What more doctor bloggers are writing about COVID-19

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we are learning from this pandemic is our need for social connection and community. Perhaps we can ask ourselves, what does it mean to build real community in care communities?

I’ve been reading what some other physician bloggers are writing about the COVID-19 pandemic. Here I share some of them with you. While I believe they are all reliable and honest sources of information, my sharing does not imply endorsement,complete agreement, or advice. This is a topic in which information changes daily if not more often, so all information is subject to change. Always consult the CDC and your state and local health departments for the most recent information that pertains to you.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

Dr. Linda, a family doctor, explains what to do and what not to do if you think you have caught the coronavirus.

Don’t Panic. The majority of patients will get better without any treatment. I’ve seen many patients, even among those with no symptoms, with very high levels of anxiety. When we turn on the TV these days, it’s all about COVID-19. Remember that the news always shows the worst case scenarios. If watching it makes you more fearful, switch it off. You still need to get updates but limit your exposure to all the negativity aimed at you. Maybe, just check your state’s department of health sites to know what you need to be aware of.

Don’t Go to the ER Because You Think You Have COVID-19/

EMERGENCY-sign
Photo by Pixabay
A COVID-19 Overview

Dr. Andrew Weil, well known as an integrative medicine proponent, wrote this overview of what we know about the coronavirus. He also offers his recommendations for vitamins and supplements that might be safe to take during the pandemic (although not known to prevent or treat the infection) and what substances you should avoid. I reviewed one of Dr. Weil’s books at this link.

Dr. Weil considers the following natural immune stimulating and antiviral agents as likely safe to take before and during a COVID-19 virus infection. However, we don’t know for sure whether any of them will affect the symptoms or severity of the infection.

COVID-19: What You Should Know About Coronavirus

illustration showing the coronavirus which causes COVID-19
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Changing our view of nursing homes

Sonja Barsness is not a physician but she wrote a guest post for Dr. Bill Thomas’ blog, Changing Aging.

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we are learning from this pandemic is our need for social connection and community. Perhaps we can ask ourselves, what does it mean to build real community in care communities?

Covid and Culture Change

If you are depressed and thinking about or planning suicide, please stop and call this number now-1-800-273-8255

cover photo

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO), federal, state and local public health partners, and clinicians in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. CDC is closely monitoring the situation and working 24/7 to provide updates.

credit: CDC/James Gathany-public domain

exploring the HEART of health in a pandemic

I shared other COVID-19 blogs in another post . I hope you check out other posts from these physician bloggers.

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                              Dr. Aletha 

2 bandaids crossed on a world globe
photo from the Lightstock collection (affiliate link)

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7 more overused drugs – a book review

Learn what meds you should avoid and why #MindOverMeds#DrWeil#IntegrativeMedicine#bookreview

When I wrote the post 7 overused drugs, I knew other doctors would agree with me, but I didn’t know that a well known doctor was publishing a book that agrees with it.

MIND OVER MEDS- book cover

Published this year by Little, Brown and Company, MIND OVER MEDS teaches you to know

“When Drugs Are Necessary,

When Alternatives Are Better-and When to

Let Your Body Heal on Its Own.”

Andrew Weil, M.D. wote MIND OVER MEDS as well as  Spontaneous Happiness, Spontaneous Healing and other books on physical and emotional health and healing, nutrition, and integrative healthcare. He is the director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

After the introduction, each chapter stands alone if you want to explore a particular class of medication. The book can also be useful as a reference manual. For each chapter Dr. Weil also collaborated with colleagues with expertise in those areas.

Besides 4 of the 7 drugs that I discussed in my post, Dr. Weil discusses 7 other broad categories that I will briefly review.

 general principles about drug use

  • Don’t stop taking a prescription medication suddenly, unless instructed to by a physician.
  • Wean off medications gradually, supervised by a physician.
  • Don’t attempt to stop medication without first initiating other measures to manage the condition the medication was prescribed for. (paraphrased from the introduction)

Dr. Weil reviewed four medication groups that I discussed in this post- 7 overused drugs

  • Antibiotics
  • Sleep aids
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain

six-facts-graphic

Neither of us reject these drugs completely; rather we urge caution,

  • don’t rush to use them without trying non-drug treatments first or concurrently,
  • use only when absolutely necessary, and
  • be aware of potential side effects and harms.

 7 other classes of overused medication

1.Statins- medication used to lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease

“Current emphasis on statin therapy should be

balanced by equal emphasis on lifestyle changes.”

diagram of the human heart
Heart diseases affect any and sometimes multiple parts of the heart- the atria, ventricles, the valves, the aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins, the walls and the coronary arteries (not shown in this diagram. )

2. Medication for GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as reflux or heartburn

“Heartburn is a warning sign of disturbed GI function that should prompt us to identify and change the habits responsible for it.”

3. Antihistamines (allergy meds) and Medications for the Common Cold and Flu

These are in two separate chapters but I group them together since the same meds can be used to treat all three conditions.

“People with allergic rhinitis and others…would be wise not to rely on antihistamines, but to try natural remedies and lifestyle change …to control symptoms.”

“Most healthy people recover from both colds and flu on their own with no need for drugs, prescription or OTC (over the counter). “

I included antihistamines on my list of drugs that are underused. I was referring to people with severe uncontrolled allergy. Dr. Weil seems to concur with their use in this case.

4. Steroids- the steroids in the cortisone family, not the anabolic steroids

“Save these powerful drugs for serious conditions and try to slowly wean off them once improvement occurs.”

5. Psychiatric Medications for Adults, Children and Adolescents and for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Dr. Weil’s discussion of these medications takes up three chapters but I’m grouping them together.

These drugs are on my list of underused drugs. I said that because severe mental illness symptoms usually needs  medication for adequate control and those people should stay on medication indefinitely, until a physician recommends stopping. Otherwise, I agree with Dr. Weil that milder illness may not need medication.

“Antidepressant drugs are indicated for major depression, not for routine management of mild to moderate depression, for which more effective and safer treatment options exist.”

“Medication treatment should always be integrated with psychotherapy and other non-pharmacological approaches and should be discontinued as soon as possible” (the chapter on children)

“ADHD is highly overdiagnosed. Children with learning or behavioral difficulties should be carefully evaluated before being labeled with the disorder.”

6. Antihypertensive (hypertension or high blood pressure) Drugs and Medications for Diabetes

I’m grouping these together because these

two conditions frequently occur together, what we in medicine call comorbidity.        complications of high blood pressure

“In treating high blood pressure, it is extremely important to take individual uniqueness into account.”

“Our health care system and our society should encourage better lifestyle choices by making these…more accessible and more affordable…by changing diet, increasing physical activity ..many will be able to keep their use of medications to a minimum..”

7. Medications for Osteopenia (thin bones) and Other Preconditions

“Most people with osteopenia have …low fracture risk. They do not need drug therapy, since the risk outweighs the benefit.”

If you need to check if any of your medications fall into any of these categories, you can check at this link, or ask a question in the comments or here.

MedLine Plus- Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements 

Last words about medication overuse

Dr. Weil offers these last words(among several others) about using meds wisely.

To consumers-

Be informed. Do not take medications (of any kind) unless you know the reason, how they work, and the potential benefits versus the potential risks.

To pharmacists-

Be knowledgeable about the dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and other natural products that consumers are taking.

To physicians, nurses, and allied health care providers-

Be informed about alternatives to medications therapy for the health conditions you see.

To all readers of his book

Contact your elected representatives to end direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medications.

 

So what are the alternatives to using drugs for these and other conditions? I’ll tell you what Dr. Weil says, as well as other experts, in my next post. Or, you can get Dr. Weil’s book and find out now.

For your review:

7 overused medications

7 underused medications