(Part 4 of 4)
We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.
We’re diving into another 4 part series. We’re diving into part 4 here, following with:
1. Our gut and it’s role in the immune system
2. Factors that suppress your immune system
3. How to support your immune system
4. The differences between COVID-19, the flu, and a common cold (this video)
Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.
Dr. Philip Oubre (00:00):
Hey, guys. This is our fourth video out of four, and we’re talking about the immune system. We’ve talked about how the gut affects your immune system. We’ve talked about how you are suppressing your immune system, and we talked about ways to boost the immune system. And then last but not least in this post-COVID world or peri-COVID world, we want to talk about what are the differences between COVID and maybe some of the other viruses, and specifically immune system and COVID.
Dr. Philip Oubre (00:24):
One of the first questions that people always ask is, “Do I have COVID?” The unfortunate part about COVID is that COVID has a lot of overlap symptoms with every other virus on the face of this planet. It can cause diarrhea, it can cause shortness of breath, it can cause coughing, runny nose, fevers, chills, anything and everything. You can’t really rely on those symptoms. The number one symptom that you can rely on is that if you lose smell or taste, it is pretty much proven that you have COVID. The big fear of course is if you have COVID, are you going to be that person that gets sicker? As we talked about in our last video, we’ve got our COVID action plan. If you want to download the COVID action plan, go to our website, check the link in the description, go to our COVID website, sign up on the form, and it will send you our COVID action plan as far as what supplements to take, what food to eat and follow.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:13):
Dr. Philip Oubre (01:14):
The number one thing in this COVID world is now that testing is readily available, almost everyone should have access to testing at some point, is that if you’re worried you have COVID, then you got to go get the test. There’s multiple different tests that you can do. The rapid test, of course, the best one because you find out your answer in 15 minutes.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:33):
It’s so easy.
Dr. Philip Oubre (01:34):
Yes. It’s not pleasant. It is an in-the-nose swab, but the testing methods are pretty good. In general, almost all the tests that I’ve seen are at least 80% sensitive, which means there’s still a 20% chance that you could have it and miss it, but 80% is pretty darn good.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:49):
At what point do you want them to test?
Dr. Philip Oubre (01:54):
You really don’t want to test the first few hours you get something because gosh, maybe you ate a bad food or woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something. In general, I’d give it a good 12 to 24 hours before you went and get tested because the other thing is you need to have enough viral particles inside of your sinuses in order for you to flip the test positive.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:12):
They need to have symptoms for probably at least 12 to 24 hours.
Dr. Philip Oubre (02:15):
That’s what I would aim for just to make sure it’s not just some sort of allergic reaction to ragweed or mold or something.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:21):
We’ve seen that.
Dr. Philip Oubre (02:22):
Yeah, we have. We’ve seen it a lot.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:22):
People who thought that they had COVID, and it was just bad allergies outside.
Dr. Philip Oubre (02:27):
Right. Because once again, there’s a lot of overlap. Even if you are negative, if you continue to get sicker or lose taste or smell, then you need to be tested. Of course, even if you don’t get tested in those first 12 to 24 hours, it’s important to at least quarantine yourself if you’re ever concerned. We follow this rule in our office ourselves is if anyone is sick, you just stay home until you figure out whether it is COVID or not even though we all do wear masks. We’re in kind of a quarantine circle, so we don’t wear our masks now. There’s not really many specific symptoms. Just because you have shortness of breath or something, it doesn’t mean it’s COVID. In fact, the flu virus loves to cause shortness of breath as well.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:05):
Yeah. What’s the difference that you mainly see between having the flu and COVID? The other day, I didn’t know. I was exposed to family, and we were also [inaudible 00:03:16] quarantine, but you never know, we still do a good job. I woke up and I had a little bit of asthmatic breathing, but I was having mucus when I coughed, a little TMI, but I also had a runny nose and I was sneezing a lot. I was confused of is this going towards COVID, is this a cold or a flu.
Dr. Philip Oubre (03:32):
Yeah. COVID is kind of funny. The big differentiation, because you can’t really tell, shortness of breath is shortness of breath too, the sneezing doesn’t really fit COVID though. You can have sneezing of course because it does anything, but really the shortness of breath with COVID is really different. It’s almost always associated with an oxygen drop, and usually in the flu world and the asthma world, you can deal with someone that’s having a terrible asthma flare and rarely does their oxygen drop. COVID has this weird phenomenon that it loves to drop that oxygen saturation. If you have one of those oxygen meters, if you don’t, there’s tons on Amazon, everyone should have one at this point because if the oxygen level is dropping, if you’re below 95, then your risk of it being potentially COVID is higher.
