Coronavirus is likely a trigger word for most right now and if you’re anything like me, researching like a madwoman is the only way to keep the irrational, anxious thoughts at bay.
With so much hearsay on the internet right now, it can be hard to differentiate fact from rumor. We tapped Dr. Jeff Toll, private practice internal medicine doctor based out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
He believes in a very patient-centered, holistic approach to medicine. His personal ethos? “I think doctors need to listen and connect with the person in front of them to not just treat disease but also maximize wellness.”
Here are five things we learned about coronavirus from Dr. Toll himself.
Before you freak out (or maybe you already have), do yourself a solid and get educated on how to protect yourself. Being prepared and armed with info is the best way to feel somewhat empowered in situations that feel beyond our control.
When asked about the biggest myth surrounding coronavirus, Dr. Toll tells it like it is. “I believe we are overestimating how deadly it is. Early on, when a new illness is discovered, only people with severe illnesses get tested for it, so we overestimate how deadly, but probably also underestimate the number of cases.”
“This virus actually seems to be more widely spreading, compared to SARS.”
It’s Not New
What’s surprising is that coronavirus is not technically a new illness. “Coronavirus is one of the many viruses we throw into the ‘common cold’ list. It can mutate and become much more virulent as we have seen in years past. For example SARS—this was technically a form of coronavirus.”
It’s consistently being compared to the SARS outbreak of 2003 and Dr. Toll has an opinion on that. “Yes, these are both coronaviruses that gained a mutation to become more deadly. This virus actually seems to be more widely spreading, compared to SARS”.
Know The Symptoms and Who’s At Risk
Not sure what to look out for? The main symptoms are so close to the common flu, it can be difficult to detect.
Dr. Toll advises, “A flu-like syndrome with severe respiratory complications is the first sign. Those who are risk include: the elderly, those with poor immune systems, and those with a history of prior lung conditions.”
Have an upcoming trip planned? Not sure if you should cancel? Dr. Toll advises these three tips: bring hand sanitizer and wipe down your seat area including the tray, the divider, etc. Most importantly? “Avoid touching your face.”
Dr. Toll says, “There are a number of cases in the US but hopefully with restricted travel and testing there will not be widespread cases here. It is now spreading quickly in China and likely to spread around Asia.”
Practice Good Hygiene
When asked about the best way to stay flu free this season? “The basics — good hand hygiene, particularly in crowded places or in public places.”
Sounds simple enough.