FACT-Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses found in a variety of mammals and birds. In humans, these viruses can cause several conditions, ranging from mild respiratory infections to more serious illnesses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that was recently identified in humans.
The symptoms of coronavirus are like other respiratory infections, including the common cold. Some of the most common symptoms include: Fever, Shortness of breath/Difficulty breathing/Chest pain (because it affects the deeper portion of your lungs as compared to the “bronchitis” type of lung issues we get as secondary conditions from the “colds, sinusitis, flu, etc.”), Runny nose, Headache (secondary to possible fever), Sore throat ( due to the tonsil/adenoid/lymph node involvement which is the immune response as our body is “fighting” the virus/bacteria).
In severe cases, coronavirus may also lead to more serious issues, including pneumonia, kidney failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and death. But before “FEAR” takes over we must accept that these potential risks are accepted with all the FLU’s we as Americans deal with each year. This year it was Influenzas A & B, in years past we all recall the Swine Flu, Asian Flu, H1N1 Flu, etc. Both viruses—influenza and coronavirus—are highly infectious diseases with similar symptoms, transmission, and prevention methods. This new virus is NOTHING LIKE the Ebola virus. That virus had an extremely high percentage of death associated with it.
“A pandemic is an epidemic occurring on a scale that crosses international boundaries, usually affecting many people.”
On March 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) began describing the outbreak as a pandemic. A pandemic is an epidemic occurring on a scale that crosses international boundaries, usually affecting many people…. A disease or condition is not a pandemic merely because it is widespread or kills; it must also be infectious. For instance, cancer is responsible for more deaths but is not considered a pandemic because the disease is not infectious or contagious.
As for the data we do have, that information shows a low fatality rate and high survival rate for COVID-19. In a new article published February 24 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), authors looked at the worldwide case records of 72,314 patients, 44,672 of which were confirmed as having COVID-19. Of those confirmed cases, 36,160 cases, or 81%, showed only mild symptoms, while 14% were severe and 5% critical. The overall case-fatality rate, corona-virus cases that ended in death, was only 2.3%, or 1,023 deaths out of 44, 672 confirmed cases. In America we have greater access to: clean water, high hygiene and health habits, better quality and control of our food sources, sanitation and removal of our personal and lifestyle wastes, a better medical care system for those who do get more severe complications, and a highly sophisticated communication ability than most of the other poorer nations that this new coronavirus has impacted. So while hearing the news daily keep in mind that the “media” are driving this hysteria to a whole new level. This is NOT the Bubonic plague, Malaria, Anthrax or any of the other pandemics/epidemics we have heard in the past. Its just the newest one and believe me there will be more in the future. Viruses as well as bacteria, parasites, molds, and fungi are constantly mutating. Our bodies live everyday with these critters on and in us.
This is what leads me to my point today referencing the old cliché:
“AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE”!
STEPS TO TAKE TO HELP PROTECT YOURSELF
Wash Hands Frequently– as simple and basic as that sounds it is the hallmark of most if not all transmissions of virus and bacteria spread!!
Maintain Distance-Ideally, try to maintain at least three feet of distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This can help prevent you from breathing in any liquid droplets containing the virus, which can be sprayed through the nose or mouth through coughing and sneezing.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces-Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours (some experts are stating that the human coronaviruses can remain infectious from 2 hours to 9 days). Washing and disinfecting surfaces that you regularly use can help block the spread of germs to prevent infection.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth-Your hands can pick up viruses from the surfaces that you touch. Touching your face with unwashed hands can transfer these germs, which can then enter the body and cause infection.
Practice Cough Etiquette and Respiratory Hygiene-Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or using a tissue to cover your mouth can help prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Be sure to also dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands thoroughly after exposure to any respiratory secretions.
What About Natural Approaches?
First and foremost, clean hands and do not touch face, eyes, nose and mouth.
Hydration This virus as many others enters through our breathing. The mucus (snot) we make each day (4-5 pints/day) is our first line of defense against these attackers. If we do not drink an ample amount of H2O, the mucus becomes thicken and less protective allowing the virus to have a greater access point. In addition, mucus contains a variety of antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal proteins. Inorganic salts, antimicrobial enzymes (such as lysozymes), immunoglobulins, and glycoproteins such as lactoferrin and mucins, just to mention a few. Mayo Clinic published a recommendation- “a minimum of 16 oz. of water within the first 10 minutes after waking up”! For many decades our clinic has stressed the importance of rinsing these same nasal passages especially in the morning with saline solutions. This practice is as important as bathing and brushing our teeth. It immediately cleans the overnight mucus thickening that occurs as we sleep. When our patient’s do get sick, we add other agents to this saline rinse to enhance the effect .
Nourish our Immune System It is a fact that certain nutrients in food do have a profound effect on our bodies by maximizing healthy functions. For example, we all know that the lack of Calcium in our diet increases the risk of weak bones later in life. Science has demonstrated that Vitamin C complex & Vitamin D support a healthy immune system [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010 May;91(5):1255-60)]. The authors further state that our needs are best served by foods high in these nutrients as well as other lesser known nutrients (Phyto/anti-oxidative food chemicals) such as found in fruits and veggies, for example, citrus fruits, tomatoes, red/yellow sweet peppers, berries, green leafy vegetables, squashes, carrots, etc..
Herbs and Spices There is research about “Adaptogenic” Herbs and Spices- substances that improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress (emotional, chemical, physical). In other countries, Ginseng for example, is a widely accepted herb used for supporting health is one example of an “Adaptogen” [Journal of Alternative/Complement Med. 2012 Nov;18(11):1061-9)]. Others are-Echinacea, Aloe Vera (Researchers have taken renewed interest in aloe vera as a powerful herb and superfood. Two of its compounds, Acemannan and Aloctin A, support immune and adrenal health [Pharmacodynamic Basis of Herbal Medicine], Oregano, Andrographis and Moringa Oleifera (Seeds, leaves, roots, and oils of the Moringa Oleifera plant are used throughout Southeast Asia) an ingredient in many common dishes. As part of traditional medicine, it supports the immune response, eases swelling, and promotes energy and adrenal health [Nutritional Characterization and Phenolic Profiling of Moringa Oleifera Leaves. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Aug 12;16]).
In conclusion, there are many other helpful “Natural Approaches” to support our immune systems which include Essential oils, Probiotics, Colloidal Silver, etc. Once you become ill, your lifestyle, age and past medical history may necessitate medical advice as your situation dictates. For additional info, please contact the Wilmington Clinic.