Social Distancing, Public Health, and the Bible

Social distancing is an important public health measure to slow or stop the spread of many diseases. God’s instructions to the Hebrews in the Bible were primarily for holiness, but also had important health benefits.

I was at the auto parts store last week buying brake pads to replace the old ones in my daughter’s Prius. An elderly woman walked in, donning a mask and gloves, and carefully staying at least six feet away from others. When a clerk approached her and when other customers walked by, she retreated. I walked the long way down a separate aisle to get around her, trying to provide the space that she needed. Given her increased level of risk, and the fact that she didn’t seem grumpy, I appreciated her caution.

Social distancing, putting space between people who may infect each other with a disease, is the major way that individuals and governments throughout the world are trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has worked many times in history, such as in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, a far deadlier disaster than the current plague. The nation, and indeed much of the world, has been staying at home, or at least away from others, for over six weeks. Public health experts have used many other interventions for infection control as well. This article will discuss social distancing and other public health actions against infectious disease.

Continue reading “Social Distancing, Public Health, and the Bible”

Advertisements

Exercises for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Look better, feel better, function better, be healthier, and improve your sleep with these simple exercises to improve obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when a person develops partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep, when this obstruction results in apnea (no breathing for at least ten seconds) or hypopnea (decreased breathing). The person with OSA will then partially or fully wake up and their blood oxygen will decrease. About 25% of Americans have OSA, with men, older adults, and the obese at greater risk. OSA increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, trauma from falling asleep (while driving, for example), and death. It is a big health problem in the United States, and increasingly, the world. OSA is usually treated with medications, positive airway pressure (like CPAP), and surgery.[1] OSA is worse with supine sleeping (sleeping on your back). Some patients control their symptoms with side sleeping (sometimes with a full-length body pillow). However, there are many exercises that can help decrease symptoms of OSA, improve function, and make you look and feel better.[2]

Continue reading “Exercises for Obstructive Sleep Apnea”

Coronavirus (COVID 19) in the environment

COVID-19 may persist longer in the environment than we realized. If so, the risk of infection is greater than we think

COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan virus or the coronavirus, fills the news of the world today. Universities all across America are canceling in-person instruction and chasing students out of their dorms. Municipalities and other organizations are canceling school trips and limiting large gatherings. The National Basketball Association has halted its season, cruise lines are stopping services, and stock markets are swooning around the world.

Continue reading “Coronavirus (COVID 19) in the environment”

Coronavirus 2020 Q&A

18115_lores[1]Learn how to protect your friends, your family, and yourself from the coronavirus.

The coronavirus is big news throughout the world, with over 90,000 cases and 3,000 deaths so far. It does not show many signs of abating. I have corresponded with journalists writing articles on this topic for the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone magazine, and other venues. But since I am most concerned for (and praying for, even last night), our readers and subscribers at the MD Harris Institute, I want to share important coronavirus information with you.

Continue reading “Coronavirus 2020 Q&A”

Ballad of the Corona Virus

A medical musical tale of love and survival between an American man and a Chinese woman in the world of the new corona virus.

The Ballad of the Corona Virus (tune “Open Arms”, Journey)

Verse 1
Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your fever so high
Weakly you touch me, pain so severe
Why did I stay for the night?
I thought it was true love, I wanted some fun
But now, I just want to run

Chorus
Cause it’s Corona virus, twelve thousand cases
It has got you, will it get to me too?
Oh why, did I, visit China?
Can I catch a plane, or a boat or a train, outta here?

Verse 2
In California, hospital bed
Aching and coughing up blood
In isolation – gloves, gowns, and masks
Chills come on me like a flood
Nurses and doctors, don’t know what to do
There’s no vaccination for me.

Chorus
Cause it’s Corona virus, often fatal
Waiting for doctors, insurance won’t cover
But soon my lady will arrive from Wuhan
I’m fading away, but we’ll beat you someday, Corona

 

How to Do No Harm

How leaders can minimize harm in health care, in other industries, and in all areas of life.

“How can we change this process to prevent this error from happening again?” the senior ward nurse asked the group. It is a common question, one that I have heard thousands of times from experienced and dedicated health care professionals of all stripes.

I have worked in health care for many years, serving in positions from volunteer to emergency medical technician to senior attending physician to chief of staff at a hospital to chief medical officer of a large network. In every position, “do no harm” is a fundamental theme. This famous statement from the writings of Hippocrates encapsulates quality improvement, patient safety, access to care, and many other goals in modern medicine.

“Do no harm” can be thought of as eliminating risks that could lead to a bad outcome, such as injury or death. Occupational and Environmental Medicine physicians learn that there are four ways to decrease risk in the workplace and in the environment:

Continue reading “How to Do No Harm”

Battlefield Acupuncture

Basic patient information on Battlefield Acupuncture, a medical modality that promises to help patients with pain, mental health issues, and other problems.   

Where did it come from?

Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for centuries. Battlefield acupuncture (BFA) is a variation of auricular acupuncture which was developed in the US Air Force by Dr. Richard Niemtzow. BFA includes dry needling and trigger point acupuncture which are used on other parts of the body outside the ear. Thousands of medical professionals have been trained in BFA.

What is it used for?[1]

  1. Musculoskeletal pain (muscles, bones, and joints)
  2. Migraine headaches
  3. Low back pain
  4. Sore throat
  5. Gallbladder pain
  6. Various other pain sites

Continue reading “Battlefield Acupuncture”

Kratom

The popular Southeast Asian botanical Kratom may be part of the solution to America’s opioid and mental health epidemics, or it may be part of the problem.

Joe (not his real name) was a veteran and heroin addict in his mid-30s. He presented to the emergency room with a deadly blood infection. So weak that he could barely walk, Joe ended up in the intensive care unit in a major hospital. Heroin followed him there, with drug dealers delivering to him in his room. Slowly he improved. He is off heroin. Today, Joe is in rehabilitation, gaining strength and trying to put his life back together.

Continue reading “Kratom”