get side effects and a reaction when their immune system detects the flu shot. The flu shot might give them a bit of a fever and make them a bit achey and headachey for a few days. Flu vaccines are not necessarily bulletproof, and vaccines are no guarantee to protect people from a potentially fatal strain of the influenza, because unfortunately the virus can mutate to the point where it doesn’t match the vaccine very well at all.
Instead, I do as much as possible with Chinese herbs, diet, acupuncture, sleep, and self-care to keep my immune system in tip top condition all year round, and especially during flu season.
Common Arguments for Getting a Flu Shot
- Promotes community immunity and protects the vulnerable from exposure to the virus. People aged over 65 usually get an enhanced vaccine, which has a component in it which also boosts their immune system.
- A weakened immune-system, children, elderly (over 65), pregnant women, asthmatics, HIV, heart disease and cancer patients all fall into the high risk categories.
- Lowers the risk of infection by introducing antibodies
- Reduces severity of attacks and complications
- Minor risk of side-effects in comparison with actually getting the flu
- Getting the flu jab makes others safer by reducing the risk of transmitting it to others
The vaccines are egg based. So, the primary reason why you may be advised against the flu shot is if you are vegan, or if you have allergies to eggs, antibiotics, gelatine, or other ingredients of the vaccine.
And an Individualised Approach
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on protecting the body from attack by strengthening the five major systems of the body. TCM assesses health in a similar fashion to Western Medicine by evaluating a person into one of three broad groups:-
Healthy: no discernible health issues or symptoms at all;
Unhealthy: definite signs of disease of a greater or lesser kind;
Sub-Optimal Health: not unhealthy, but there are minor symptoms – runny nose, sniffles, tiredness, etc – that indicate imbalances that may develop into disease. Most of society falls into this third group.
In relation to getting a flu shot, the TCM response would be that a healthy person doesn’t necessarily need it because their immune system is well-balanced and resilient, so that it can respond to whatever demands are made on it. Therefore, their immune system will marshal it’s defences effectively against a virus or bacteria by attacking it and building immune responses against the threat.
A person whose health is generally poor is much more likely to need the flu shot as their immune response is already compromised. The risk is that the shot will divert immune resources from other organs, so this impact needs to be reduced and relieved from a TCM perspective.
Most of the population is probably classed as having sub-optimal health and they are the ones who need to weigh up the risks and benefits. However, they are also the ones who will gain the most from TCM interventions that help to balance and strengthen their five organ groups. The five major organ groups in TCM are the:
These are not the same as the western medicine organs of those names, although there is a relationship between them. There are specific TCM indicators that signal deficiency or blockage of the Qi energy running through each organ/channel and they are all closely related, so strengthening one channel promotes the health and energy balance in others.
The more you work on strengthening the energy flows in all the channels and promoting balance, the better your body will resist the onslaught of germs, bacteria and viruses from the outside world. Here are a few things you might choose to do instead of (or in addition to) your flu shot:
- Reduce / Eliminate Stress: common stressors include… sugar, hydrated fats, drugs, alcohol, shallow breathing, lack of sunlight and lack of sleep, as well as over work and tense relationships.
- Stimulate the Thymus Gland: the thymus gland produces your fighter cells and is just behind the breastbone. Drumming this with your fingers for 60 seconds twice a day stimulates the gland and opens the pathways to build your immune response.
- Exercise: 30 minutes of low-impact exercise (swimming or walking) each day reduces the inflammatory effect of stress hormones. N.B. If you are feeling tired you should consider whether that is because you have been active all day and should rest, rather than exercise; or whether you have been sitting all day and your tiredness is the result of energy stagnation. Like all symptoms you need to take a personalised approach and be in touch with where you are currently at.
- Cupping / Gua Sha: are very effective ways of stimulating the circulation of energy from the outside and dispersing toxins that may have stagnated in certain areas of your body. This is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to further stimulate your organ function.
- Herbs: custom herbal medicine prescriptions in conjunction with dietary therapy recommendations will help you nourish and support your entire system and strengthen vulnerable areas of your constitution.
In summary, my general answer is: “It depends?”
Flu can be life-threatening in some people and can cause serious complications like pneumonia, so definitely see a GP if you’re concerned, especially if you are at higher risk due to age, pregnancy or chronic health problems.
You need to make an individual decision based on your own constitution, circumstances, exposure to germs, your doctor’s recommendation and your personal convictions. As with everything in this world, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is only the answer that is best for you.
In the meantime, there are some simply measures to protect yourself and others. Wash your hands routinely, cough into your elbow to slow down the spread of infected droplets and if you are unwell, please stay home.
Thrive in Winter by Bing Qian
“A person who is healthy has a thousand dreams. A person who is sick has only one.”
When you think about your life goals and desires, I’m sure that good health plays a major part in most of them. After all, we need health to fully enjoy and participate in many areas of life: work, relationships with family and friends, sport and exercise, celebrations, recreation… I was reflecting on this the other day as I checked in on my progress for the plans I made for myself at the start of the year, and realised how important a role my overall sense of health and energy plays in their fulfilment.
I realised that I was feeling a bit sluggish and lacking energy in general… not sick, just slightly prone to sniffles, tired, and bloated. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to lose a few kilos for the past few months because I determined that was part of the problem and so I made an appointment at the clinic and discussed this with my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. And in particular, how to thrive in winter?
