Covid-19 prevention and preparation in Lymington and the New Forest
A few hopefully helpful tips for self preservation from our medical friends and own experience
First a reminder of:
What follows is a rather more personal article we've compiled (and to which we can add as relevant) containing advice being sent in to us by medical friends and other authorities in their fields, and including new information coming to light which relates to the experience of people we know personally.
We are not attempting to be the experts, simply to share some sensible sounding advice, a lot of which we haven't seen elsewhere.
Trying to stay healthy in the first place
About exercise...various research studies have proved that moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce inflammation and thus will be able to improve the immune response to respiratory viral infections. Obviously people can't go straight from couch potato to athlete but this information should encourage those used to exercising to keep doing it even if more restricted in terms of where/when it's possible: see our article on staying sane (coming soon) and an increasing amount of online support in the form of videos and zoom classes!
We are also stepping up the fresh fruit and veg wherever possible, and taking other supplements zinc and garlic too. If you're interested to know more about supplements which could boost our immune systems we suggest you talk with people like Fiona Hill who supplies Forever Living products based on the amazing aloe plant, and Sue Leach who owns the Natural Health Hub in Lymington - and make your own decisions.
We have seen lots of additional guidance notes about prevention but there is so much fake news about at the moment.... basically the guidance about social distancing and hand washing does appear to hold the main keys - and the 2 metres is really important .
Preparing in case you get the virus
These next suggestions come from a nursing friend and contact of ours: "What I have seen are a lot of recommendations for how to avoid getting coronavirus in the first place eg good hand washing, personal hygiene and social distancing, but what I have NOT seen is advice for what happens if you actually get it, which many of us will. So, as your friendly neighbourhood nurse let me make some suggestions:
You basically want to prepare as though you're going to get a nasty respiratory bug, like bronchitis or pneumonia. You just have the foresight to know it might come your way!
Things you should try to buy ahead of time (not sure what the obsession with toilet paper is) include: tissues; Paracetamol; honey and lemon; Vicks vaporub." (Note: we are finding it challenging to find Paracetamol in the shops but we have the Vicks ready in the cupboard! Brilliant stuff when you have a bad chest!)
"If you don't have a humidifier, that would be a good thing to buy, and use in your room when you go to bed and overnight.. You can also sit in a hot shower breathing in the steam.
If you have a history of asthma make sure you have an in-date preventer inhaler.
This is also a good time to meal prep: eg make a big batch of your favourite soup to freeze and have on hand. Stock up on whatever your favourite clear fluids are to drink - tap water is fine but you may appreciate some variety.
For symptom management and a fever over 38 degrees, take Paracetamol rather than Iboprufen."
What to do if you get the virus
First we've seen this mentioned in various places but not in the official guidance, it's important not to panic. Try to keep calm, from all that HAS been published you already know quite a lot about this and the steps to take...
(A note about Iboprufen: there are now various recommendations circulating on this subject and it seems sensible to avoid Iboprufen for high temperature - as we understand this, it's to do with the body NEEDING to be inflamed to some extent to fight infection, and the possibility now being researched that Iboprufen being an anti inflammatory somehow diverts/distracts the body from focusing all its effort on that fight against the infection.)
"Rest lots. You should not be leaving your house. Even when you feel better you may well still be infectious for 14 days and older people and those with existing health conditions should be avoided. Ask family and friends to leave supplies outside to avoid contact."
When to call for help
"You do not need to go to the hospital unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high over 39 degrees and unmanaged with medication. 90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/ hydration/ over the counter medications."
(As we understand it the advice in this instance is still to call 111 but in an emergency 999.)
There are theories circulating that drinking regularly can really help and especially hot drinks because the virus does not like heat. We are trying to get more definitive guidance about this because it does sound something sensible to do!
One post, copied and pasted by multiple Facebook accounts, quotes a "Japanese doctor" who recommends drinking water every 15 minutes to flush out any virus that might have entered the mouth. A version in Arabic has been shared more than 250,000 times.
However, Professor Trudie Lang at the University of Oxford says there is "no biological mechanism" that would support the idea that you can just wash a respiratory virus down into your stomach and kill it.
Infections like coronaviruses enter the body via the respiratory tract when you breathe in. Some of them might go into your mouth, but even constantly drinking water isn't going to prevent you from catching the virus.
Nonetheless, drinking water and staying hydrated is generally good medical advice.
Loss of smell/taste could indicate presence of the virus
Finally something we've experienced personally - a family member who it now appears has had the virus without realising, because the symptoms were so minor: simply a slight headache, weirdly (because no other nose/throat symptom present) accompanied by a total loss of the sense of smell. These "symptoms" lasted for a few days and then disappeared.
As reported by health authorities in France, ENT UK which represents ear, nose and throat specialists in the UK, and now much more widely in international media, this is now becoming recognised but is not yet widely known about.
"The loss of the sense of smell (known as anosmia) could indicate the presence of COVID-19. Patients who had no blocked or runny nose have been experiencing a sudden disappearance of their sense of smell, some have also lost their sense of taste. Both these symptoms appear to be more prevalent in young people with the virus. Sometimes there are no other symptoms present."
ENT UK, has now suggested that anosmia be added to the current symprom criteria for people to self isolate. Although the research is not yet well developed, there’s enough evidence gathering from people we know personally who experienced a slight headache and loss of smell for up to 10 days followed by gradual improvement.
More information can be added to this article
Please see also our other relevant articles:
- General article about Covid-19 including local support groups
- Staying sane during the coronavirus - coming soon
- New Forest businesses offering delivery during the coronavirus
If you contact a business, please mention Lymington.com - we're a small local business and need your support!
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