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Category: health Page 2 of 14

Prepare: COVID-19

The best tweet in a long time:

And here’s her thread, for your information.

I know we’re all tired of hearing/talking about it, but one thing I haven’t really seen going around is advice for what happens if you do get coronavirus (many of us will), only advice for how to try to avoid it. So as your friendly neighborhood RN, a wee thread:

Things you should actually buy ahead of time (Erm, not sure what the obsession with toilet paper is?): Kleenex, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in 350 mg tablets, Ibuprofen (Advil) in 200 mg tablets, Mucinex, Robitussin or DayQuil/NyQuil, whatever your cough medicine of choice is.

If you don’t have a humidifier, that would also be a good thing to get. (You can also just turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom breathing in the steam). Also a good time to make a big batch of your favorite soup to freeze and have on hand.

If you have a history of asthma and you have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have isn’t expired and refill it/get a new one if it is.

You basically just want to prepare as though you know you’re going to get a nasty respiratory bug like bronchitis or pneumonia. You just have the foresight to know it’s coming.

For symptom management, use the meds I mentioned. For a fever over 101, alternate Tylenol and Advil so you’re taking a dose of one or the other every 3 hours. Use both cough suppressants and expectorants (most cough meds have both). Drink a ton, hydrate hydrate. Rest lots.

You should not be leaving your house except to go to the doctor, and if you do, wear a mask (regular is fine, you don’t need an N95). You do not need to go to the ER unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high and unmanaged with meds.

90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds. We don’t want to clog the ERs unless you’re actually in distress. The hospital beds will be used for people who actively need oxygen/breathing treatments/IV fluids.

If you have a pre-existing lung condition (COPD, emphysema, lung cancer) or are on immunosuppressants, now is a great time to talk to your PCP or specialist about what they would like you to do if you get sick. They might have plans to get you admitted and bypass the ER entirely.

One major relief to you parents is that kids do very well with coronavirus — they usually bounce back in a few days, no one under 18 has died, and almost no kids have required hospitalization (unless they have a lung disease like CF). Just use pediatric dosing of the same meds.

I’m always around via DM if you have questions, and if I don’t have the answer I’ll just tell you to call your doctor. 😉 But feel free to contact me any time. 😘

So tired…

I’m in the home stretch. This week is my last week of classes for the term. When I leave Friday, I won’t be back until January 7, when I start the second term.

When I left school today, I came home, ate, and promptly slept for an hour. I wouldn’t say the day was hugely demanding, but still I slept. Yesterday I slept for two hours. The only explanation I have is that I sometimes push against going to sleep but I haven’t been entirely unreasonable about that. Reassuringly enough, some of my classmates and even a few in their second year brought up how they’re feeling the same way, entirely without prompting from me. None of us seem to have any explanation for it.

20191203-103745 iPhone8 IMG_2451.jpg: iPhone8, back camera @ 3.99mm, 1/2700, f/1.8, 25 ISO
The Willowbank upper campus was a picture-perfect winter wonderland today.

Perhaps learning and physical activity is just demanding. At least I hope that’s it because I have no other explanation!

As much as I want a shorter Christmas break, I will certainly take the time to rest and make sure I’m ready to attack the second term next month.

Chiropractic indoctrination

A friend from high-school is a chiropractor. He’s got a page on Facebook that’s lousy with ridiculous claims. I investigated one and wrote him about it. The article he linked, “Anti-Vaccine Japan Has World’s Lowest Child Death Rate & Highest Life Expectancy,” is from a web site that claims to be about health and well-being. They’ll even take donations to remain ad-free! The problem is their reporting. It took me no time at all to look up Japan’s vaccination rates and they’re one of the highest in the world, and far above the point required for herd immunity.

I wrote my friend and suggested he look closer into the links he posted because this one is pure click-bait and two minutes of investigation entirely disproved the headline. He thanked me for the concern over his reputation and said he’d be more careful.

Not only did he continue as before, he didn’t even change the link to the article we discussed. After a few days I posted a comment detailing my findings. I thought at least someone should know the truth.

Another link that shows that he’s clearly chasing headlines to win customers is an article titled, “Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker.” The article links a study, and right there in the study’s conclusion it states, 

Given the observational study designs with the inherent possibility of residual confounding and reverse causation phenomena, a cautious interpretation of the results is recommended

The study said nothing at all about anything leeching calcium from one’s bones. Rather than the cautious interpretation the study called for, the article author went in the entirely opposite direction.