She determined which of my systems were deficient in energy and what I needed to do to stimulate and balance my Qi energy, so that I would be able to replenish my reserves of nutrients and energy, and actually thrive in winter, in preparation for the demands of spring growth. As well as boost my immunity against all of the winter colds and flu strains. It was one of those cases that proves the dangers of self-diagnosis even in your own area of expertise.
I’ve been reminding my clients to review their Chinese herbs, exercise, and eating habits, listen to their body, stop detoxing, and make sure they’re getting extra sleep so that their body stays energised and resilient throughout the winter, even when you’re surrounded by people who are sneezing, coughing and sniffling. Yet, I hadn’t changed my own regime to fit the changing season.
What Did I Do?… and What Happened?
- Exercise: I’ve changed my exercise habits and I’m doing less vigorous (for me) outdoor activity and more stretching and indoor movement.
- Sleep & Rest: I’m conscious that along with the benefits of electricity and 24 hour light comes the temptation to stick to the same hours of sleep all year round and to feel lazy when I go to be earlier or struggle to get up at my usual time. TCM tells us that our needs vary with the seasons and I have noticed that indulging that desire for extra sleep seems to result in fewer colds, sniffles and flu attacks.
- Nutrition: This is not the time of year to detox. Your body will function better on a nourishing diet that is warming and soothing and that meets your specific needs. My practitioner suggested that I swap my fresh fruit and nut breakfast for a bowl of rice porridge as a way of increasing my energy and reducing bloating and then eat as I chose for the rest of the day.
- Herbs: I’ve changed my herbs to balance my system and boost my immunity so that it can fight off infections and viruses. The beauty of using herbs to help you ward off threats of infection is that you can modify your regime (under supervision) to meet your specific needs throughout the season and strengthen whichever systems show signs of vulnerability.
Not only do I now have more energy, I also lost 2kg in the first week of this regime, even though it seems counter-intuitive given that I was eating more carbs and calories, sleeping more, and doing less vigorous exercise. It just shows the importance of balance and an individualised approach. i can’t over emphasise this enough – TCM tailors a treatment plan specifically for you, based on where you are currently at, and does not give you a general “one-size-fits-all” treatment.
Obviously I’m biased, but I strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your favourite Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner before you succumb to one of the many strains of viral or bacterial infection this winter. Your practitioner will be able suggest appropriate seasonal modifications to your herbs and diet so that you are able to resist infection, no matter what form it takes.
A Brief Word On Flu Shots…
One of the reasons I have chosen not to get a flu shot for the past years is that the vaccines are formulated on the basis of a pre-season guess about the most likely strains this year. I prefer to approach this by staying healthy and focusing on balancing and strengthening my immunity to all attacks – not just particular strains of influenza. Having said this, the influenza virus should be taken seriously, especially by those in high-risk groups where vaccinations are recommended, especially if you’re at higher risk due to age, pregnancy or chronic health problems.
Staying healthy and focusing on balancing and strengthening immunity is not the only solution to the question of influenza and so I advise our clients to discuss this with both their TCM practitioner and their GP if they are concerned. To be honest, like most health questions, I don’t believe that there is a one-size-fits-all recommendation on this subject because it depends on your particular state of physical, mental and emotional health.
Should you bother with cold and flu drugs?
While medicines from your pharmacy can give you some relief, they’re only masking your symptoms and won’t make you get better more quickly or stop you from being contagious. You can infect other people before you even start having symptoms.
And it’s important to watch out for how much pharmaceutical medicine you’re taking. If you are taking different cold and flu medications, you could risk overdosing, which can cause damage to your kidneys and liver.
Salt water nasal sprays are a better choice because they’re extremely safe and very effective.
A simple breath exercise to relax
your mind and help you fall asleep
by Alice Louey
This is a helpful breath exercise that I learnt a few years ago that relaxes your mind, and helps you fall asleep quickly. The use of slow deep breaths eases your body into a relaxed state. Breathe slowly and deeply into the belly; your belly should rise gently with each in-breath, and lower gently with each out-breath. The important numbers to remember for this breath exercise are 4 – 7 – 8.
Are you ready to begin?
Find a comfortable position to begin; I recommend lying on your back with a pillow under your knees and hands gently resting on your belly. Otherwise sitting comfortably with your hands on your belly will also work.
4 – breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 4; you can feel your belly gently rise as you breathe in deeper
7 – hold your breath for a count of 7
8 – breathe out slowly through your mouth for a count of 8; you can feel your belly gently lower as you release your breath
Inhale- 2-3-4, Hold-2-3-4-5-6-7, Exhale- 2-3-4-5-6-7-8
Repeat this breath exercise at least 5 times, and feel free to continue as long as you like.
During each cycle of this breath sequence you will notice that your breath naturally becomes slower and deeper.
Some people do find it difficult to either hold their breath for 7 counts, or to exhale for 8 counts; so it’s completely fine to gradually build up to these numbers. Try starting with 4-4-5 (inhale -2-3-4, hold-2-3-4, exhale-2-3-4-5), then when that is manageable try 4-5-6; and when you have the hang of that sequence, try 4-6-7.
Or if you find that holding your breath is hard, just focus on making your out-breath longer then your in-breath; breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 5 counts focusing on slow deep breaths into your belly.
Gradually you will be able to include a pause between your in-breath and your out-breath.
For other tips about having a regular routine amount of sleep, please refer to a previous article on Sleep Hygiene.