Many of you know me from my cosmetic procedures or for our facial or laser treatments. However, in the midst of my surgical and medical training, I also worked for the National Institute of Health researching the skin and vaccine therapies, as well as hold a Master of Public Health degree. You do not need this training however, to recognize the truth of the saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…’ See my recent nbc news interview here.
How do you stay well in an era of illness? Every year the influenza virus kills tens of thousands in the US alone, even over 50000 some years, and half a million people on the earth. Further for this year 2020, we have a brand new enemy in the covid-19 or ‘corona virus’ . This virus has changed life in the short term and may have lasting effects on our behaviors for years to come as well.
I was a child that had perfect attendance for all of grades K-12. Maybe for this reason as a physician I have always been fascinated by the exact opposite. That would be the widespread destruction of plagues such as the bubonic plague, the ‘spanish flu’ and other life changing health events in history. Every year when the weather turns cold, I begin using my elbows to open doors, my hand through my jacket to turn door knobs, cover my food if there is an cough or sneeze nearby dining out, and never touch anything in a public restroom.
As a physician and surgeon, and public health professional, its second nature to fear and avoid the germs that cause illness. Covid19 then is defeated by similar measures and a vaccine is a reasonable near term goal. It is interesting to see these seemingly superstitious habits, sparked in people that do not have medical training nor such interests. Previously they always drew funny looks, now they are the new normal for many.
Some day grade-schoolers wanting to avoid a school day will use ‘Mom I think Ive got the corona’ as an excuse, and parents will smile knowing the disease has long since been eradicated by vaccines and other measures, like so many deadly plagues before it. I am confident that through social distancing, judicious use of protective garments such as masks, and hand washing- face avoidance, we will quell the surge in viral contagion. Though it doesnt seem like it some years, spring always follows winter. If we are careful, we will be there to see spring in wellness and not illness this year.