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The Science, Transmission & Prevention Tips for our Fight Against COVID-19

Dear Patients,

Knowledge is empowering and understanding will provide freedom to survive

When I was younger and was bucking at studying physics my dad trying to relate to me and give me a reason to learn asked “Wouldn’t you want to know how your hair blow dryer works?” at that age when big hair and lots of hairspray was popular I rapidly replied “No I would just want to know that it works.”  He asked “What if it breaks wouldn’t you want to know how to fix it?” and I would say “No I would just buy a new one.”

I learned as I became older and wiser it is important to understand how things work and if it breaks down how to fix it particularly when it comes to the body.

I am writing this to all of our patients since with all of our Health Atlast locations we see an estimated 60,000 patients a year and given most locations have been open more than 10 years you can see that is a lot of people we can help share information with to help save lives.  Please share this with any of your friends and family if you think it would help them. 

I am a practicing chiropractor for 20 years.  My undergraduate degree is in Biochemistry and each Health Atlast clinic has medical doctors, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and exercise therapy.

Some of our doctors of Health Atlast were Valedictorians of their classes, we have board certified medical professionals that are specialists in their field for example in physical medicine, sports medicine, family medicine and more.

What I am sharing with you is everything that we have gained by consulting with medical professionals, virologists, and reviewing many hours of videos, medical journals, posts, research and years of experience.

My hope is taking the time to send this out while we are still open seeing patients and busy with all that goes into helping patients that you will read it, understand it, ask questions about it, apply it, share it with your friends and family, share it with geniuses and soon there will knowledge shared to prevent and cure this situation permanently.

Our clinics are open right now because we are considered an essential business since we are healthcare.

We are also open because we want to be here for our patients and in being open we are helping bare the load for the hospitals and urgent care centers.  Non-infected patients can come to our office with their stress, pain or conditions that need to be treated.  We are available by telemedicine to answer questions and provide health care remotely to patients that should stay home due to age, cancer or high risk due to immune-deficiencies, diabetes and lung disease.

If we were not open, patients with pain that that would have to go to an ER or Urgent care, but we are so they can safely come to our office.  We have strict screening for appointments and a check in process of having your temperature taken first, correct hand washing before signing in and shoes are taken off before getting treated.

It has been quite a mutually shared experience for the world.  It is interesting to have so many people finally paying attention to health which is what I think about pretty much morning to night.  It is what I have dedicated my life to and I enjoy sharing anything that may help.

I think the important part of understanding what is going on is to understand the terms and the concepts of why some things work and some things don’t and what can help.


Nucleic acid – Main information carrying molecules of the cell.  They direct protein synthesis.  The main classes of nucleic acids are DNA or RNA

DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid present in living organisms and carrier of genetic information

RNA – Ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in living cells its role is to act as a messenger carrying instructions from DNA for controlling synthesis of proteins.  In viruses RNA rather than DNA carries the genetic information.

Virus- Infective agent that consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat.  It is able to multiply only within a living cells of a host.

Coronavirus – A group of RNA viruses.  They get their name since under electron microscope the coating of the virus is surrounded by a “corona” or halo.

Corona – meaning resembling or likened to a crown

SARs- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome an outbreak that occurred in 2003 that was thought to be transmitted from a bat to humans.

MERs- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak where first cases were seen in Saudi Arabia that occurred in 2013 where it was thought to be spread from Camels to humans.

SARs Cov-2 – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 that is the causative agent of COVID-19

COVD-19 – Coronavirus disease 19 mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by the coronavirus.  Transmitted chiefly by respiratory droplets characterized by fever, cough, shortness of breath that may progress into pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Novel Virus- A virus not seen before

ACE-2– Angiotension Converting Enzyme 2.  This enzyme attaches to the outer surface of cells in the lungs, arteris, heart kidney and intestines.  It serves as the entry point into cells for some coronaviruses

ACE-2 Inhibitors – A class of medications used primarily for treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure.  They work by causing relaxation of the blood vessels.

Ibuprofen – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pain, swelling and fever.  Common brand names of Ibuprofen, include Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin.  Some lab experiments show that ibuprofen may boost the amount of ACE2 receptors that the virus uses to infect cells and could make the virus spread faster. 

Diabetes- Abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated glucose in the blood and urine.

