Saturday, January 25, 2020

Coronavirus Update

The coronaviruses are not that deadly, mostly killing the elderly and immuno-compromised.

The out-of-proportion response of the Chinese government to this outbreak may indicate one or more of several things:

  • The Chinese government may be reacting very strongly and quickly, because they don't want a repeat of the SARS spread, which made it hard to move Chinese goods for many months. Better to inconvenience 11 million of your own citizens, then to interfere with international trade.
  • The spread, and the death toll, are much worse than reported. The Chinese government and the truth are seldom on speaking terms, which would make this a plausible answer. But, that explanation is not in line with the relatively low fatality level of this virus - about 5% of those infected.
  • The strain has mutated - well, it almost had to, as before, it was not known to transmit from human to human. And, virii do readily mutate, sometimes multiple times in an infection season.
  • This may have been a case of a bioweapon getting out. There are 2 such facilities in the Wuhan province, where the worst of the outbreak has occurred.
At this point, the situation is hard to call. It is even more difficult to predict its future. So, we will have to see the patterns that develop in nearby countries, such as Australia or Japan, where the news will more closely match reality.

My grandson has come done with Influenza A - that's the nasty one. He came home and went straight to bed, and stayed there.

It generally means 1 to 2 weeks of really feeling bad, followed by general weakness and fatigue for another week or 2. Most people who relapse have tried to go back to their regular routine too soon.

Antivirals, like Tamiflu, can shorten the duration of the virus. Other than that, you just treat the symptoms - decongestants, cough drops/syrup, and applications of cool dampened towels or alcohol rubs. For aches, acetaminophen will work. Push clear fluids (Gatorade is good, for the electrolytes, and a lot cheaper than Pedialyte).

Aspirin is no longer recommended. It's been connected to a potentially deadly complication, one that may have been, in part, responsible for the ferocity of the 1918 flu outbreak.

The most important thing is good home nursing. Sanitize everything, clean every surface with disinfectant, and quarantine the sick. And, wash your hands - do NOT just use the antibacterial gels.

Keep an eye on the coronavirus outcomes in Japan, Australia, and places with similar levels of medical care. If they don't begin to have major outbreaks, you can probably rest easy.

And, get that flu shot - yes, it's only 40% effective. However, it may have some utility even on other strains, in reducing the severity of the symptoms.

I'm concerned enough to keep an eye on this. So stock up on the respiratory masks (the supplies in my area are nearly exhausted), and get to a doctor to be cultured as soon as you take sick. Also, NOW, stock up on the OTC meds you might need, as well as some basic food supplies.

But, don't panic yet. I'd bet on it being a much bigger problem in Asia than here.


The Old Guy said...

Linda, would you say more, please about NOT using antibacterial gels for handwashing?


Newscaper312 said...

Old Guy, the alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers work reasonably well for bacteria, not so well for viruses.
Actually washing your hands with soap is better than sanitizer alone because the soap helps physically remove the germs, even if it does not kill them.

She is not saying to NOT use, just that they are not enough when dealing w viruses.

Ron said...

Either the flu shot is effective or it's not. The "theory" that it conveys some protection is fraudulent science. Our immune system is specific-very specific. Gets a flu shot-especially the wrong one irtityes your immune system at a time when you want it fully available for other infections. It's far better to understand how to be truly healthy where most of these infections wont bother you. Eliminate sugars, processed food, alcohol, eat appropriately. Good luck.