Updated: Mar 30
There has been soooooo much media attention on the new Corona virus (COVID-19), and that media coverage seems to be causing a LOT of fear. The intent of this article is to try to provide some perspective, as well as giving some tips for staying healthy. My hope is that some facts will lower the fear levels (which are not helpful in any way) while also empowering prevention and healthy choices. Stress chemicals (such as adrenaline and cortisol) lower immune function significantly. Fear can also make people more prone to a "save yourself" attitude, which leads people to make choices that put the larger community at risk (thus increasing the spread of the virus). In short, panic is the worst approach when faced with a communicable disease.
First, it is quite early in the arc of this virus, so these statistics will change over time. In the big picture, the COVID-19 (Corona virus) is acting similar to a flu virus. It may spread a little more easily (too early to say, but there are indications that it is possible), and it may be 2-3x more likely to progress to very serious illness or become fatal pneumonia (again too early to make big picture estimates). The level of fatality so far has varied greatly depending on community preparedness and availability of high quality medical care - ranging from 0.7% to 6%.
Here are some basic statistics (true as of 3-3-2020)
In the big picture, I do not think we need to fear COVID-19 any more than we fear the flu. On the other hand, the flu is a serious illness, and merits extensive health precautions and international monitoring.
Of the people that get sick, the percent of fatalities has varied from 0.7% in some areas to as high as 6% in the areas of the first outbreak (where no precautions were in place and health care was delayed).
At this time most of the large outbreaks have centered around health care facilities where large numbers of immune challenged people were living in close quarters.
With the vigorous precautions being taken globally (quarantines, etc), it is likely that the virus will not spread as aggressively as the flu virus (since we don’t quarantine flu victims every year).
Try not to see the quarantines and public announcements as a sign that this virus is dire, but that positive global action is being taken to slow the spread of a new virus as we learn about it.
While this virus does merit attention and vigilance, the volume and tone of the media coverage has got a lot of people thinking that this virus is ushering in the zombie apocolypse. I concede that it is early days, BUT, so far the pattern emerging is similar to the flu, and unlikely to be the end of humanity or civilization. Again, we should take it seriously, the same way we take the flu seriously, but fear and panic are counterproductive.
Below are some Do's and Don'ts for this special Flu/ COVID season.
Don’t Panic (in large friendly letters)
Cortisol and other stress hormones are some of the most powerful immune suppressors, reducing immune function by up to 50%.
Currently, the statistics on corona virus are less concerning than an average flu year.
Smaller percentage of people are getting sick than with flu
Smaller percentage of people that get sick are seriously ill than with flu
Don’t freak out that you can’t get surgical masks or hand sanitizer.
If you are not in direct contact with people who are sick (like working in a hospital, or with quarantined people), and if you are not immune compromised, then you don’t really need a mask at this time. Facilities that can make them are upping production. More are coming.
Masks are primarily for keeping you from spreading what you have than for protecting you. That said, wearing a mask when around infected people, may lower your exposure by up to 5 times. It protects others from any infection you might have even more effectively.
Don’t adopt a “save yourself” attitude.
Hoarding protective equipment, supplements and supplies at the expense of others will only increase the spread of the virus, and thus your own risk.
Communicable diseases are best addressed with coordinated community action.
Don’t megadose on Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Turmeric, CBD or Fish Oil or any other anti-inflammatory supplements (or OTC anti-inflammatories like Advil, Aleve or Tylenol). Aggressively lowering inflammation can actually shift the immune system away from fighting viruses.
Don’t take any un-necessary steroid medications (minimize OTC steroid creams or nasal sprays if possible). If you are on an Rx steroid for a serious illness do NOT stop taking it, but do consider discussing the risk/ benefit with your doctor.
Don’t take high doses of antiviral herbs before you have early signs that you may be getting sick. Taking these too early can shift the balance of the immune system, and lessen the “immune surge” that you want when you are first exposed to a virus.
Don’t eat a lot of sugar, drink lots of coffee, drink lots of alcohol or smoke (anything).
Follow common sense precautions that you would follow during any cold / flu season. This virus works the same way.
Get plenty of rest
Get outside in the sun and move / exercise
Cough / sneeze into your bent elbow, ask others to do the same
Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your mouth/ nose / eyes after touching public items such as doors, carts, tables, chairs, etc.
Use hand sanitizer (essential oil, silver or alcohol based will all help)
Do what you can to keep your stress levels low (exercise, sing, dance, socialize, meditate, etc)
Laugh as much as possible – laughter increases white blood cell count and immune function
Listen to Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and dance with your friends
Look out for your neighbors, friends, and community. Share what supplies you have with others that might be at higher risk of exposure or falling ill.
Eat plenty of healthy food, including organic greens from the broccoli family (broccoli, kale, collards, Brussel sprouts, mustard greens). These provide folate which supports many regulatory systems in the body, including production of immune cells. These foods also contain sulforaphane which is crucial to optimized immune function.
Include mushrooms in your diet. All mushrooms are immune enhancing, but shitakes are particularly potent and delicious.
Enhance your greens and mushrooms with ginger and garlic.
Assure that your vitamin D and iron levels are not low (D between 60-100, ferritin between 50-100)
Consider investing in a high-quality air filter
IQ Air filters were used in Asia to slow down and help control spread of SARS
DO (If Exposed or Feeling Ill)
Go into voluntary home quarantine, alert your employers, work from home if possible
Alert others you might have exposed
Call your doctor’s office for advice on getting tested and which health care facilities are the best to go to should you become gravely ill. As of this writing, test kits are not readily available to doctors offices. Most testing will be done through public health facilities.
Have groceries, food, medicines delivered to your home. Avoid physical contact with delivery personnel to minimize their exposure.
Vitamin C (1000-5000mg per day)
Zinc (15-30mg per day)
Vitamin D and Iron if levels on labs are low
Prevention (Level Up - in addition to the above)
Mushroom extracts containing Turkey Tail and Shitake
Colostrum products (provide immunoglobulins)
Post Exposure/ Sick
Early symptoms of corona are fever, fatigue, aches, dry cough. If you have a sore throat / runny nose, it is probably a regular cold.
Deploy anti-viral herbs and high dose nutrients (in addition to the above)
Vitamin C: 1000mg every few hours until loose stools, then stop
Vitamin A: 50-100,000 IU per day, for 4 days (not safe during pregnancy)
Vitamin D: 30-50,000 IU per day, for 4 days
Zinc: up to 90mg per day, for 4 days
NAC 600mg, 2x day (especially if lots of mucus)
Stronger Immune support products that contain: