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Dr. Michael Lenoir: ‘Social Distancing’ is Vital to Slowing the Spread of the Coronavirus




The ravaging and rapid surge of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has altered the lives of nearly everyone globally.  From mandated sheltering-in-place orders to the thorough, daily washing of hands, the virus can only be slowed down by people following guidelines that have been set in place.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The Alameda County Public Health Dept. offers detailed information on what individuals need to do to remain healthy and safe during this ominous and deadly outbreak. Just recently the current administration and state officials have extended social distancing orders through May 1, 2020.

Dr. Michael Lenoir, an allergist-immunologist with the Lifelong Health Center, treats people who have immune system disorders as well as respiratory allergies. He is offering additional advice to ensure people are doing what is necessary to slow the virus’s spread.

“This is not the first virus that we’ve had, although this is a serious and deadly one,” said Lenoir. “The way to address this virus is through vaccines and treatment. Now that all of America’s scientists are working on a vaccine, it should take less than a year to get one. Until there’s a vaccine, followed by treatment, this problem will remain unsolved.”

Lenoir noted that the allergy season is fast approaching and people may confuse those symptoms with the virus. “Allergies usually affect the upper airway nose, and eyes,” said Lenoir. “People with asthma and allergies do have wheezing, but it is usually familiar and goes away with bronchodilators. Corona and other viral infections also affect the upper airway but mostly sore throat and lung symptoms that do not respond to bronchodilators.

“The most important difference is the viral infections are usually associated with fever while allergies are not. Pay attention to your temperature: It’s very unlikely that allergies would result in a fever. Allergy symptoms are regularly occurring, and usually mild. If you’ve had the same symptoms around the same time, year after year, you’re probably experiencing seasonal allergies. In that case, over-the-counter medication and other regular health precautions will help you feel better.”

Regarding social distancing, Lenoir said it is one of the core things that people need to do to help eradicate the virus. “When COVID-19 was first reported and people were told to shelter-in-place, many people continued to go to the beach, have block parties and do irresponsible things that helped the virus spread,” said Lenoir “Now that people see all these individuals are dying worldwide, they’ve begun to take the situation seriously.

“Once people start listening to the news and reading the statistics, the public is realizing that this pandemic can be stopped by social distancing. The initial problem has been that we’re living in an “unnatural state,” meaning having to stay inside all the time has made people uncomfortable.  However, there’s no excuse for people to engage in high-risk behavior.

Social distancing may not apply to family members who are constantly around each other. But if one family member gets the disease, then everyone else in the family may be affected.  Additionally, if you’re away from the home for various lengths of time, you should consider quarantining yourself, in one room, away from the other family for at least 14 days.