The best way to manage Coronavirus is to prevent it by building up immunity and taking proactive measures to avoid unintentional exposure.
Beyond personal hygiene, there are some simple things we can do to improve our body's immune resilience. These are my thoughts on the topic.
What is the hoopla about Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that were first isolated in the 1960s. There are many types of coronaviruses, and they typically cause flu-like symptoms of varying severity. Covid-19 is the name given to the ‘novel’ coronavirus from Wuhan, a unique strain not seen before.
Aside from causing common flu symptoms, with body aches, headache, runny or snotty noses and cough, the added danger of this strain of coronavirus is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS, it may cause. This is a type of pneumonia that causes the lung surface to become severely obstructed by inflammatory material, making breathing very difficult, a life-threatening situation.
While most people who contract the virus will just feel like they have the flu, some people will be more vulnerable to developing SARS.
In addition to the risk of SARS, this virus is highly contagious, living for nine days outside the body on surfaces, and also being able to be spread by aerosol droplets inhaled from people with the virus nearby.
How is it contracted?
nCoV-2019 is transmitted from person to person when a person comes into contact with the secretions of an infected person. This means the virus is transmitted via the following means:
Touching infected object or surface then touching face, eyes, mouth or nose
Handling the waste of an infected person
Symptoms of nCoV-2019 include:
Mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness
The elderly, young children and those with immune-depleting conditions are at most risk of the serious aspects of this infection. Although it appears nCoV-2019 is less lethal than SARS or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) - a viral respiratory illness new to humans, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012). Stats estimate that 15 to 20 percent of cases can become severe, with the lethal rate sitting at about 1 in 10, according to early estimates. (4)
To put it in perspective, the current world population is 7,769,865,683. (1) Currently 114,430 people have been confirmed, 64089 have recovered, and 4027 have died, many of whom were elderly, or had an existing health condition. (2)
Compared to the 1918 flu, the death rate was up to 20% of those infected which is 200 times the usual flu epidemic mortality rate of 0.1%. With nearly one-third of the global population being infected, it is estimated that three to six percent of the world’s population died due to the pandemic. 500 million people were infected across the world and 50 to 100 million of them died. (3)
The nCoV-2019 is an enveloped virus, which means the virus is protected by a glycoprotein shell, and why these viruses are so difficult to treat. (4) Coronaviruses are virulent because they are ‘enveloped viruses’ meaning that they are enveloped inside a glycoprotein membrane that protects the virus against common medical treatments. (5) Nature offers us more viable resources to break this membrane, and enhance immune mechanisms of protection in the system as a whole.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory infections that are typically mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), though rarer forms, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, which can cause respiratory distress syndrome in those with vulnerable health conditions, which can be life-threatening. Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, a family of enveloped viruses and is the largest among known RNA viruses. (6)
(It is a fascinating study, like watching the world meters of infection and recovery - https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries … does this constitute as rubbernecking..? )
While the media has made it all very scary, I feel that we are slowly moving on toward the other side of the bell curve anyone I notice that at the time of writing this, anyone who says “it’s the flu” is still quickly silenced or shamed. Not wanting to dwell on the dark side for long, I am looking forward to the upside of all this, when people become more conscious of their coughing, sneezing and spluttering habits. I must say it is working on my 13-year-old, who now is more vigilantly washing grotty hands, as well as coughing and sneezing into his elbow ... so it’s working, yay!!
This virus is particularly resilient outside the body, making it fairly easily transmissible if people are not conscious of how they splutter. Lasting up to 9 days outside the body, it can be picked up from surfaces and spreads through aerosol contact as well.
As usual, prevention is better than cure, and as we bring our gratitude back to how amazing our immune systems are, we can confidently turn to nature to support us with her broad-spectrum options that not only protect us from infections but also stimulate immunity to protect us.
There are many herbal medicines and nutritional that are antiviral against envelope viruses, and supportive to the immune system, a herbal and nutritional plan together aligned with an individual's needs in a Naturopathic consultation. It is also important to protect against the ‘cytokine storm’ at the heart of the most debilitating symptoms. Preventing viral pneumonia and secondary bacterial pneumonia is high on the agenda for a Naturopathic prescription, so anyone testing positive or suspecting an active infection is encouraged to make a phone/video call appointment. Likewise, if you tend to catch every lurgy going around, have a chronic or debilitating health condition, diabetes, asthma or a lousy immune system in general, a consultation is the best way to get started on what you need. If you’re actually sick with the flu or other lurgies, then a videocall consultation is quick, easy and doesn’t violate quarantine. Yay! Videocall appointments can be made here, and they’re cheaper too.
For general proactive and accessible measures, I would add into personal hygiene practices some of these options:
Vitamin C - Ultimately, If you do nothing else, start taking vitamin C right away; at least 3 grams a day, spread over the day. That's a 1,000 milligram capsule every 8 hours, or a level teaspoon of powder dissolved in a pint or so of water, drink all through the day. If you catch something, simply increase your vitamin C intake: 4 to 5 grams in water (which helps to keep you hydrated) every 3 or 4 hours. And keep on taking it. ‘Bowel Tolerance’ refers to the amount of vitamin C needed for tissue saturation. Once tissue levels are reached, the body will put the excess vitamin C out through the bowel, causing wonderful explosive diarrhea. If you reach this level, drop your dose back by 1 teaspoon, and stay on this dose. It is important to take smaller doses of vitamin C more often throughout the day to improve absorption.