Dr. Philip Oubre (04:15):
Of course the test, the COVID test is ultimately the way to find out. If your oxygen level is high and you’re short of breath, it’s more likely something allergic going on. It’s more likely something flu-based in your lungs because the flu loves to trigger asthmatic patients, but so does mold in the air and ragweed. Allergies love to do the same thing, increase mucus.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:36):
Right. Think about your health state. I was exposed in a moldy home, and then had an asthmatic breathing with those symptoms too. You have to think about what is your current health state, what are your triggers, were you exposed to an environment that you know could perpetuate those symptoms and be rational about it.
Dr. Philip Oubre (04:53):
Nebulizers or the albuterol inhalers, any kind of inhaler, that can be another thing that can help you differentiate between COVID allergies and flu, or really just COVID and all the others basically, because COVID doesn’t really respond to nebulizers. I know they do them in the hospitals frequently when people are sick because you’re doing everything you can. In general, if you do a nebulizer and feel better, it’s probably not related to COVID. The main reason why is because COVID really infects around the lungs, the tissue of the lungs. You have to realize that air comes into the lungs and then you have to absorb that air, and then you breathe out the toxic byproducts of the air from your body.
Dr. Philip Oubre (05:31):
COVID actually infects inside the lungs where that air diffuses into the lungs. It doesn’t affect air coming into the lungs. Almost every other condition that you will deal with, asthma and allergies and flu, whatnot, those are all restrictive, or obstructive disease is what we call them. What that means is you’re actually struggling to get air out. Most people think of it as you’re struggling to get air in, but it’s the same thing. If you can’t get air out, you can’t get air in, otherwise you just explode.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:01):
Dr. Philip Oubre (06:02):
One of the two. Or implode. However you want to look at it. Basically, in asthma, in allergies and all the other things non-COVID, you will struggle with getting air in. You will have a bronchitis type cough. You’ll have a mucus-like cough. You will be short of breath, but you’re struggling to get air out, struggling to get air in, whereas COVID, your lungs are just shrinking because there’s fluid inside the lungs, inside the tissue, squeezing the spaces down. You’re still able to get the air in. It’s just not getting down to the microscopic level where you can’t really feel it. That’s the big difference and that’s the danger zone.
Dr. Philip Oubre (06:35):
By the time you’ve entered that level of lung swelling, you’ve already been encountering the cytokine storm, and I don’t want to say it’s too late. Of course, start whatever anti-inflammatory supplements you can and anti-inflammatory foods to try to blunt that response, but the whole point of the COVID action plan and eating this way and taking care of your body is because you want to prevent that cytokine storm from ever happening because it’s a feed-forward cycle. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. As the cytokines get released, they activate more immune cells.
Dr. Philip Oubre (07:04):
It’s like a bar fight that you see in a movie. One person throws a punch, and then all of a sudden everyone’s fighting. You’re like, “Why is that dude even participating? He was just sitting at the bar chilling. He’s not part of the gang.” The whole bar is up in arms, even the bartender jumps in and starts fighting. That’s the same idea with the cytokine storm is it’s activating all its buddies and it’s a feed-forward cycle that just ends in death, unfortunately. Anything you can do to blunt and control and prevent confusion, we talked a lot about immune confusion in our last videos, so anything you can do to slow down immune confusion settles down the cytokine storm.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:37):
Dr. Philip Oubre (07:38):
There’s a couple tests that I want to differentiate real quick. I’ve done a whole separate video on COVID testing. Look up that video if you want to know more. There’s two different rapid tests and it’s important to understand the difference. The best rapid test is the rapid swab. We have the rapid swab. There’s other places that have the rapid swab. A lot of times it’s not covered by insurance. The send-out swab to Quest or CPL, that’s usually covered by insurance, but it can take days. We’ve had to wait up to two weeks for tests before, especially if there’s a spike in your area. The rapid test is always 15 to 20 minutes.
