Hi, it’s Tuesday, March 10th, and the Corona virus, or COVID-9 situation seems to be changing every hour. The situation really is fluid. Here’s what we know. Number one, this nasty little bug is going to be with us for a while. There’s almost no doubt about it. Number two. Like the common cold, there is no vaccine for this, and there is no cure, your body has to fight it off. Number three. If you are normal, healthy and not very elderly. Chances are if, heaven forbid, you get this thing, you’re going to recover. If you’re immune compromised, or elderly, you are at increased risk and you really need to talk to your doctor about the precautions that you would take. If I were an elderly person, or if I were immunocompromised, I’d probably be staying inside and minimizing my contact with the outside world. But this is something that you need to discuss with your doctor. Here’s what we’re doing in the office. Our office is a safe place. First of all, Ryan, our wonderful assistant, Jessica, our wonderful hygentist, and Fran and I have a rule, and that is if we are sick, we are not going to be here. Because we can do more harm than we can do good. And we certainly don’t want to hurt anybody.

So if we are here, you can trust that we are well. Number two, we are disinfecting all surfaces in the office that you could be touching. That includes our doorknobs, our bathroom fixtures, our countertops, anything you might be touching. We’ve unfortunately had to stop putting out our fresh fruit because we don’t want you to be handling things that others might have handled. Our coffee and our package of almonds are still here. And of course, the protocols, the infection control protocols that our CDC guided and mandated, we do all of that and then some here in the office. So we are a safe place. And by the way, there’s never more than two or three people in the office besides the four of us at any given time. We ask you that if you are ill, if you are not feeling well. Don’t come. Just call us and tell us and we’ll reschedule your appointments so we don’t want anybody who is showing signs of illness here at this very, very delicate time. We can always redo your dentistry at another time. We don’t want you coming here if you’re ill. And selfishly, we don’t want you infecting us, but we also don’t want any needless risk to others who come in here. We want to maintain a safe and secure environment.

What can you do for yourself? Let’s go over some of the things that I’ve talked about again, because they are worth repeating.

Number one, wash your hands frequently. And when you wash your hands, do it for 20 seconds. Scrub the inside portion of your hand, the upper portion of your hand between your fingertips, and if you can, get under your fingernails. Good ‘ol fashioned soap and water is all you need. Hand sanitizer is fine if there is no soap and water available wherever you might be.

Number two, try not to touch your face because the eyes, the nose and the mouth are ways that germs can get into your body and infect you. That is hard to do. It’s much easier said than done.

Number three, keep your immune system strong. Eat properly. Take supplements as your physician or nutritionist tell you. And here’s one that’s really important and it’s got to come from a dentist. Floss your teeth. Why? Because the inflammation in your gums will divert your immune system to your mouth, where your immune system really needs to be on the guard for anything like a virus that might be invading your body. So keep your immune system strong.

Finally, don’t panic. Think calmly. Think rationally. Protect yourself.

If your immune compromised, your level of alertness and awareness has to be a bit higher. If you’re not, think and consult your physician if you have to.

Let’s get good information out there. Watch the news carefully. Follow the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health. Those are credible sources of information where you can really use and apply and use your own judgment. And my team and I are always here to answer your questions. Let’s be healthy. We’re going to get through this. It’s gonna pass and we’ll move on.

We’re here to help you. Live healthy.

Dr. Alan G. Stern