Listen - the Coronavirus is a VIRUS. That's it - just like the seasonal flu and colds are viruses.
Should we be concerned? Yes
Should we be terrified? Absolutely not!
Reliable data suggests that 95% of those infected in Wuhan recover, 99.1% have recovered in South Korea and worldwide the data suggest an overall 96.6% recovery rate, which is only marginally below the recovery rate for seasonal flu !!!
COVID-19 is not principally an airborne virus but is spread by droplet and contact, so you should take the following steps to avoid infection:
1. The key one is to wash your hands with soap if you have been in a situation where you might have been exposed. The virus has a fatty membrane around the outside, so soap pulls it apart, disintegrating it and making it soluble in water. Soap also removes any grease on your skin, which may harbour viral particles. Try to avoid hand sanitisers as are less effective than plain old soap and using them will distort your skin and the gut microbiome - see Step 2.
2. If you have been in a situation where you might have been exposed, you should also resist the urge to touch your face, potentially making contact with your mouth or nose.
3. Your best defence against ANY virus is to boost your immune system - there are NO magic bullets for a viral infection.
For the Coronavirus or just seasonal influenza, there are many powerful things you can do to bolster your immunity. Not everyone who comes in contact with viruses becomes sick – generally, those with weaker immune systems - often the elderly, are most susceptible.
The more immunity-boosting habits you adopt, the better your chances of staying healthy, so here are my top immunity-boosters:
Step 1 Vitamin C - is a huge immune booster as it helps your body produce antibodies that can fight infection. High-dose vitamin C therapy is now officially recognised as a treatment by the Shanghai Government for COVID-19. Why? Because it works, of course! There are now three new large-scale clinical trials using up to 24,000 mg of Vitamin C per day intravenously.
Take Action - Eat citrus (not juice) and add a Vitamin C supplement. One study showed that elderly patients with respiratory problems who were given only 200 mg per day, reduced the death rate by 80%. You should take at least this much as a preventative - preferably lots more. If you get flu-like symptoms, take as much as your gut can tolerate, ideally up to 10 - 15,000 mg/day.
Step 2 Support your Gut - Around 70 to 80% of your immune function starts in the gut so you actively supporting a healthy population of good bacteria, viruses and fungi helps your body to suppress the nasty bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Take Action - Eat Microbiome-boosters! The more colourful the fruits and vegetables, the better as these antioxidants are vital for tipping the balance towards a healthy microbiome. They also provide lots of prebiotics which are critical to microbiome health, which then bolsters immunity. Add a powerful probiotic to your routine. Look for acidophilus and lactobacillus, and enteric-coated capsules for maximum efficacy. Load up on unsweetened Greek yoghurt. Waihi Bush Organic Farm's new Gut Support can provide microbiome boosters, a powerful probiotic and vitamin D which support a healthy balance, to name just a few of its benefits.
Step 3 Manage your Stress - In the short term, your bodies response to an infection is to increase the production of your stress hormone, cortisol. However, your microbiome becomes distorted by high cortisol, which research is suggesting quite quickly leads to lowered immune function.
Take Action - Be gentle on yourself and take active steps to destress yourself each day. Worrying about what might happen with COVID-19 will not help. For detailed information on the impact of stress on your body and how to manage your stress levels see David's new book http://www.ITookCharge.nz
Step 4 Boost your Vitamin, Mineral and Omega-3 intake. Vitamin D – deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection and is vital for a healthy gut. Vitamin B6 also supports healthy biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infections. Selenium is an important micronutrient which helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which reduces inflammation and enhances immunity. Studies have demonstrated that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune response. Most NZ soils are low in Selenium, so we all need to supplement. Iodine and Selenium are both needed for normal thyroid and immune system function - Iodised salt does NOT provide enough Iodine. Zinc helps keep your immune system strong and men need more zinc than women. The latest research is showing that having adequate Omega-3 is important for the proper functioning of the immune system.
Take Action - try Waihi Bush Organic Farm's Flax Original Plus, which is a good source of Vitamin D, K and Selenium, Iodine and Omega-3. If you are new to Flaxseed oil, then start with Waihi Bush Organic Farm's new Super Boost oil Or try Waihi Bush Organic Farm Balancing Greens, which is a good source of Iodine, Magnesium and Iron and Vitamins C, B1 and B2.
Step 5 Clean Up your Lifestyle
Take Action - Get adequate sleep. Even one night of poor sleep (generally, less than 6-8 hours) can result in a reduction of infection-fighting antibodies.
Exercise regularly. As little as 20 minutes of exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects that boost your immune system.
Consume alcohol in moderation – or not at all. Alcohol can also disrupt the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood; excessive alcohol reduces the function and quantity of cells in your immune system.
Don’t smoke. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are an ongoing source of damage to cells throughout the body; your immune system must continually work to fight off this damage.
Elderberry extract added to your daily routine is an extremely effective immune booster (and can also relieve allergies). In my area the berries are just ripening - just in time to boost my immune system before winter - isn't nature clever.
Astragalus is a potent immune strengthener, widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for viral infections and to nourish and support the body in its own self-healing process. Supporting lung health is one of its main uses in TCM, so is an ideal herb to use in COVID-19 infections.