His page is a collection of the worst junk science and he’s comfortable in providing what he surely thinks is healthcare. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.

When one of his sympathizers, who I believe is also a Chiropractor, posted about his frustration with the reputation Chiropractors have, I went ahead and described what Chiropractic would need to do to prove itself to me:

I was hoping for a real discussion. I’m exactly the type of person Glen should want to convince. I told him how he could convince me. The result? I was blocked from the page. I’m not entirely surprised, but I was hoping Glen was genuine in his wanting things to change, and hearing a suggestion from someone who has yet to be convinced.

Even now, more than two months after I wrote my comment, there’s no reply. My friend is still happily parroting that vaccines are bad and spinal adjustments to babies are beneficial.

Legal cannabis

Yesterday was the day cannabis was legalized in Canada. While I think it is largely a good idea, I never thought I’d see the day. What really drove it home was when I came into work this morning. Attached to my pay cheque, was a company cannabis use policy. The first paragraph is:

This memo is being provided to remind all employees that possession or use of recreational cannabis and cannabis products in the workplace is prohibited. Although recreational cannabis is legal, impairment on the job can pose serious health and safety risks. Cannabis at work can become a distraction to others; therefore, employees should refrain from bringing cannabis into the workplace and keep their cannabis products at home to store and consume. To ensure a safe and healthy work environment, [company name] reserves the right to restrict what items and substances are being brought on to company premises.

It is entirely reasonable, but having such a document applying to me certainly makes the whole thing more real!

Another indicator of the reality of the situation is this tweet from my MP:

Legislation made law by any party but his Conservatives is a terrible idea, of course. I asked him to post his proof that legal cannabis will be a disaster for children, but of course he won’t because he would rather pedal fear than have a fact-based discussion about an issue.

Wait, what am I saying? He won’t even answer.

2019-10-05: He didn’t answer. I prodded him with continued messages on the topic at intervals between a week and a month and he still didn’t answer. I stopped after I had written about fifteen messages. I am so glad he decided to retire. Perhaps his successor with stand behind his or her words.

I’m sick, but it could be much worse…

I feel terrible. I’m sick of feeling terrible and I’m upset that I haven’t written in a while so here I am, against my better judgement.

This winter has been terrible in terms of illness. Most people I know have been sick multiple times. I can’t remember if this is my third or fourth time.

It started with a sore throat. The next day it got worse. I described it as a raging sore throat. The day after is was somewhat better but I thought it best to get things checked out. Happily, it wasn’t the throat infection I was expecting, but rather it is 98% likely to be some unknown viral thing that my immune system would take care of in a week or so.

So what is the other 2% chance? Strep! The dreaded streptococcal pharyngitis1. They took a throat swab and told me that if it was strep throat, they would be in touch in a day or two. Happily, that time has expired.

What blew my mind is something else the doctor told me about strep. He told me that not only is strep throat miserable, but it can lead to much more serious things. Chief among them is acute rheumatic fever2. This is particularly nasty because it can lead to rheumatic heart disease. The body attacks the strep bacteria of course, but this can cause an autoimmune reaction resulting in the body attacking the heart itself. According to Wikipedia,

Chronic rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is characterized by repeated inflammation with fibrinous repair. The cardinal anatomic changes of the valve include leaflet thickening, commissural fusion, and shortening and thickening of the tendinous cords. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction to Group A β‑hemolytic streptococci (GAS) that results in valvular damage. Fibrosis and scarring of valve leaflets, commissures and cusps leads to abnormalities that can result in valve stenosis or regurgitation.3

So you catch a bacterial illness and it damages your heart! How messed up is that? Even worse is that rheumatic fever is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in India and sub-Saharan Africa4. That’s astonishing to me.

Happily, I’ll be having none of that since what I have isn’t strep. Thank goodness!

And a word of warning … if you follow those links to Wikipedia, be ready for photos of infected throats. I don’t recommend it.


  1. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  2. Wikipedia, “Acute rheumatic fever,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  3. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis: Rheumatic heart disease,” retrieved April 8, 2018
  4. Wikipedia, “Streptococcal pharyngitis: Prognosis,” retrieved April 8, 2018

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