Hypertension – Abnormally high blood pressure.  Usually defined as above 140/90 and severe if above 180/120.

Fever – temperature considered elevated and significant if above 100.4 F (38C).  Call a doctor if adult temperature is 103F or higher.  Otherwise the fever aids in fighting the virus.

Shortness of Breath – Difficulty breathing, breathlessness, feeling of suffocation

Pulse oximetry- Concentration of oxygen in the blood.  Normally 90%-100%


Ok now that you are a walking dictionary after reading all of those definitions and abbreviations I now want to go over the mechanism of action of how things get into the body, effect the body and how and why certain people are at risk and key tips of what you can do to prevent the virus.

Transmission and Tips

The virus typically enters through the eyes, nose and mouth.

Once in the body the virus is believed to attach to the ACE2 receptors in the lungs.

It then enters the cells of the lungs.

Zinc is believed to line the mucosal walls and prevent the entry of the virus from entering the cells.  It is also believed that the zinc inhibits replication of the virus thus disrupting the ability to bind to cells. 

My opinion is if it doesn’t hurt the body but possibly could help not a bad idea to supplement with Zinc.

When it enters the lung cells it effects the pneumocyte 2 cells.  These cells then release immune responses that can overwhelm the little air sacs called aveoli.

The aveoli are what exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the capillaries.

So why are people that have high sugar levels, diabetes, hypertension at greater risk.

High sugar levels and sugar weaken the immune system, also the crystals of the sugar can break and damage the capillaries that interact with the aveoli for the air exchange.

Hypertension patients taking ACE2 inhibitors may have the body making more ACE2 receptors.

I would suggest – Chicago medical school found that chiropractic adjustment actually lowers blood pressure or you can ask your doctor or call one of ours and find out if instead of an ACE inhibitor medication if you could take a calcium channel blocker that may not effect the ACE receptors.

The below links are from Lancet Respiratory Medicine you can share with your medical doctors.

The below link is the Chicago Medical school study

Now is the time to also relax, do yoga videos, take a bath do things that will calm you and light exercise which will lower your blood pressure as well as a healthy diet.

Once the immune response to the virus occurs fluid builds up in the aveoli and due to gravity the fluid typically accumulates in the bottom of the lungs.

Thus exercise of the lungs, upper body, chest and moving arms around and above your head, reaching down toward your toes, downward dog and even having someone tap on your middle back called Tapotement (various light, quick chopping, slapping or beating strokes on the body) can help keep things broken up, prevent mucous from accumulating or getting stagnant in the lungs.  It is also how chiropractic adjustments can help by keeping the lung capacity and function optimized through optimum function of the middle back.

Prevention they always say is worth a pound of cure.

What you need to do while washing your hands – I have witnessed a lot of not ideal hand washing and what I see most commonly is a person will squirt soap on their hands then blast the water over their hands for 20 seconds – honestly most people do it for less.

Here is what we need to do – wet your hands, then turn the water off and literally lather and scrub your hands – back, front, in between fingers, under nails for 20 seconds, then turn the water on to rinse the SOAP off pointing the fingers downward while rinsing.

Remember to not flick your fingers or shake your hands after washing but instead use a towel to dry your hands off.

The actual reason scrubbing and lathering with soap works is that the coronavirus has a coat of fat and protein on the outside protecting its RNA.  By using soap you emulsify the fat and break the entire protective outside wall of the virus thus destroying it.

I would strongly recommend during this time and in the future while the world is fighting this virus to not have acrylic nails.  Particles can live and stay hidden under them.

If you have them and now that all of the beauty salons are closed I would just clip your nails short and keep cutting them off until your actual nail grows out and the acrylic is gone.

Be careful to not just rip or tear acrylic nails off since it can damage the nail and make the body more susceptible to get infections or fungus infections due to damage to the nail.

Use lotion.

Many people are washing their hands many times during the day.  The soaps can dry out your skin and cause microscopic cracks.  Use lotion to prevent the cracks.


There has been a lot of discussion of the effectiveness of masks to wear or not to wear masks.

Here is the information that we have found.

Surgical masks are good to wear if you have cold or virus to prevent the transmission to others.   N95 masks prevent viruses and bacteria from getting in.

Masks have recommended to avoid touching your face.

