Vital Facts from Dr. Bob Arnot on COVID-19

March 30, 2020

As Covid-19 sweeps our globe, a lot of information is being shared, some of it from people who have no medical credentials.  We sat down with Dr. Bob Arnot, a physician and former Chief Medical Correspondent for NBC and CBS, who also is featured on Salonpas® commercials, who answered our most pressing questions on how to cope during this stressful time:

Dr. Bob Arnot Shares Vital Facts on COVID-19

“Keeping distance from people is crucial,’ says Dr. Bob Arnot.  “Millennials should stay away from their parents, especially if they are big socializers until they have had 14 days in isolation.”

When to Seek Medical Attention

As hospitals overload, its vital that people who really need care don’t die waiting and those with milder symptoms, stay home and isolate.

Be wary of shortness of breath and trouble breathing.  The disease progresses 4-6 days before Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) may set in.  If you experience labored shortness of breath, it is absolutely vital you make your way to a hospital that has available ventilators.  There is a very short window between the onset of labored breathing and the need for a ventilator. Before then, don’t jam healthcare facilities for those who need it most.

Chest pain should never be ignored.  The pain may not be a heart attack but could be an inflammation of the heart called myocarditis which has a very high risk of death. Your doctor may elect to put you on steroids or another therapy, so call them early with chest pain.

What are Primary Risk Factors?

It is important to control primary risk factors.  The best prevention we know of is addressing the primary risk factors that lead to bad results.  What are some examples of primary risk factors?

  • Heart disease: this is the biggest risk factor for death in as reported in JAMA this week. 
  • If you have high blood pressure, get it into normal limits. 
  • If you have high cholesterol, bring it down below 100
  • Diabetes: This is also one of the biggest risks.  Most of the patients with ventilators in London have a high body mass index and metabolic syndrome…e.g. diabetes on steroids.  You want your A1C down towards five and a normal blood sugar.
  • High BMI:  Try and achieve an average body mass index   Don’t engage in crash diets but with the extended risk of Coronavirus, now is the time to get your weight into a healthy range.
  • Asthma: Make sure you are on the full complement of inhaled steroids and bronchodilators and your lungs are crystal clear.  Be aggressive. Asthma patients and COPD are doing poorly on Vents because their lungs are so stiff. 
  • Cancer: Be extra careful to isolate
  • Immunocompromised: Vital you be incredibly well protected and isolated

Protect Our Check-Out Personnel!

The front line in the epidemic now are the heroes working at grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and take-out restaurants.  These individuals are keeping us healthy by providing essential services that we desperately need.

As reported by The New York Post, “grocery stores like ShopRite have taken drastic measures to help and protect their customers and workers from the coronavirus pandemic – from $2 pay raises to installing plexiglass sneeze guards and now allowing workers to wear protective masks and gloves.”

If you are going to the grocery store, try to pre-pay on line with a credit card.  Yes, cash may carry the virus, but plastic can hold the virus for 48 hours, so credit cards are no safer.  Everyone should give these incredible workers at least six feet distance between you and them.  When you step forward to put in your credit card, let them step back six feet.  Stores should place a tape for a six-foot line in front of the counter for us to stand.  We owe it to them.  Their lives are at stake.

If possible, get your groceries delivered. 

What is Recommended Nutrition and Activity During this Time?

  • Eat Anti-inflammatory foods: There has not yet been any clinical trials proving anything about coronavirus protection.  However, we do know that those with damaged immune systems, due to diseases like diabetes, do poorly with the virus. Here’s what I do: I have a morning smoothie with cantaloupe, blueberries, avocado, Greek yogurt, honey, spinach, and kale.   I freeze all of this so there is no bad taste if you don’t like veggies.  You’ll get more anti-inflammatory compounds in a morning from this smoothie than most people consumer in a month.
  • Drink anti-inflammatory beverages. Coffee tops the list if you are drinking light roasted East African coffees.  The dark roasts won’t do much but Matcha green tea and high-quality red wines are also high in antioxidants (though red wine much less, so don’t make up by drinking a bottle!)
  • Sleep is essential.  Getting good quality sleep is one of the best ways to recovery your immune system for work-outs.
  • Low Impact Workouts – Try and keep fit and lean but don’t engage in super high intensity workouts that may dampen your immune system and make you more vulnerable. 

Personally, I use Whoop, a fitness monitoring system each day to look at my recovery. It allows me to gauge my workout, sleep and recovery to ultimately tune my body to be ready.

Think you’re taking good care of yourself? You likely are not.  52% of adults and 74% of children don’t take the most basic measures.