COVID-19 — it has been a hot topic for over 18 months now. Most of us have found ourselves affected by the unexpected appearance of this life-threatening virus that has gripped the world. Even after these 18 months, many of us are still struggling to get our lives back on track, and with the constant rise of new variants, the end is far from sight.
The most effective way to deal with the current situation is to learn to live with it. But with so much fake news hitting social media and other channels, it has become increasingly hard to trust these sources. The problem of having “too much information” is a new threat that we are all faced with.
This is why I thought there would be no better time to invite Dr. Roger Seheult to The School of Greatness again. With this episode, I strive to provide a safe place for you all to be aware of how viruses work and spread. Having a few basic facts in place can go a long way in helping you take the necessary steps to prevent COVID from affecting you and those around you more than it already has.
Dr. Roger Seheult is quadruple board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine. He was also featured in Forbes magazine for his series of YouTube videos on Coronavirus. In this episode, we will talk about the COVID-19 vaccine, the virus variants, the benefits of a healthy diet, the connection between our mind and body, and much more.
In Part 1 of my discussion with Dr. Roger Seheult, we discussed our diet’s importance in our overall well-being. A good diet can prevent disease and reduce inflammation, and it is something that has become even more essential since the onset of the pandemic — so don’t forget to check it out here.
Dr. Roger Seheult is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the School of Allied Health Professions, Linda Loma University.
He started teaching in his college days at the University of California, Riverside, where he was a tutor in physics and chemistry, and where he graduated with great distinction with majors in chemistry and biology. Dr. Roger further sharpened his skills teaching the MCAT, DAT, and USMLE for Kaplan Test Prep. He then graduated from Loma Linda University in 2000. He completed a residency in internal medicine, a chief residency at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center, and a pulmonary and critical care fellowship from Loma Linda University.
Dr. Roger is also the co-founder of MedCram, which also has a channel on YouTube that is just shy of 1 million subscribers! Through this medical education company, his mission is to demystify medical concepts for people throughout the world.
Dr. Roger is also a former Director for Intensive Care Services at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital. Currently, he is a critical care physician, pulmonologist, and sleep physician at Beaver Medical Group in Banning, California. He frequently lectures around the country at conferences and for medical, PA, and RT societies.
I hope that Dr. Roger Seheult’s vast experience, wisdom, and knowledge will help you and your loved ones cope with the ongoing pandemic. One of the most effective ways of dealing with the pandemic, which currently also is our light at the end of the tunnel, is the vaccine, so let’s begin by understanding Dr. Roger’s take on it.
Dr. Roger started with listing the pros of the vaccines first; as a critical care doctor he has seen the worst of the worst, and he’s passionate about helping our society fight the disease. The virus has indeed ripped families apart, and Dr. Roger has been at the front of witnessing it.
“The problem [of the virus] is its exponential growth, … and there’s very little we can do about it. One of the pro points of a vaccine is that it could potentially reduce the spread [of the virus] and prevent you from getting to that exponential growth. … [With the Delta variant on the rise], even people with vaccines are more likely to contract the virus than before. However, it’s still less likely [than for unvaccinated people] — … that’s another case for getting the vaccine. The vaccine also helps in [preventing one from] getting an infection, … and protects you from getting long COVID, … where the symptoms last for more than 12 weeks.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
That being said, I also wanted to know Dr. Roger’s perspective on not taking a vaccine. I asked him to defend not getting a vaccine and understand if that is actually an option.
“The strongest argument for not getting a vaccine is that we don’t know its long-term effects. There’s a lot of talk about something called the ‘antibody-dependent enhancement,’ which is basically when you have something in your body that makes antibodies to it, but instead of the antibody neutralizing it, which is what they should be doing, the antibodies somehow bind to it and allow it to get inside the cell better. There’s some data to suggest that, in vitro, in a test tube with a Delta variant, there may be antibodies that could do that, but we haven’t seen that in real life.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
Dr. Roger also spoke about evidence suggesting that the Johnson & Johnson vaccines cause thrombosis, a blood clot, in one in a million cases. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have also been shown to cause myocarditis, which is an inflammation in the heart muscles, but again, this too had a chance of happening to one in a million people. The arguments against getting the vaccines are strong, but when the virus is in an exponential growth phase and the hospital beds are flooded, then the vaccine is still the best option.
