With the press offering minute-by-minute updates of the ever-increasing casualties and more and more images circulating of stores that have been picked clean, it’s easy to succumb to the fear of the crowd when everywhere you turn there is negative news. The hard part is to keep your head when everyone else around you starts going into panic mode.

We’d like to take the time to answer some of the most prominent questions we’ve seen cropping up, and address some of the commentary flying around. 

1. “If you’re healthy, you’re fine! The flu has killed more people.”

Essentially yes. From what we currently understand, most individuals who contract COVID-19 will not develop into a serious case. Of the 70 000 cases in China, 80% were mild cases that saw full recoveries. 

But here’s the ugly truth: if you are one of those people who are likely to recover, going out in public means that you are still able to infect someone else – an elderly person or an at-risk individual, and they might not be as lucky to survive. 

2. “Should I get bulk buy face masks/hand sanitiser/toilet paper/disinfectant etc etc?”

NO. JUST NO. Do not hoard supplies. I really hope that this message gets across for how vitally important it is. Do not take supplies that would otherwise go to a hospital. You do not need them more than our healthcare workers who are bravely putting themselves on the frontline. This is the most important time for us to have compassion and understanding for them. Remember that if one healthcare worker falls ill, they also need to be quarantined for 2 weeks and cannot work to help others. And as mentioned before, our healthcare system is strained already as it is.  

3. “Should I be worried about my kids going to school?”

So far, from what we understand about COVID-19, youth is a protecting factor. It’s not entirely clear why, but children seem to be escaping the worst effects of the virus. Don’t get me wrong, children and youth can certainly contract COVID-19, they just aren’t experiencing the same level of severity when it comes to symptoms. It’s not entirely clear why, but this could be because of differences in the immune responses of children compared to adults. 

4. “When should I start to panic?”

NEVER! Reiterating my point of if you’re a healthy individual, you will most likely recover if you do contract the virus. Individuals who are at risk are those aged 60 years + and people who have chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune conditions. If you fall within one or both of these risk groups, you’ll need to take extra steps towards protecting yourself. 

5. What are the symptoms to look out for?

Pay attention to potential symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 dial this emergy number 0800 029 999. In adults, emergency warning signs include (but are not limited to):

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blu-ish lips or face

5. “How do I protect myself/my family?” 

Of course, everyday precautions are important to keep in mind. This isn’t something unique to COVID-19. Washing and drying your hands should be practiced regularly along with avoiding touching your face. When it comes to hand sanitiser, it’s something good to have on hand (literally), when you’re out in public or public transport and a sink isn’t available, but this should NOT be your primary source of preventing the virus. As far as what to look out for, please use something with at least 60% alcohol. 

You 100% do not need face masks. The masks available to the public will not protect you from contracting COVID-19. The only benefit is that they might provide is stopping you from touching your mouth, but practicing a little self-control never hurt anyone. 

The next step is maintaining a solid immune system. We all know about good old Vitamin C and supplements like zinc and garlic; but stress can take a major toll on our immune systems, so please check in with yourself and consider if this is an area you need to address with some extra adaptogens.

  • Vanessa Allison
    Posted at 13:32h, 15 March Reply

    Thank you for some calm in a torrent of panic and rumors. Everyone is getting hysterical and posting witches “brews” like consuming pool chemicals. I know it is a very serious situation but panic won’t help, common sense is necessary.

  • Elke Schwarz
    Posted at 11:44h, 16 March Reply

    Thanks for all the good advice. I have one question though: You offer a lot of different hand santizers. Please advise how many of
    those have an alcohol content above 70%. This is important as anything less will definitely not kill the virus.

    Looking forward to your kind response.

    Best regard,

    • Dr Kerry Haarhoff
      Posted at 16:15h, 19 March Reply

      Hi Elke, most of the hand sanitisers that we stock have an alcohol content of 70+ & those that do not, we have asked suppliers to change their formulations to meet the government recommendations which they have done. Yes, we have some hand sanitisers that don’t have any alcohol. These are mostly for individuals who have very sensitive skin that reacts to alcohol.

      Again, our first line of defense should not be hand sanitisers and hand washing should always be our go-to as the most effective method.

  • Peter M von Maltitz
    Posted at 22:02h, 17 March Reply

    Please can you source the herb andrographis. It has been used very successfully with SARS and other corona viruses before. It is especially good for inflammatory lung conditions.

    • Dr Kerry Haarhoff
      Posted at 16:08h, 19 March Reply

      Hi Peter, this is a great herb! Always best to check with a registered phytotherapist when it comes to herbs. They will also be able to dispense herbs like andrographis, inula helenium, echinacea, olea and much more which are all wonderful herbs to use for respiratory infections.

  • Hester Adriana due Plessis
    Posted at 07:19h, 19 March Reply

    Can one get a flu injection now with this virus in the air. Would it be safe..?65years…get the injection every year in March due to the fact that years before getting this I use to got Bronchitis every year and having to be hospitalised!

    • Dr Kerry Haarhoff
      Posted at 16:12h, 19 March Reply

      Hi Hester, best to chat to your practitioner in this regard as they will know your full health history and be able to advice what is best for you.

  • Mishi
    Posted at 10:07h, 19 March Reply

    Thank you! Really quite helpful and informative. I do believe we should all do the best we can as far as cleanliness is concerned and trying not to get too close to others but at the same time not to panic!

  • Estelle Skjolde
    Posted at 14:43h, 01 April Reply

    Very informative and comforting to be up to date and, having the correct number to dial in the event of the unwanted virus.

  • Graham Smith
    Posted at 11:08h, 30 April Reply

    Thank you for the information. Be blessed

  • Julian Tsilo
    Posted at 06:07h, 07 August Reply

    Hi my name is Julian I same times have pains in my chest but it does not affect my breathing I’m still breath normal but my problem is that I’m getting worried because I don’t know what causes it. I took lemons juice, garlic and ginger mixed with hot water and drink them and also Lena pain tablet for the pain then I sleep. When I wake up in the morning my chest gelt better just sleight pain. Can you tell me is it good to do so or must i use something ?what do you recommend for me to use?Thank you

    • Dr Kerry Haarhoff
      Posted at 14:13h, 26 August Reply

      Hi Julian, you should definitely be seeing a healthcare professional who can advise on the issues you’re experiencing.

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