- It is not recommended that American acupuncture clinics in the United States treat patients for the new COVID-19 (COVID-19) disease independently but are encouraged to cooperate with medical providers provided by US infectious disease laws and the CDC by participating in the overall treatment. Although Chinese medicine has played an important role in the fight against the new COVID-19 in China, China and the United States have different national conditions and ways to handle the virus. Acupuncturists are not medical providers for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases as permitted by US law. Traditional Chinese medicine is mainly used for interventional treatment, but in the United States we mainly use acupuncture. Chinese medicine is not a drug under the FDA definition making it difficult for acupuncturists to participate in anti-epidemic treatment in the United States. We do not have necessary and effective protective measures in place, therefore, our TCM acupuncture practitioners in the United States do not have the protocols to directly treat such patients.
- TCM acupuncture clinics are a place where people gather and there is a lot of direct contact with patients every day. In case of infection, close the clinic. It is more important to take responsibility. Therefore, we recommended posting announcements and changing voice messages in the clinic that address the seriousness of the progressing situation. Please train all personnel, most importantly the receptionists, to inform patients with symptoms of respiratory infections and fever to call their primary physician. Patients are not to go first to the Chinese medicine acupuncture clinic. The CDC recommends all patients call their primary doctor or medical clinic for immediate diagnosis and treatment. According to current U.S. law, acupuncturists are not authorized to engage in the treatment of infectious diseases independently. However, TCM clinics can complement, consult and communicate with relevant US departments to assist in treatment. Health teleconferencing is a good choice to integrate into practices.
- Avoid advertising promotion of traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture treatment of new COVID-19 disease. Also, carefully identify suspected patients and refer them for conventional US treatment in a timely manner.
- If the patient consults a doctor online via teleconferencing or other means, he can give some Chinese medicine treatment advice and provide Chinese medicine resources/retailers to assist western medical practices to protect patients by building immunity.
- If other medical industries require us to participate in consultations and provide Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and auxiliary treatments, you can carefully intervene with sufficient protection to ensure safety and prevent the spread of infection.
- We suggest that all TCM and acupuncture practitioners and clinic employees strengthen personal hygiene and self-protection practices; the clinics should be adequately disinfected and kept clean.
- Protect yourself and your family members to avoid extension of family infections caused by contact with patients. Your home and offices should be fully equipped with Chinese medicinal herbs and protective protocols and isolation equipment. If there is a suspicious situation, you should go to the appropriate medical institution as soon as possible and use Chinese medicines for prevention and treatment.
ATCMA / TCMAAA guidelines for self-protection and clinic disinfection for licensed acupuncturists in the U.S.
Prepare disinfectant and use clean paper towels. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before and after each patient. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with alcohol content of at least 60% to clean hands. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth in general, especially with unwashed hands.
Replace and clean used sheets and pillowcases after each patient and follow the technical specifications of always using clean needles. The bed should be thoroughly disinfected. Every office should regularly disinfect the air with ultraviolet light or essential oils that contain lemon, rosemary, tea tree, clove bud and cinnamon properties. Clean and disinfect daily all surfaces that patients often touch such as door handles and stair railings.
Prepare a toolkit with thermometers, masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, oils and proper isolation equipment. To protect against COVID-19 exposure, doctors should wear N-95 masks when necessary.
Pay attention to relevant official epidemic information from the CDC. If you encounter a suspected case, please contact the relevant agency immediately and prepare a report of the situation. Share the epidemic prevention knowledge to the public as much as you can and help prepare others. Please download the official CDC report on how to handle the COVID-19 if it is suspected that a patient has contracted the virus: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID-19/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf(link is external)
Take full care of your health. Get the flu vaccine and maintain good eating habits. Keep your physical health in the best condition, get adequate rest, avoid excessive fatigue, and exercise regularly Tai Chi and Qigong, yoga, or brisk walking to strengthen your physique and improve your immunity.