Q:So even though we are being ordered to stay at home, we are being told it’s still safe to go out and exercise. Is this true? Should we be walking or running on the beach? There’s so much confusion over how and where Palisadians can get tested—what options do we have?
By Damon Raskin, M.D. | Special to the Palisadian-Post
Yes, indeed these are strange times in the Palisades and in the entire world.
While my medical advice may be applicable today as I write this column, things with the virus situation change so fast, that it might be different by the time this goes into print.
Not only is this virus taking a physical toll on those who get it, the whole “lock down” and self-isolation surrounding it is taking a very heavy emotional toll on many of us.
Scientifically, we know that stress can actually lower our immune system and make us more vulnerable to disease, so the best things we can all do for ourselves are those activities that help reduce this stress, including exercise, eating healthy, mindful meditation and getting enough sleep.
Running along the beach can be a good distraction and healthy exercise option in this beautiful town of ours. We are so fortunate to be in this community close to the Pacific Ocean.
We still, however, have to be mindful of keeping a safe distance from others to reduce any possibility of viral spread. This means you can go walking and running as long as you abide by these guidelines.
For those of you looking to get coronavirus tests, many of you have been disappointed to find them in short supply or not be able to find them at all.
At first, I was also thinking they would be widely available and that I could do them in my office. But as the situation intensified, it became apparent that this was not a realistic or even a helpful option.
First, patients coming in to my office with suspicious symptoms (fever greater than 100 degrees and a dry hacking cough) could potentially contaminate my office or infect all of my staff. Then, I would have to shut down my office completely and could help no one.
Also, we just do not have enough of the personal protective equipment (PPE) to satisfy the demand and keep my medical assistants safe. I have instituted tele-medicine visits where I can talk to and see patients over the phone and computer to offer medical advice.
For most, getting “the test” will not change anything. If you have known exposure but no symptoms, it is best to isolate yourself for 14 days, according to CDC guidelines.
For those with mild symptoms, Tylenol, rest and fluids (supportive care) is the only option until newer treatments become available.
Finally, for those who do develop severe shortness of breath or respiratory distress, my advice would always be to go to the emergency room for treatment.
Many patients are calling and asking to have medicine at their homes “just in case.” Although it is a good idea to have a two-week supply of your medication in case of an emergency, any more than that can deplete the availability of important medications for those who need it.
Stocking up on hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (medications that are being studied to treat COVID-19) is not a good idea until these medications have actually been shown to be helpful for this condition. There are numerous possible dangerous side effects to these medications, including nausea, vomiting, hair loss, rashes and irregular heartbeats, just to name a few. So, let’s wait to see the evidence before we hoard them and deplete the supply.
We are all in this together, and the Palisades is a great community filled with loving and supportive citizens who will do the right thing. Let us all help each other and show patience and tolerance during this difficult time in our town.
We will all get through this together … even if it’s from six feet apart.
Have a question for Dr. Raskin? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have it answered in a future edition of the Post.
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