Breaking News: You May now need to wear non Medical face masks!

Nigeria may be joining many world leaders to recommend that their citizens wear face masks if they must go out. I believe it starts on Monday for some cities. Non medical masks includes surgical masks, home made cloth mask or just a scarf or piece of cloth covering your nose and mouth.

Many state leaders who have made this recommendation are not alone, the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) also recommended masks today (3rd April, 2020). As we wrote on this blog yesterday (2nd April, 2020), there has been ongoing controversy over public use of face masks because the World Health Organization has been issuing counter recommendations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (see some of the reasons we stated yesterday). On the other hand, many medical professionals have been pushing for this recommendation based on reports of studies from Mainland China, South Korea and some other Asian countries showing that masks help to reduce the spread of this virus.

CAUTION: Non medical masks or face covering does NOT give the wearer the required protection but surely non medical masks will help to protect other people. Just an aside, “Medical” masks include the N95 masks which offer protection, this is the type needed by front-line medical professionals.

We’ll take two questions from yesterday

Question: They say we should use alcohol so we’re using beer, palmwine and kaikai to wash our hands in the village, na alcohol abi?

Answer: No, beer, palm wine do not contain the recommended percentage of alcohol that will sanitize your hands against COVID-19 virus. Beer and palm wine contain about 4% to 4.5% alcohol. Local gin (kai kai and ogogoro) have differing alcohol percentages and this most often, is not standardized. It can range between 40-78%. My candid advice: just wash your hands with any soap and water. Any soap at all will do the job.

Question: Is 1000mg Vitamin too much?

Answer: 1000mg is quite high but this is what some people have been recommending because it’s an anti-oxidant that has been proven to be effective in boosting immunity. Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin so any excess will be passed out in the urine. You can get Vitamin C from so many fruits and vegetables and is not harmful when you get it from food. Foods that contain Vitamin C include lemons, oranges, guava, paw-paw, bell peppers both red and green, mango, tomatoes and some leafy green vegetables. Some of the foods may be acidic so if you have peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), you may need to be careful not to take a fruit like lemon on empty stomach.

Our bodies cannot make Vitamin C so we need to take it in form of foods or as a supplement. Normally in Nigeria, your doctor might recommend one tablet three times daily (that is 300mg in one day). They will double or triple that dose during this pandemic. A few doctors in the US have reported giving Vitamin C intravenously to their patients struggling with COVID-19.

CAUTION: If you are taking Vitamin C, I will advise you not to take more than 1000mg. This is because there have been reports of bad side effects such as heartburn, gastritis, nausea, fatigue, diarrhoea etc when people start taking 2000mg or more daily. People with chronic liver or kidney disease, gout and calcium oxalate kidney stones should not exceed 1000mg of Vitamin C.

Keep safe everyone, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, stay away from crowds, exercise at home, maintain respiratory hygiene, wear a mask if you must go out, maintain at least six feet distance from people #social distancing. Don’t forget to pray.

As always, I pray you Live Right and Live Long!

Dr Uche.

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