COVID 19 - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?
With the onset of Ontario’s new vaccine passport, we have been fielding a lot of inquiries from patients that are vaccine-hesitant or vaccine-concerned. Patients will often ask my opinion on the vaccine, or if we can write an exemption letter. Pursuant to directives laid out by the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, we cannot.
Having performed IV therapies on many of Barrie’s post-COVID population, here is some of what I can share with you.
For many, COVID presents with very mild cold or flu symptoms. For some patients, it hardly registers at all. Because of the apparent “mildness” of symptoms in such a large percentage of the population, it is easy to understand why so many underestimate the potential severity of this virus.
For the unlucky ones that react more acutely to the virus, the consequences are potentially devastating. For many they are deadly.
For this latter group, COVID results in a cascading inflammatory reaction that can result in widespread damage to virtually any organ system including the lungs, heart, nervous system, kidneys, muscles, and joints, etc.
It is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I was speaking with a colleague in Texas this weekend and he informed me that his associate doctor (a healthy 30-year-old unvaccinated chiropractor) missed 7 weeks of work due to COVID. He was lucky to survive his hospitalization. Many don’t. His lungs are now so damaged, he can barely hold a conversation, let alone keep up with any type of physical demands.
I too have seen patients left with joint pain, heart arrhythmias, neurological changes...the list goes on.
For those that the virus affects, we see this rapidly escalating inflammatory cascade. It will often start insidiously as an upper respiratory infection, but it very quickly becomes a severe acute respiratory illness that requires oxygen.
Unable to control the systemic inflammation, the lungs begin to fail. Oxygen saturation begins to plummet. Respirators and high-volume oxygen bring little relief as breathing becomes increasingly difficult. Patients become further agitated and restless as their condition continues to deteriorate.
Imagine not being able to breathe.
Eventually, the ICU team is no longer able to maintain any semblance of oxygen saturation. It is usually at this point that they decide to put the patient into a medically-induced coma in order to ventilate them.
If you’re put on a ventilator with COVID, life becomes a 50-50 proposition.(1)
The persistently high inflammatory levels seen in the post-COVID patients I have provided care for are unlike anything I had seen before.
The factors I have seen that appear related to COVID severity include low vitamin D levels, poor antioxidant status (vitamins A, C, E, zinc, glutathione), elevated ferritin, poor body composition, high blood sugar and/or insulin, preexisting heart, kidney, liver, or lung disease.
Another very important risk factor is vaccine status.
Those that have been vaccinated appear less likely to trigger this death spiral. I started IV therapies on a wonderfully healthy patient yesterday who is dealing with post COVID symptoms of her own. The virus rapidly infected most of her family but hit hardest those that weren't vaccinated. Her father was one of the few that survived mechanical ventilation. Her uncle wasn't so lucky. Heartbreaking.
"Hindsight is 20/20", she said. I asked if I could share her story, "anything to help" she replied.
Needless to say, the fight also goes on and we are committed to helping you through this. I get that it's hard not to question everything that is going on. From government overreach to media spin (on both sides) to the lack of responsible reporting of vaccine adverse effects.
I've tried to stay level-headed and focus only on the evidence that is reputable and most importantly on the evidence I see in our patient population. From this evidence, I have done my best to create nutritional and IV protocols that will best support my patient's health and immune system preemptively or post-acutely.
Wherever you are in this process, know that we’re here for you and that we are here to help!
(1) Oliveira E, Parikh A, Lopez-Ruiz A, Carrilo M, Goldberg J, Cearras M, Fernainy K, Andersen S, Mercado L, Guan J, Zafar H, Louzon P, Carr A, Baloch N, Pratley R, Silverstry S, Hsu V, Sniffen J, Herrera V, Finkler N. ICU outcomes and survival in patients with severe COVID-19 in the largest health care system in central Florida. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 25;16(3):e0249038. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249038. PMID: 33765049; PMCID: PMC7993561. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33765049/