Here are the tips that I have regarding masks –

First the metal part is what goes on top to bend and cover your nose.  I have seen many people wearing masks upside down.

Next when you put the mask on or take it off use the straps that go over the ears and avoid touching the part that is supposed to filter and protect the nose and mouth.

I have seen many people wear a mask but have their nose out.  This kind of defeats the purpose of the mask and actually could cause your nose to put droplets on the outside of your mask.

With the shortage of the masks I would suggest doing what Stanford found which is to bake a mask at 155 degrees for 30 minutes and re-use them.

Keep the masks in different bags, label the bags 1, 2, 3 and rotate them after 3 days have passed if you have to re-use them.

There are several do it yourself mask options to make your own masks:

Eye Protection

The eyes can also be a major way the virus can enter the body.

Sunglasses, goggles and old chemistry goggles are a good eye protector.

If you are going out to the store or where there will be other people I would strongly suggest wearing sunglasses, glasses, or goggles, or chemistry goggles to protect your eyes.

And don’t touch your eyes while you are out.

If you feel you have an eye lash or lent in your eye while out bend your head downward  and blink your eyes as fast and hard as you can and usually the eye lash or particle will fall out.


Shopping and Food

I can share with you personally I have not been to the store.  I am determined to use our resources – frozen vegetables, canned vegetables, frozen and pantry food, tree food for as long as I can. 

Staying out of the stores unless absolutely necessary will prevent unnecessary exposure.

If for some reason you for real need to go and get food make sure you wipe down each item soap and water before you put anything into your kitchen, cupboard, fridge or freezer.


What to do while quarantined and how to increase your health

The majority of people say that they don’t exercise or eat well because they don’t have time.  Hard to use that excuse right now when the majority of people are not working.

Use this time wisely to actually take care of yourself.

If the risk factors for this virus is diabetes, obesity, hypertension, lung disease, sleep apnea, smokers and low immune function do things you can lifestyle wise to fix those things.  Now is the time, take the time, make the time do it now.  It could literally save your life.

If you have sleep apnea use your machine to maximize your oxygen and health right now.

Wash the canula or face mask with soap after every use thoroughly since you do not want if you have the virus have the sleep apnea machine push air out and the virus into the surrounding air.

If you have Diabetes really keep your sugar levels in check strictly to keep your immune system strong.  Check your sugar but clean your hands before and after and put Neosporin over the area to keep the area really clean.

If you have hypertension use your home blood pressure machine, check your blood pressure regularly and take actions to lower your blood pressure.  Monitor it, exercise, improve your diet and you will surprised how fast your body will respond to what you do.

If you are obese, which it is estimated 72 percent of men and 63 percent of women are overweight or obese, where overweight is a Body Mass Index of 25-29 and obesity is a BMI of 30 or greater, weigh yourself daily, use phone aps to manage your BMI daily.  This way you will know if you are going up or down in your weight goals and how much you should or should not eat.

I know during times of stress it is easy to find comfort in our bad habits.  Whether it be smoking, eating high fat or sugary food.

Here are some tricks of the trade that can help.

Most times we feel hungry when we are actually thirsty. Drink plenty of water.  When you drink water add electrolytes to stay hydrated.

I say electrolytes because many people that had the virus in China were found to have low potassium.  Thus keeping your potassium levels normalized appears to also be important.

When you crave salty crunchy snacks – try cucumbers with salt, vinegar if you like it and chili lime if you like spice.

Try pickled celery and pickles.

When you crave sugar, ice cream, candy – Chewable vitamin C is great since it helps your immune system and it usually will calm your craving for sugar.

Fruit also will curb your cravings for sugar.  Frozen fruit like frozen bananas or berries can really taste delicious and simulate ice cream.  Add a little square of dark chocolate and it is likely to satisfy your ice cream or sugar cravings.

Exercise – there are great free exercise videos.  I was given a link of Lesmiles

Temporarily they are allowing free access to 100+ workouts.  They are pretty amazing work outs.

Also walking outside for some Vitamin D with sunshine is really helpful but you must ensure you are staying 6 feet away from people while outside.  Switch sides of the street, walk onto lawns if you have to but ensure no matter what you are staying 6 feet away.

