2019 Coronavirus

Should I Be Tested for COVID-19?

The questions on everyone’s mind right now is “Do I need to be tested,” and “When should I be tested?” Fortunately, there are now lab tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19, and state & local public health departments have received them. However, they are not testing anyone and everyone. They want to be sure the individual has the symptoms laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and although they are fairly common symptoms of many seasonal issues going around this time of year, there are ways to tell whether these symptoms need to be tested or not.

Not everyone needs to be tested, and there are two main reasons that someone should be tested: having symptoms or exposure to an infected person.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 per the CDC:

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Any symptoms outside of these are not part of COVID-19, and should not be cause for concern. Things like sneezing, itchy eyes, fatigued, are more than likely symptoms of the flu, cold, or even seasonal allergies all of which also flourish this time of year. It is also important to note that if you have one and not all of these symptoms, it also does not mean that testing is necessary, especially if you are healthy (young and not immunocompromised) & have not been in a COVID-19 hot spot.

Even those that are elderly and/or immunocompromised that have only one or two of these symptoms may or may not be tested depending on their condition, but should seek a doctor’s advice over the phone if they have concerns. It is important to do self-assessment, as access to tests & resources are limited, so physicians are having to prioritize. The CDC states that “decisions about testing are at the discretion of the state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.” The CDC also offers a Coronavirus Self-Checker which allows you to input your symptoms, and takes you through several questions to determine if a test is needed.

Who does need testing:

  • Being elderly with all 3 symptoms listed above (this for the most part nationwide means 70 or older, but depending on your condition could be 60 or older)
  • Having all 3 symptoms listed above
  • Immunocompromised with all 3 symptoms listed above
  • Been in close contact with someone who has a positive coronavirus test or visited a coronavirus hotspot along with the 3 symptoms listed above.

Who does not (most likely) need testing:

  • Those without any (or only 1-2) of the 3 symptoms listed above
  • Young/healthy people (under the age of 60-70) with the 3 symptoms listed above medical attention should be sought out no matter what group you fall under should you have all 3 symptoms listed for coronavirus by the CDC, and the symptoms worsen, particularly in shortness of breath.

Emergency warning signs per the CDC:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If any or all of the above emergency warning signs show, whether you’re elderly, young, or immunocompromised, get medical attention (not just advice) immediately.

Overall, all physicians, the CDC, and World Health Organization (WHO) want people to know that if you don’t have all 3 listed symptoms, do not ask to be tested as you will more than likely not be. Period. If you have any concerns or questions, always reach out to your doctor first to get medical advice and/or reassurance. Doctors have been diligent & working around the clock to make sure and answer all questions asked to keep people at home with proper social distancing so as to not risk possible infection by going out for unnecessary testing.

Doctors are stating that even if you have all 3 symptoms listed on the CDC, and are under the age of 70 & healthy, you should not get a test right now because of the shortage of tests, and can be healed at home. The test will not change what can be done, and it would be best not to expose others, follow guidelines of self-quarantine, and self-heal at home per the CDC guidelines. Unlike the flu, if you are tested, there is nothing specific (as of the time of this article’s writing) that can be given for coronavirus.

If you are sick, be sure to reference the CDC guidelines of what to do if you are sick, and these should be applied whether you believe to have COVID-19 or just the flu or common cold. No matter which bracket you fall under, be sure to practice social distancing, cover any coughs or sneezes to prevent possible spread, seek medical advice and/or stay in touch with your doctor should you be concerned with any or all symptoms, and, as always, wash your hands.

Acupuncture & TCM for COVID-19

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have played an important role alongside Western medicine, for the treatment of all stages of the COVID-19 virus in China.  

An overview study from the World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion was posted on March 17, 2020 in regards to “non-pharmaceutic measures” using “Guidance for Acupuncture and Moxibustion Interventions on COVID-19″ (2nd edition) issued by the China Association of Acupuncture-Moxibustion.  The World Health Organization (WHO) also confirms the success of China’s model against COVID-19. It was shown in the areas where TCM was utilized, the curative rate was increased, the number of severe cases decreased, and the hospital discharge rate was significantly improved blocking the continuous spreading of COVID-19 in China.  

Three sections were included in Guidance: 

  • Acupuncture-Moxibustion Interventions 
  • The methods of acupuncture-moxibustion interventions 
  • Self-interventions of acupuncture-moxibustions at home under the instruction of a physician  

In Guidance it also speaks of acupuncture-moxibustion interventions at each stage of the virus; the medical observation stage (suspected cases), the clinical treatment stage (confirmed cases), and the recovery stage.  

Additionally, there is a big influx of information in the way of herbal remedies for the treatment of COVID-19.  Furthermore, herbal remedies traditionally used for viral respiratory infections may have the potential to help treat COVID-19.  

Testing on TCM herbal remedies was done in March 2020: 

  • The screening of Chinese herbal medicines with the potential to directly inhibit 2019 novel coronavirus was done to identify Chinese medical herbs that are commonly used to treat viral respiratory infections.  
  • Of the natural compounds screened, there were 13 that exist in TCM that were found to have potential anti-COVID-19 activity, and 125 of the herbs were found to contain 2 or more of these 13 compounds. 
  • Concluded that Chinese herbal remedies used for treating viral respiratory infections might contain anti-COVID-19 compounds. 

While there is still no definitive treatment option for COVID-19 here in the United States, we can look to TCM as a modality that has joined the fight against COVID-19.