THE VIRUS AND THE RISK
WHAT IS COVID-19
The Coronaviruses COVID-19 is part of a family of coronaviruses that cause viral infections every year. Some of them cause the common cold, SARS, MERS and, now, COVID-19. It takes about two weeks from the time of exposure, for the person to experience symptoms of the illness. This infection is not to be dismissed, but it’s important to put it into perspective.
THE ORIGIN & SPREAD
Wuhan Province, the origin of the outbreak, has 11 million people. They have 3600 people who travel in and out of the province daily. The original source of this outbreak is still considered to be either from bats or snakes – possibly from an outdoor market. COVID-19 is the specific viral strain that is causing the outbreak. The virus is spread by coughing or sneezing from an infected person to a healthy person. It may also be spread from touching contaminated surfaces. THE RISK The biggest risk, by far are the elderly people, 70-80yrs, which have the highest rate of mortality. No children have been reported to have died from the disease. Most mortalities from COVID-19 occurred in people with previous serious health conditions, advancing age or a compromised immune system. The probability of the virus to spread globally is high. This is because it takes about two weeks for someone to feel sick enough to isolate themselves from others, and, during that time, coronavirus can spread from one person to the other.
The novelty (new-ness) of this virus seems to be showing the whole world how unprepared we really are for a microbe that has never been encountered before. There is much to learn – the mechanism of action, the action and reaction the body will have to the treatments attempted….and so on.
SYMPTOMS AND PROTECTION SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms from coronavirus infection is fever, a dry cough, mild breathing difficulties, gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea, sore throat, headaches and body aches. This would feel very much like the flu. If severe symptoms develop, they would include a high fever, pneumonia, kidney failure and death. Most of the cases of infected people have mild to moderate symptoms.
PROTECTION in the WORKPLACE & COMMUNITY
- Avoid contact with anyone who is feeling sick or has a fever. This is important for all bacterial and viral infections.
- Cover your cough well and isolate yourself if you get sick. When you need to blow your nose, dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
- Washing hands with soap and water multiple times daily and avoid touching face, nose, eyes before washing. Sanitizer can be used as well.
PREVENTION – A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM!
As mentioned above, the people at the highest risk of actually becoming severely sick from contracting COVID-19 are the elderly, the people who have a preexisting condition/disease and people with a low-functioning immune system.
The immune system is very complex and has multiple layers of protection against all pathogens, including the coronaviruses. You are only as healthy as your immune system, since almost all infective diseases can be attributed to the inability of the immune system to fight the pathogen. Improving the health of the immune system and keeping it robust and active is the one factor that we can control. The most effective ways of doing this is modifying your lifestyle before the virus make its rounds in the area.
Whole Foods Healthy Diet: Processed junk food, white flour, fast food and sugar cripple the immune system. Eating any of these can inhibit immunity for a couple of days. There is very little chance for healthy immune response in a poor diet. Food is medicine. You are either contributing to health or destroying health with your choices of food. High consumption of raw and cooked vegetables, fermented foods and healthy proteins support the immune system by producing vital nutrients needed for it to perform its functions. Some immune boosting foods that can be added to the daily diet and improve immunity are: Lemons, limes, apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, ginger, bone broth and olive oil.
Sleep/Rest Getting: 7-9 hrs. of sleep at night gives the body a chance to detoxify, destroy pathogens and viruses and eliminate them from the body. This is the time the body uses for healing and repair.
Exercise: 30 minutes of exercise daily increases immune activity in the body.
PREVENTION WITH SUPPLEMENTS
Specific supplements can help improve immunity. They should never replace a healthy lifestyle. This is a short list of nutritional and herbal supplements that can help prevent infection and fight the illness once contracted.
- Vitamin C – interrupts the viral envelope (housing) which makes it harder for the viral particle to immerse itself into the cell. Vitamin C also takes the place of sugar in the immune system process. Alternatively, if you are consuming sugar, Vitamin C cannot be used effectively.
- Vitamin D3 – supports immunity; low Vitamin D levels are associated with any illness because this is another nutrient the immune system cannot do without. Low Vitamin D levels are common in Canada in the winter and may be one of the main reasons we actually have a “flu season”
- Flavenoids (vegetables and fruits) – helps the white blood cells fight microbes. These are usually part of a healthy diet.
- N-acetyl-cysteine – This molecule has many functions in the body and would be a primary ‘soldier’ in coronavirus illness. It helps the body detoxify and get rid of pathogens like bacteria and viruses. It is often associated with lungs and respiratory health.
- Zinc – The immune system must have adequate Zinc. Zinc is a powerhouse for immunity.
- Turmeric – an anti-inflammatory can could help fight infection and decrease inflammation.
- Multivitamin – deficiencies of immune-nutrients that are not included in the diet can be supplemented with a multivitamin.
- Anti-viral herbs – herbals that are routinely prescribed for any infective illness including viral infections.