In response to NYTimes columnist David Leonhardt published March 10, 2020 about 7 steps to minimize risk of spreading corona virus (COVID-10), who asked “Did I miss anything?”
March 11, 2020
Hi Mr Leonhardt
Thanks for asking.
I have been a primary care doc for nearly 30 years (in Juneau Alaska). Did you know that our endogenous anti-viral is FEVER?
Humans capable of mounting an appropriate immune response develop a fever when exposed to viral infections. Viruses are tiny, as you know, and do their dirty work inside cells. As opposed to bacteria, which are much larger and infect the space outside our cells, typically producing snot and phlegm and the like (mucus mixed with spent white blood cells). The fact that the virus may abate with warmer weather has gotten some airplay but the deeper message is not getting across: viruses dislike heat. Most viruses cannot survive in temperatures above say 103 degrees F. I have instructed all my patients, besides assiduous prolonged hand washing and keeping fingers away from the “danger triangle” of eyes, nose and mouth, to SWEAT if they have concerns about exposure (get in a sauna if you are lucky enough to have access, or bundle up and walk briskly to sweat if feasible, or take a hot bath then bundle up in bed to sweat — etc.). I have observed that a number of health professionals quoted in the media suggest Tylenol (an anti-pyretic) if a fever comes on. No! Never suppress a fever (other than in a baby or frail elder, if longer than say 48 hours, or higher than 106 degrees, due to risk of dehydration). Push the fever. This is your body trying hard to kill the virus. Heat stimulates the metabolism, increasing enzyme productivity, enhancing bone marrow release of new white blood cells, stimulating the production of protective heat shock proteins, slightly increasing calcium release from the bones to maintain the necessary slightly alkaline blood pH thus reducing risk of sepsis, and much more. I would appreciate it so much if you could use your platform to deliver this critical information. I would be happy to compose a brief public announcement suitable for your audience (educated lay person).
Dr. Emily A. Kane