California Center of Longevity Medicine
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Los Angeles Longevity & Functional Medicine Doctor

Dr. Allan Kurtz

Board Certified Internal Medicine
Fellowship in Functional Medicine

Heart Attack and Stroke
Prevention Center of Southern California

Health Tips Blog

Should You Be Afraid of Coronavirus?

By: California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine on March 9, 2020

The global outbreak of the new or "novel" coronavirus is dominating the headlines, overtaking social media, and sending countless individuals into a state of panic. But here in the San Fernando Valley and throughout Los Angeles, should you be afraid of coronavirus?

Coronavirus Background

COVID-19 is a new strain in the family of coronaviruses, which are responsible for respiratory illnesses including MERS, SARS, and even the common cold. This new strain had never been detected in humans prior to the outbreak in late 2019. As such, there is neither a medical "cure" nor a vaccine currently available. For that reason, the spread of this potentially fatal virus is certainly cause for concern. Moreover, coronavirus appears to be transmissible from animals to humans, and is believed to spread via airborne droplets, which can land on virtually anything (doorknobs, counter tops, etc.) when an individual infected with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs. It That's why Dr. Kurtz urges all men, women and children to thoroughly and frequently wash their hands.

How Does Washing Your Hands Protect You from Coronavirus?

Studies have shown that approximately 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch. Since anything that an infected individual has touched may be contaminated for up to a week, your risk of contracting traces of the virus, and then touching your face (something most people do approximately 90 times per day) can result in infection. To wash your hands, remove any and all jewelry, and lather up thoroughly with soap, while rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds. If you don't have access to a faucet, hand sanitizers which contain at least 60% alcohol can also help.

Tips for Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus

While washing hands is your best safeguard, there are other preventative measures you can take to reduce your likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. Do not shake hands with others, try using your arm, elbow, or hip to open doors, and avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. Bring disinfectant wipes with you when shopping to clean shopping cart or basket handles and child seats. You may also consider avoiding paying for purchases which require you to use a touch screen. In addition, be sure to cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it immediately. Lastly, keep hand sanitizer in your car, and at the entrance to your home, and use on your hands after you've been out in public, and before you enter your home, to prevent bringing illness into your house.

Who is Most at Risk for Getting Sick from Coronavirus?

There is some reassuring news about coronavirus from the World Health Organization. Illness due to COVID-19 is generally mild, particularly in children and young adults. However, about 1 in 5 people who become infected will require care in a hospital. That said, COVID-19 is a particular threat to other individuals. Older adults, and those with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, lung disease, immune disorders, and other pre-existing medical conditions tend to develop serious illness more frequently.

Coronavirus v. Flu: What to Know?

There are many comparisons between the flu and coronavirus that are available and help shed like on the dangers of COVID-19, while also providing reassurance. First, the death rate from coronavirus is significantly higher than that of the flu. However, the flu is far, far more common than coronavirus, so it leads to far more fatalities. Finally, it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of those who test positive for coronavirus will experience mild illness, and fully recover.

Coronavirus in Southern California: Be Cautious, But Don't Panic

The reports and statistics about coronavirus are changing almost hourly, so in the meantime, Dr. Kurtz reminds you to be smart, but not to panic. There are cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles, but most healthy individuals need not fear this virus. Be smart about cleaning your home and your car, remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid people who are sick, and follow the CDC's guidelines and travel advisories. Finally, if you haven't gotten a flu shot, schedule an appointment today. Flu vaccines can prevent you from getting the flu, which reduces the likelihood that you'll have to go to a medical office or hospital, where there are likely sick people. Moreover, if you're over the age of 65, talk to Dr. Kurtz about receiving a pneumonia vaccination.

Dr. Allan Kurtz specializes in creating ideal health and longevity plans for patients of all ages. With a focus on regenerative treatments, Dr. Kurtz is fellowship trained in Integrative and Functional Medicine, Dr. Kurtz is also a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine.