6 April 2020 Millhouse Update 4
Dear Valued Millhouse Patient
Today is Day 12 of the Covid-19 lockdown period. How's life going in your bubble? I'm sure we are all are finding it challenging, adapting to restricted day to day living; being in each other's pockets can lead to short tempers, so we need to determine to be gracious and kind.
Remember that Millhouse is your 'health care home' and if you do become increasingly lonely or anxious, or have any distressing symptoms, please ring our nursing team or make a phone appointment with your doctor. All our doctors are available at present.
Over the next few weeks, the medical team will endeavour to contact all our seniors and see how you are managing.
On a happy note it has been a delight driving home in the late afternoon seeing so many walking the streets, often with family members or accompanied by their canine friends, exercising and enjoying the warm autumn evenings. We are indeed blessed with these extended summer days and I'm reminded again of the healing power of the sunlight and fresh air.
During the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, overcrowded military barracks and troopships, with poor ventilation, put soldiers and sailors at greatest risk of catching influenza and other infections. Medics found that severely-ill flu patients who were nursed outdoors on sunny days recovered better than those treated indoors. The photograph shows patients getting sunlight at Camp Brooks emergency open-air hospital in Boston. Solar therapy was also used on the Western Front during WWI and with war wounds being exposed to the sunlight to assist healing. Here in New Zealand the sanatoriums placed tuberculosis patients outside in sunlight to assist their recovery.
Sunlight and outdoor air are natural disinfectants, killing viruses and harmful microorganisms, and there is also a lower risk of exposure to the virus when we are out of doors. The other advantage of sunlight is that it stimulates the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin, which after passing through the liver and kidney, can enhance the body's immune system. We know that higher levels of vitamin D provide greater resistance against respiratory infections, by stimulating the production of antimicrobial molecules, cathelicidens and defensins, which kill bugs. Vitamin D also increases the level of anti-inflammatory proteins (cytokines) in the immune system and reduces the pro-inflammatory cytokines, to Covid-19 and other viruses, that produce a life-threatening "storm" causing acute damage to the lung.
My advice is to walk, or sit outside on your veranda, each day exposing your arms and legs to the sun for up to 60min. The sun's rays are now taking longer to pass through the earth's atmosphere, and you are less likely to burn. Take Vitamin D as 50,000iu (cholecalciferol) capsules every two weeks or 4000-5000iu each day, to ensure your levels remain adequate.
We know that having diabetes or high blood pressure, being overweight, and having heart or kidney disease means a greater susceptibility to the coronavirus. If you have one of these conditions, please do not let anyone inside your house unless you are sure they are well; even if they are, consider asking them to wear a face mask or scarf.
If you can't buy your groceries on-line and must visit a supermarket, wear a face mask or scarf, actively use the sanitiser provided before and after shopping, and remember to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.
This is a challenging time, but we are resilient; determine to be both positive and patient over coming weeks.
Yours in good health,
Dr Richard J Coleman