With the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from China this past December 2019 and it spreading quickly resulting in hospitalizations and death, it is understandable why people are concerned. Know that with any viral outbreak, the people who have serious complications are the ones with weakened immune systems. The ones that are most affected are elderly with many chronic disorders and are immunocompromised. However, even younger adults aged 20-40 are also getting severe symptoms and being hospitalized. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness which can cause mild cold symptoms to severe acute respiratory distress. It is imperative to know the symptoms, improve your immune system, take extra precautions to reduce your risk of exposure, and if you are sick stay home to prevent the spread to those who are more susceptible.
What You Need to Know About Coronavirus:
- Incubation time is 2-14 days after exposure.
- It is spread through respiratory droplets, meaning when someone coughs or sneezes within 6 feet of you.
- Spread by coming in contact with your mucus membranes (eyes, nose, throat).
- The virus also lives on surfaces and can be spread by touching an infected surface, then touching your mucus membranes.
- Symptoms: flu-like symptoms, fatigue, runny nose, fever, cough, difficulty breathing (not just when coughing). Some people are also reporting sore throat and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
- It attaches to lung tissue where it replicates and causes destruction of the tissue, resulting in difficulty breathing.
- Treatment is supportive (fluid, fever reducers, and rest) and severe cases need supportive treatment (require oxygen and IV fluids) in the hospital. Researchers and scientists are working hard to find treatment for this virus.
- There are no vaccinations to protect against the coronavirus at this time.
- Regular surgical masks are not as protective as N95 masks which are only available to health care workers. Surgical masks prevent you from touching your nose and mouth, they do not protect you from someone else’s sneeze or cough.
- Testing is only available in some hospitals. If you suspect you have been exposed, call the health department to determine if you need to seek further treatment and testing.
- If you develop symptoms, stay home and quarantine yourself. Do not go to the hospital unless you have shortness of breath and/or trouble breathing.
How to avoid getting/spreading coronavirus:
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- Avoid large crowds and gatherings in closed spaces.
- Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (countertops, door handles, toilets, shopping carts, arm rests and tray tables on planes, etc).
- Boost your immune system:
- Get rest. Getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep improves the function of our immune system.
- Reduce stress. Stress increases cortisol which suppresses our immune system. Stressing about the coronavirus is not going to help. Take breaks during the day to do some deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation.
- Eat plenty of whole, organic plant foods which contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are needed to help fight infections and for your immune system.
- Hydrate. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces.
- Take nutrients for your immune system: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Omega 3, and Zinc. Before taking any supplements, get blood work to determine your levels and follow up with a Functional Medicine practitioner who can guide you to taking the proper doses.
Stay well! Live each day with Intention and Be Radiant!