needle being injected into patient arm

COVID-19 Update / What IS a virus?


The coronavirus is continuing to ravage our country and the world! Yet, as I said last week, hope remains. We discussed vaccines last week – today, Moderna, the company in Massachusetts that has a vaccine that proved effective in initial trials, is started it’s Phase 3 clinical trial with immunization of 30,000 subjects. Yes, more than just hope, an effective vaccine could be around the corner!

In the past week, the number of new coronavirus cases in the US has stabilized, after having risen for the previous month. But the current level (66,000 new cases each day), remains far higher than in virtually any other large, high-income country. The stabilization suggests that more Americans may again be starting to take steps to slow the virus’s spread, including wearing masks and social distancing. We must continue what we are doing to keep this trend going and to get the disease under control!

So, today I have two questions. First of all, how has this pandemic affected you. I would like all of you to send me back an e-mail with answers to the following questions, and the answers will be the basis of a blog in the future:

  1. What emotions has the coronavirus epidemic evoked in you?
  2. How have you coped with the pandemic, emotionally and physically?
  3. What effect has this pandemic had on your family?
  4. How has this pandemic affected your relationship with your family and others?
  5. Do you have any personal experience with a family member or friend who contracted the virus?

And my second question, the answer to which might surprise a lot of you, is “What is a virus – is it a living organism?” Look at the pretty electron micrograph above of a coronavirus molecule, supplied by the Center for Disease Control. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of a virus, which impart the look of a corona (the outer atmosphere of the Sun or another star). The illness caused by this virus, first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019, has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 for short). But back to our question. We all know that bacteria are tiny organisms, frequently called germs, although the majority of bacteria (particularly those in our gut) are beneficial and necessary to human life. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that multiply and live as organisms that, as mentioned, can be symbiotic and very helpful to us or cause disease. But viruses are a totally different phenomenon. Viruses are not living organisms, cannot multiple or live without a host! Viruses cannot replicate on their own but can do so in truly living cells by hijacking the control mechanism of the cell to make it replicate, and can also affect the behavior of their hosts profoundly – in the case of COVID-19, in half a year’s time, spreading around the globe, causing billions into lockdown, and as of the moment I write this, sickening 16,167,872 and killing 646,199 persons. Viruses are protein molecules (RNA or DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid, which can be absorbed by the cells of the eyes, nose, respiratory or oral mucosa. Once absorbed, these viruses convert into aggressor and multiplier cells, ravage the host and move on to infect other human beings. Yes, masks prevent you from spreading the disease to others if you are infected, and can protect you from an infected person standing nearby. This may boggle your mind, but since a virus is not a living organism, it cannot be “killed”, it has to decay on its own. The virus is very fragile – the only thing that protects it is its thin protective layer of fat. That is why soaps or detergents are the best weapon. Heat melts the fat and that is why hot water is essential when washing your hands – and you have to scrub for 20 or more seconds to cut the protective fat layer. Dissolving this fat layer exposes the protein molecule and it readily breaks down into harmless fragments. The disinfectants affect this fatty layer. Alcohol over a 65% concentration dissolves all fat and is very effective on the outer layer of the corona virus. Sorry, Mr Putin – drinking Russian vodka is not protective – the strongest vodka is only 40% alcohol, not enough to affect the virus. Bleach (one part bleach to 5 parts water) and UV light will break down the virus. The virus cannot penetrate through intact skin – if you get coronavirus on your hand and do not have a cut on your hand, the only way you can get infected is if you stick your finger in your mouth or touch your eyes!

So, away for the virus and onto our office. We continue to function with every precaution known to man in place and so far, everyone is safe and we are all well. Let me say a few words about bioidentical hormones and an opportunity for a few lucky folks. Your hormones are one of the most important regulatory systems embedded in your body. Hormones act as messengers, designed to interact with specific target cells and organs and provoke a change or result. As we age, hormone production changes, and hormonal imbalance can occur. Unbalanced hormones can have a variety of side effects and symptoms and leave men and women feeling tired, lethargic, depressed, cause sleep problems, hair loss, difficulty maintaining an ideal weight, difficult to build muscle mass, with decreased desire/libido and a decreased ability to perform sexually. Females can experience hot flashes and other post-menopausal symptoms from hormone imbalance. “Normal” levels of hormones at older ages are way below the peaks we experienced in our twenties and thirties – it is not necessary to decrease your sexual activity or experience a loss of libido as you get older – restored hormone levels can bring you back to the sexual energy and appetite you had as a youngster! In contrast to synthetic hormones, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also known as natural hormone therapy, is the use of hormones that are plant based and identical on a molecular level with our own endogenous hormones. The term "bioidentical" implies the hormones are chemically identical to those your body produces. "Natural" means the hormones in the product come from plant or animal sources and are not synthesized in a lab.

As we age, it is normal for hormone levels to drop in men and women. The system we use at Orange County Plastic Surgery, provided by BioTE® Medical, offers natural BHRT utilizing BioTE’s customized pellet therapy, thus avoiding the need to use daily pills, creams, patches or injections. BHRT with pellets also gives patients a more even release of hormones, avoiding the ups and downs that can occur with other methods of hormone replacement. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is a way to identically replace the hormones men and women lose over the course of their lives. Balancing hormones in this natural way helps patients learn more about this hormone replacement therapy utilizing BioTE's® method of pellet therapy. BHRT with customized pellet insertion has many advantages over other hormone therapies – most notably, the consistent administration of the hormone prevents the rollercoaster-like effects patients often experience with creams and pills. As each patient’s symptoms are unique, so is each patient’s path to hormone optimization. After laboratory testing, a customized treatment plan is recommended for each patient. Most patients report some symptom resolution in as little as two to four weeks, but full optimization may take up to six months. BiotTE® medical is holding a didactic training course for physicians around the country in Newport Beach on August 15th, and on August 17th, we will have a proctoring course for physicians on our office. We are looking for a few male and female volunteers who will have complimentary pellets inserted by either a BioTE® trainer or a surgeon being certified by BioTE®. If you would like to be a volunteer (receive the treatment without cost to you, aside of the pre-treatment lab work), PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE THIS WEEK! A consultation, to make sure you are an appropriate candidate and appropriate lab work must be performed prior to the pelleting date. So if you feel lucky, give us a call.

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To your health and well-being. Stay happy and persevere!

Drive safely, always wear a mask in public, social distance, continue to wash your hands frequently, and be safe!


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