Zinc – eat plenty of zinc foods, or take a zinc supplement, 20-30mg one to two times daily. Zinc foods include pumpkin seeds, oysters, beef, chicken, tofu, hemp seeds, raw nuts, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, and mushrooms. A handful or two of pumpkin seeds is a good practice.
Vitamin A – long called “the anti-infective vitamin” this vitamin is of great importance in the normal functioning of the immune system. The skin and mucosal cells lining the airways, digestive tract, and urinary tract function as an immune barrier and are the body's first line of defense against infection. Vitamin A has an antiviral action, and in therapeutic doses can prevent the penetration of viruses into cells. (7) Supplementation is ideal for short periods when there are active viruses around, or foods to include in the diet high in vitamin A include: liver, kidney, carrots,
Vitamin D – get your skin in the sun for 15-20 minutes without sunscreen – just avoid the hottest part of the day when the sun is high in the sky. 20 minutes of full-body sun can give you up to 20,000iu of vitamin D – excellent for your immune system, mood and bones. While you’re at it, take your shoes off and earth your body with bare feet on the grass. Great therapy. In a clinical study published in June 2010 in Medical News Today, Dr. James R. Sabetta and colleagues found that vitamin D may help decrease the incidence and severity of respiratory tract infections caused by viruses, including influenza. (8)
Alkalise – It is not very well known is that most viruses prefer a more acidic environment to thrive, as they are pH-sensitive. In an article by Dr Sircus called Viruses are pH-Sensitive, he says “Coronavirus infectivity is exquisitely sensitive to pH. For example, the MHV-A59 strain of coronavirus is quite stable at pH 6.0 (acidic) but becomes rapidly and irreversibly inactivated by brief treatment at pH 8.0 (alkaline).” (9) Alkalising can be as simple as basing your diet on lots of vegetables, fresh seasonal fruits, and avoiding acidic foods like sugar, refined or highly processed foods, flour products, soft drinks, and bottled juices. Go for a clean-eating diet, focusing on natural foods made by nature and not manipulated too much by man. Supporting your body to be more alkaline than acid is a good health practice generally. Some people like to take 1/4 tsp. of aluminum-free baking soda dissolved in one-half glass of water on an empty stomach, once in the morning and again before bedtime and test their urine with pH testing strips from the health store. A pH over 7 is considered alkaline.
Hydrate – Drink plenty of water, between meals, not with meals. Avoiding dehydration is important as hydration supports the body’s cellular function and helps remove acidic wastes from the tissues and cells. When we do not drink enough water the first sign is a darkening of the urine. The color of urine in a dehydrated person will be dark yellow to orange, and it will be more odourous. The more hydrated we are the lighter the color of our urine. Any dark color at all in the urine is a sign of water deficiency.
What if I get infected with a nasty dose of Covid-19?
If you feel you are at risk, having a plan is a good idea, just as you would a bug out bush fire plan, knowing what you want to do if you test positive or get carted off to hospital can take the stress out later.
Making sure you have a good supply of groceries, plenty of your favorite nutritionals or herbals, and everything you need to get lots water, easy to digest soups and nourishing foods, tissues, and soap. Keeping your germs to yourself with a facemask or scarf and frequent hand washing and surface cleansing is obviously the best way to protect those around you.
If you do end up in the hospital with more severe symptoms of potential pneumonia, have a personal advocate lined up with all the information you need while in hospital. To me, the most important thing is information on IV vitamin C, or at least a good supply of liposomal vitamin C. Vitamin C is a highly researched, clinically demonstrated method to treat coronavirus-related severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), or viral or bacterial pneumonia. Most deaths from coronavirus are caused by pneumonia. It has been known for over 80 years that Vitamin C greatly benefits pneumonia patients. If you can’t get it in an IV form in hospital, oral dosing is the next best thing, particularly with a liposomal variety. Links to vitamin C studies in pneumonia and SARS are here. And here is a 60 minutes article on how the use of IV vitamin C in a man with severe swine flu saved his life – worth watching if you or someone you know is in trouble like this. 60 minutes link here. )
These are the things I would have at the front of my mind in the face of this ‘pandemic’, so I hope you find it useful too.
DISCLAIMER – These views simply express the personal conversational views of the author, and are not be taken as specific Naturopathic or Medical advice. Seek the advice of your Naturopath, Doctor or primary health professional for individual advice.
(2) World Clock – Coronavirus Counter -
(3) Ten facts about the Spanish flu -
(4) Green Med Info - Can Herbal Medicines Fight Wuhan Coronavirus?
(7) Oregon State University -Vitamin A -
(8) Vitamin D May Protect Against Influenza And Other Viruses -
(9) Viruses are pH-Sensitive -
Written By Monica Williams (Naturopath) 10.3.20
This information is not intended to replace personal Naturopathic or medical advice.