Monday, March 23, 2020

Help! Fomentations for COVID-19

Good morning,

I'm needing your help, and so are a few billion others.

A GP (family physician) friend of mine asked me for something to share with fellow GPs about hydrotherapy for COVID-19. Fortunately this friend was NOT happy with my ramblings on the topic, so I spent my Sunday going back to the books, specifically "Physical Therapy in Nursing Care" telling of the successful treatment of the last pandemic, the 1918/19 Spanish Flu.

So the treatment is: hot fomentations to chest and spine with simultaneous hot foot bath and cold compress to head followed by cold mitten friction once or twice daily with absolute bed rest between.
Basically they treated the person as if they had pneumonia right from the beginning.

So I wrote a page as requested for the General Practitioners' perusal.

But then I woke up this morning and realised it was useless!

How is it possible for an untrained person to do this treatment... safely (I've burnt people with fomentations), effectively (I've hospitalised a lady by changing things slowly and allowing her to get chilled... and consequently making her condition worse, I was lucky/blessed not to have killed her) and efficiently (if I follow the directions for hot fomentations I need 10 towels and 5 each fomentations and covers for just one treatment. If I don't have foments/covers then that's 10 more towels. 20 towels! Twice a day!)

And to be really effective, both the fomentations and the friction work best with 2 therapists. And finally, I don't remember ever doing that treatment. It's too much work! I don't remember treating pneumonia either. And I had a staffed hydrotherapy department at my disposal.

This treatment is big and dangerous but apparently, powerfully effective.

 In the past I've effectively treated all the fevers, flu, dengue, malaria, glandular with a strong, individualised revulsive to sweating, daily for 3 days, but I'm sure we are going to need something more targeted at Active Chest Congestion before this thing is over.

I've checked the Pneumonia and Active Chest Congestion pages on the website and the only alternative seems to be hot blanket pack (which doesn't really excite me - "Make sure the blanket is wrung dry of all water - patient may be scalded otherwise")

So you can help me by answering these questions (or sending this on to someone who can answer them):

1. Have you ever used the protocol (Fo chest back, HftB, CMF) for pneumonia? How did it go?

2. Can you think of a modern, safe and simple alternative way of heating the chest/spine to erythema with moist heat? It should be ubiquitous and cheap.

3. Any other thoughts and suggestions... So many people have contacted me lately that I'm wondering if this is the time.

 Here are links to:

My ramblings, "Treatment for Coronavirus"
The successful treatment of Spanish Flu in an Adventist seminary
And most importantly - The whole chapter on Acute Infections of the Respiratory System from Physical Therapy in Nursing Care.

Thank you for your help, I really do appreciate it,