Dr. Philip Oubre (08:08):
There’s a rapid blood test. The rapid blood test is good, and we have the rapid blood test too. It’s cheaper, but it only determines after you’ve had symptoms for a minimum of three days, but even still, you can have a false negative even at three days. The important test you’re looking for is the rapid swab, the one in the nose. If you’ve been sick for at least three days, then you can do the rapid blood test, and that will tell you whether you have antibodies to COVID or not. Both are effective, but the swab is considered better. And then of course, both of those have send-out versions to Quest and CPL that are usually covered by insurance.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:41):
I like the swabs because I feel like you can also buy them and do them yourself if you have to necessarily. Obviously, a practitioner should most likely do it, but if you’re about to go home with your family and you don’t know if they’ve actually been out and they’re feeling a little under weather, take a few of those swabs with you and make everyone just test real quick. Maybe do it for them. I don’t know. I did it myself, but I also work in a medical practice so I know how far to go, but sometimes it’s nice to do it preventatively being like, “Are we all okay right now? Is this a safe measure to be together?” Especially if the holidays are coming up and you’re really nervous and you only see your mom once a year and you really want to see them, or if you’re with your partner and you guys have special plans. I think sometimes that’s a good idea, too. It’s not the best way of doing it, but I think if you’re wanting that extra measure, you could do that too.
Dr. Philip Oubre (09:26):
Yeah. It’s kind of looked at like, “You got COVID,” like you did something wrong. It’s spread throughout the community. You never know who’s going to have it, if you’re going to be the next one to get it. We all have to do our part in slowing the spread ultimately. There’s still no vaccine. I’m going to do a video on flu vaccine or whether you should get that or not because that’s a controversial topic that I at least want to address. I normally stay away from the vaccine thing. We’ll see how much flack I get for that.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:52):
I know. Yeah.
Dr. Philip Oubre (09:53):
Could be fun.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:54):
I guess the main thing is that if you have a typical cold and flu, you’re thinking of that bronchial cough, I guess.
Dr. Philip Oubre (10:01):
That barking. We’ve all done it. You know it. It’s ugly.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:06):
It is. The mucus, the sneezing, more of the runny nose, things like that.
Dr. Philip Oubre (10:11):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:12):
Right. You can have some of those, but it’s going to be that constantly low oxygen, that constant struggle to breathe, and almost just feeling like you got hit by a truck.
Dr. Philip Oubre (10:22):
And the loss of smell and taste. That is unique. It doesn’t happen to everyone, of course, but when it does happen, it’s definitive.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:29):
Right. You have to think of are you fully blocked and you can’t smell, like with the cold, then obviously if your sinuses are blocked and you can’t even take a breath because you’re running your nose so much, you’re not going to be able to smell as good. Or are your sinuses a little bit clear and you’re still like, “I can have a good breath in, but I can’t smell right now.” I think that’s a good differentiation too.
Dr. Philip Oubre (10:50):
I guess one last plug is I have designed an infusion protocol for COVID specifically. The idea is a lot of these things we’ve been talking about as far as the vitamin and supplement world, I’ve designed an infusion protocol that’s designed to blunt that cytokine storm so it doesn’t happen. But once again, just like I talked about earlier, if you wait until you’re in the cytokine storm, it’s not necessarily a too late thing, but it’s concerning that you might’ve waited too long. It may sometimes feel like a waste like, “I did those COVID infusions and I didn’t really need them,” but you don’t know. If you prevent a heart attack, you never know that you prevented that heart attack. If you prevent going to the hospital, you don’t know that. I don’t want people to be overly aggressive, but I also don’t want you to be overly optimistic, and then end up in the hospital because it’s a bad situation once you’re in the hospital. It’s a dangerous place, and the mortality rate is high for going in the hospital.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:36):
Right. I think that if you’re going to sit there and be like, “I’ve spent this,” and it’s not an expensive infusion protocol. You think you’re going to spend more time in the hospital away from work.
Dr. Philip Oubre (11:47):
One day in the hospital.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:48):
One day in the hospital. I loved it. I’ve done it. Patients have done it. The second we go, “Oh, my gosh. I was exposed to someone with COVID or I’m feeling a little under the weather,” hitting that line of is this COVID or not, do it because regardless, you’re going to boost your immune system, you’re going to help with detoxification, you’re going to get more vitamins and minerals to your body that you need. There’s no negative of doing the infusions. It may just be a nice little health reset too. Err on the side of caution, come and get them if you need to. We don’t like to push, but we’d rather say, “Hey, come get an infusion or end up in the hospital.” We would rather be safe than sorry.
Dr. Philip Oubre (12:21):
I agree. With that blog, we’ll end this video. Like our channel, subscribe to it, hit the little bell so that you get alerts, and leave a comment, ask us a question. We’ll try to answer it.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:31):
Okay. Bye, guys.
Dr. Philip Oubre (12:32):