Talk of coronavirus has incited a rising panic. People across the United States are preparing for the worst. But is COVID-19 really as big of a threat to public health as the media is portraying it to be?
While this pandemic is cause for some concern, the hysteria surrounding the recent outbreaks might be more dangerous than the virus itself. Let’s take a look at coronavirus and see how you can protect yourself and your family.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a virus that primarily affects the respiratory system. There are multiple strains of the coronavirus (229E, NL63, OC43) which cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract symptoms in humans similar to the common cold. Our current health threat is a new strain officially known as SARS-COV-2 that causes a disease labeled COVID-19. This one is slightly different and relatively unknown.
It is thought to be an airborne virus which means it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes. These droplets can end up on a surface and then can be spread when another comes into contact with that surface. Once contracted, COVID-19 causes symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening.
What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
The coronavirus can remain latent for up to 14 days. So people can spread the virus when they do not have any symptoms. The main symptoms are:
• Shortness of Breath
Other symptoms of the COVID-19 are similar to the flu such as muscle aches, nausea and congestion – which adds to the growing panic since flu season is in full swing.
Is the Coronavirus Deadly?
At this time, it appears that COVID-19 may kill 3% of the people who contract the illness. Now that may sound scary, but the regular flu kills 400,000 to 650,000 people each year around the world. To date, approximately 4600 people worldwide have died from COVID-19. At this time, approximately 1800 people in the US are infected with the virus.
So yes, coronavirus can be deadly. However, the vast majority of individuals who contract this virus have mild symptoms that resolve without complication. Some have no symptoms at all. This is why people traveling about can spread the infection.
Who is at Risk?
The highest risk of death is in those with a comprised immune or respiratory system. For instance, patients with uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, COPD or emphysema and the elderly. In addition, folks receiving chemotherapy or those who are immunosuppressed due to medications are also at a higher risk.
Fortunately, your overall chances of dying from coronavirus are pretty slim. And there are some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19.
How May I Protect Myself from the Coronavirus?
When it comes to defending yourself against COVID-19, take a two-pronged approach: avoid potential contact with the virus and bolster your natural ability to fight infection.
The most effective way to prevent spread of germs is pretty straightforward. By simply taking some basic precautions, you can keep viruses and bacteria from entering your body.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Scrub surfaces, including under your nails, for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol based non-toxic hand sanitizer – if soap and water are not available
- Always wash your hands before eating or touching your face
- Regularly clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces
- Stay home if you are sick or feeling under the weather
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
These simple tips are powerful in fighting the spread of infection!
Keep Your Immune System in TipTop Shape
Coming into contact with some germs is unavoidable. Boosting your immune system is your best defense against microorganisms that might make their way into your body. Here are some tips we recommend:
- Get plenty of sleep. This is not the time to scrimp on sleep. 7-8 hours every night. Your immune system requires a lot of energy to perform at peak levels.
- Love your gut. Since 80% of your immune system lies in your gut (the GALT or gut associated lymphoid tissue), it is important to keep your digestive tract happy. Eat a healthy diet of whole, real food. Ensure a daily bowel movement to eliminate toxins. Healing any issues you have such as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- Manage your stress. Emotional stress not only increases inflammation, it dampens your immune response. This really affects your ability to fight off infections. We urge you to find healthy ways to process unavoidable stress Meditation is a great option. We like apps like Headspace and Calm!
Give Your Body a Boost
Supplements are one of the most effective ways to enhance your natural abilities to fight off infection. Here some of the supplements we recommend for supporting your immune system.
- Vitamin D3 with K2 – plays a crucial role in modulating immune function and a deficiency can damper your body’s ability to fight infections. Important to supplement at this time of year in Colorado.
- Vitamin C – key antioxidant that plays an integral role in immune function.
- N-acetyl-cysteine – NAC is needed to manufacture glutathione – your body’s primary anti-oxidant and detoxification agent. Studies show it significantly enhances immune function
- Immunitone Plus – contains immune boosting herb like Andrographis, astragalus, elderberry, Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms. Helps to modulate and tonify your immune system to keep it in tiptop shape. For children under 12 there is a liquid: Imu-Max
- Viracid – contains high dose vitamins and herbals designed to keep the virus from replicating in your body. Begin taking at the first signs of infection (fever, myalgia, shortness of breath) and take for 24 hours. For children under 12 try Nasanix
What is the Treatment for Coronavirus?
Currently, there is no standard treatment for COVID-19. Those infected with the virus are being quarantined to prevent further spread. Some may require supportive measures like nebulizer treatments and oxygen. And a few patients have required intubation and mechanical ventilation.
Research shows that nutraceutical treatment may be of benefit. The focus of using nutraceuticals therapy is to flood the body with compounds that support and enhance the body’s natural immune response. For example, some studies support the use of high dose Vitamin C to treat coronavirus by stopping the excessive inflammatory response in the lungs. More research is needed on this topic.
So, Should I Panic?
No. Like most contagious illnesses, the coronavirus must be taken seriously. Overwhelming our healthcare system is a concern. We may be unable to care for those who actually become ill. Epidemiologists use a term “social distancing” to prevent rapid spread of the virus. Not a bad idea to practice some social distancing but there is no need to barricade yourself in your house at this time!
With some simple preventative measures, you can drastically reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19. Taking steps to keep yourself healthy and your immune system boosted is your best bet against this novel virus.
Please call our office 303-333-1668 if you have questions or want to purchase any of the supplements listed.
Yours in Health
Dr. Tracy and the Radiance Functional Medicine Team