The vaccine is not your only saving grace; there’s nothing better than taking care of your medical and physical health as a habit. Remember, medicine or medical treatment is just damage control — it is not a precaution. The time to optimize your body is now, and Dr. Roger shared four things that can not only keep you healthy but also give a boost to your immunity.
“Number one is ‘sleep’ on the list, and I’ll tell you why. There are different stages of sleep. Deep sleep occurs at the beginning of the night, and REM sleep occurs at the end of the night. Deep sleep is crucial for physical and mental restoration, and it is also tied to melatonin, the growth hormone. … [Melatonin is often referred to] as the fountain of youth, and deep sleep is directly responsible for its secretion from the pituitary gland. Once you pass a certain few hours of sleep, you’ve lost that ability for your body to secrete the hormone. … The hours of sleep before midnight are worth twice … the hours of the sleep after midnight.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
Even before COVID took a toll on our sleep, our sleep patterns had changed. From sleeping later to sleeping less and constantly pushing ourselves to perform or keeping our minds busy with thoughts, this takes quite a toll on us, and that is where you can start — by fixing that pattern. But sleep comes later in the day, and to keep you going through the day, you need to fuel your body, and there’s always a better way to do that.
“Number two is diet. The temptation is to look at your diet and say, ‘I don’t want to do that anymore,’ and then to look at the new diet and say, ‘I am going to switch to that.’ Don’t do that, … it’s not sustainable. … So what I would do is look at my diet, find the worst thing about it, and start working on eliminating it from your diet for a month, then figure out the next thing to remove. … The point is that the satisfaction that you are getting from it now, you won’t get later. Your taste actually changes, and you start getting satisfaction from different things.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
The whole issue about diet is very personal. It’s not just about personal eating habits — it’s also ingrained in our families. But with the right motivation in mind, bringing even a small positive change to your diet, sticking to it, and working on it from there will go a long way toward establishing a base. And while you are at it, don’t miss out on stepping outdoors.
“Number three is sunshine and fresh air. Imagine yourself in a dark room that doesn’t have a good airflow … and feels stagnant, and as soon as someone opens the window, [you feel that relief]. [While the sunshine, apart from] controlling our Vitamin D levels, there is something more that people were getting from it. … This comes from something called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is when people become very depressed in the winter months when there is no sunlight outside.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
There isn’t much that a little sun and fresh air can’t do. Because of COVID-induced lockdowns, many of us found ourselves inside our homes most of the time. At the same time, not everyone had the luxury of good ventilation and proper sunlight. But now, with things easing down, make sure you make the most of this time and keep a check on your mental health.
“The last one is having a connection and rejuvenating. We have talked about how important sleep is; it is something that we do every day to recharge ourselves, but is that all that’s needed? The answer is no, there’s something else. When you go through a week, we have a workweek of five days, and most people rest for two days where they have a break, but the question is, do we ever stop what we’re doing and relax, think about other things, spend time with your family, spend time with your God, whatever it is? These are things that I believe that benefit us.” – Dr. Roger Seheult
The ability to form connections and unwind together is part of what makes us human. It’s what keeps most of us sane. Yes, we all do love that alone time, but having a community around you that supports and nurtures you can go a long way in helping you manage your stress levels and lead a meaningful life. To keep ourselves grounded firmly, a little prayer, a walk in the forest, or communal rejuvenation can set things straight.
Guys, this episode with Dr. Roger Seheult sure made me see things from a different angle, and I sure hope that it gave you a new perspective as well. There were many other topics covered in the original interview, but unfortunately, I couldn’t fit it all in this post. I’d really recommend you go and check out the complete episode here.
Follow Dr. Roger on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to gain regular updates on coronavirus and well-being in general. To know more about his life and work, you can also check out his website.
If you found this episode powerful and of use, then please take out a little time and tag Dr. Roger Seheult @medcram, and me, @lewishowes, on Instagram with a screenshot of this episode and your greatest takeaways from it. What would delight me further is if you could also head over to Apple Podcasts and give The School of Greatness a five-star rating.
You are worthy, and you matter!