Most people ask why 6 feet.  It is 6 feet because that is the distance that with a cough, sneeze that the droplets can fly and land on someone.  Thus stay 6 feet apart in case anyone coughs or sneezes while you are walking by them.




I know some of you may not want to hear this, now is the time to stop smoking.  I have heard from recovered heroin addicts that to quit smoking is harder than heroin, so I know it’s very addictive and not easy at all.  A personal story – my mom smoked for as long as I can remember during my entire life.  She always wanted to quit and couldn’t.  Finally she decided before a knee surgery she would stop smoking.  She was able to successfully quit now for several years utilizing nicotine lozenges.

She would go outside and do the motion with her hands of smoking a lot since the actual act of moving her hand to her mouth comforted her.  She would suck on to the nicotine lozenges instead of smoking and to this day is smoke free.

This suggestion is good since many of the smoking cessation medications are psychiatric drugs and have several negative side effects, we have been told by many patients that the nicotine patches caused horrendous nightmares.  I have also been told by patients that the use of nicotine gum that they don’t like it or it is hard on their teeth crowns and bridges.  Vaping can cause damage to the lungs so I would not suggest that as an alternative to smoking cessation.

Talk to your doctor or do telemedicine with ours and we can help with this.

We also have acupuncture points that can be used to help with smoking cessation too.

I really pray and hope anyone who wants to stop smoking does try since smoking does put you at greater risk to get over this virus.

What to do if someone you know or lives with you has the virus

Thankfully to date we have zero cases of coronavirus with our patients, family and staff.

Though we know that many people around the world have the virus.  The majority will recover but to help with the recovery and prevent the spread here are some tips.

If the person lives with you that is effected have them sleep in a different separate bedroom and have them use a separate bathroom.  This is because you need to isolate them to not spread the virus and though the most common way to spread the virus is through droplets into the eyes, mouth and nose there is also some experts that say it can possibly be spread through fecal oral transmission as well.

If you have a one room studio perhaps use a tent to separate the virus from the rest of the living area.

Label silverware, plates and glasses the infected person uses with for example a sharpie or painters tape or duct tape so that they are the only ones that use them. 

Use paper plates or plastic ware that you can throw away.

Bring food to them and have them leave the food plates outside of their room for someone to remove with gloves and masks and immediately sterilize.

Have them rest as much as possible, have them try to sit up and get up and walk around their private area room to not allow fluids to build up in their lungs.

A fever will help kill the virus, if it gets too high above 103 for sure call a doctor to advise on what to do and remember if you have a choice choose Tylenol over Ibuprofen.

Have them stay warm and not get chilled.

Have them wear a mask to prevent them from spreading the virus.

Have them wash their hands frequently.

If you have a pet avoid the pet being around the person infected and minimize cross contamination since the fur can possible carry the virus.

Possible effective treatments – Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin (Z-pack) and Zinc

Some physicians of New York are treating patients with malarial pills called hydroxychloroquine also known as Plaquenil.  It is thought to block the virus from entering and multiplying inside the cells.  In China they found using this that patients had less severe disease and shorter illness.    If you get prescribed with this medication make sure you review any heart problems and have an EKG of your heart taken since it can cause, in some cases, heart arrhythmia.

Concurrently due to the fact that if someone has a viral infection their immune system can be suppressed they can contract what is called an opportunistic bacterial infection leading to pneumonia or other bacterial infections.  Thus azithromycin is given to attack any bacterial injections.

Along with Zinc.

Note do not self-medicate and take-home aquarium chloroquine this is not made for humans and has serious side effects.

In the meantime, be safe and be smart

While home or out and about make sure your cars are locked, your house doors are locked, when you park your car keep bags and other items out of site.  Either take items inside, or lock in your trunk.

Be as resourceful as you can right now.  Before food goes bad cook it, freeze it don’t be wasteful.

Economically save where you can.  Worst case scenario you will have a treasure trove of excess later if you don’t need it but now is the time to think long term and be as creative as you can in being economical with the resources we all share.

Help others where and when you can. 

Helping others always makes anyone feel better.

We will get through all of this.

We are here for you.

Call, email or come in (as long as you are healthy) anytime.

Remember to take care of yourself, your friends and your family.

Thank you to all our patients for adopting healthy lifestyles, and for supporting us to stay open to be there for you.


Dr. Stephanie Higashi, DC

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