The novel Corona Virus, best known to us now by its code name, COVID-19 has dug its tentacles into the very fabric of our modern society and left us scared and vulnerable.
But…and I cannot stress this more strongly…now is not the time to lose our minds and completely panic. If you are a person at high risk, then you might want to pay close attention to the recommended guidelines and limit your contact with people and crowded spaces.
If you’re well and strong, you have a bit more leeway as it were and can protect yourself from the virus while still going about your life (a bit more cautiously). In the theory of Chinese medicine, a theory that I have relied on for decades to help me maintain my wellness, there are a couple of things you can do to help ensure you endure this epidemic relatively unscathed. (I recommend you consider these things if you are at high risk as well to reinforce your wellness armor).
First let’s understand our reality. More than 18,000 Americans have died from this season’s generic flu so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the CDC estimated, there were 80,000 flu deaths. Nineteen deaths have been recorded from COVID-19 so far in the US, from about 470 cases. One death from any disease is one too many, but we need to put this into some sort of perspective so panic doesn’t kill us instead of the virus itself.
Worldwide, there have been about 3,400 coronavirus deaths, out of about 100,000 identified cases. Flu, our modern version of the Grim Reaper, steals about 291,000 to 646,000 lives annually depending on the virulence of the strain.
China, the origin of the virus still accounts for over 80 percent of cases and deaths. However, it appears that cases peaked and began declining about a month ago, with fewer than 200 new cases are reported daily, down from a peak of 4,000.
It’s predicted that other countries will follow this same pattern. First formulated in 1840, Farr’s Law states that epidemics tend to rise and fall in a roughly symmetrical pattern or bell-shaped curve. AIDS, SARS, Ebola all followed that pattern. The seasonal flu follows suit each year.
In truth, common flu is vastly more contagious than COVID-19, as noted by the World Health Organization. The first known cases of novel coronavirus date back to early December. Since then, the virus has afflicted fewer people in total than flu does in a few days which makes the flu a bit scarier but there’s no worldwide panic setting in. For some reason that we may never know, COVID-19 is being portrayed as scarier so we need to pay attention.
Be that as it may, here are some natural and effective ways to protect yourself and those you love in these uncertain days and weeks to come.
Remember that the primary Corona virus symptoms include a fever, headache, dry sore throat, and dry cough. Advancing symptoms lead to shortness of breath. Flu deaths result primarily from lung congestion causing a lack of oxygen to the body (viral pneumonia). I think it’s interesting that COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be affecting children in the way it is affecting adults.
Since the only way to contract the virus is through your nose or mouth (from your hands or an infected cough or sneeze from someone less than 6 feet from you), the best advice is still the advice we are hearing from experts. Wash your hands, well and often with warm soapy water. Use hand sanitizer and try not to touch your nose and mouth so often. And of course, wipe down surfaces that are touched often, like phones, keyboards, counters, etc. Use your common sense here.
On top of that, be proactive in building your immune system with the food you choose. Make and eat soup daily, seasoned with miso. Miso, a condiment with roots in Asia (though made here in the US as well), contains good bacteria and enzymes that boost our gut health and our immunity. Strong gut health helps us to be more robust and vital so miso soup is essential in times like these.
Another secret weapon is the umeboshi plum. The who, you say? Ume plums are long-aged pickles that have the incredible ability to alkalize our intestinal tracts and thereby our blood. And when your blood pH is more alkaline than acidic, you tend to be less likely to contract disease or hang onto it for very long if you do contract it. You can buy the plums in any natural food store or online. Simply break the plum open (they are quite soft) and simmer it in 8 ounces of water with a pinch of salt for 5-7 minutes and drink like a hot tea and eat the plum. You can also suck on the pit. Do this 1-2 times a week to help boost immunity.
Skip foods containing added sugar or refined carbohydrates as they compromise immune function as does smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Some experts tout the idea that green tea has been linked to reduced flu incidence so drink up.
Get plenty of sleep.
Breathe deeply to reduce stress.
Dr Bill Caradonna, an expert on natural health and wellness and a dear friend passed on the following information to me and also recommends some supplements to boost immune function:
“(All recommended supplements available via Amazon or health food stores.)
Daily immune support: (If brand is specified, use only that brand)
Children - ProKids ENT (Hyperbiotics) - probiotic with focus on upper respiratory health
Infants - Thymex homeopathic drops (Enzymatic Therapy) - 5 drops daily.
Adults - ProFlora Immune tablets (Integrative Therapeutics, Inc.) probiotic and antiviral - 1daily
AND/OR Thymulus (Enzymatic Therapy) immune support - 2 capsules daily.
AND/OR Garlinase 5000 (Enzymatic Therapy/Natures Way) antiviral - 1 tablet daily.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (N-A-C) 5-600mg/dose (any good quality brand) - antioxidant. Take 1 dose twice a day.
Vitamin C (either Buffered or Liposomal) (any good quality brand) - antioxidant/immune support - 1,000mg 3 times a day.
Vitamin D3 - 5,000iu daily. May take 10,000iu daily short term/during exposure risk. Take with dinner (or higher fat meal) for better absorption. Buffered Vitamin C is also available as a powder.
Zinc 20-35mg daily (any good quality brand) - short term/during exposure risk. (Glycinate is the best form).
Selenium 100mcg - (any good quality brand) - 1 daily.
TREATMENT (should you contract the virus)
In general, antibiotics are not appropriate for viral illnesses. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Overuse creates bacterial resistance and disturbs intestinal probiotic health.
A slight or mild fever is very useful. It is a way for your body to fight off a viral infection. In general, don't suppress (lower) your immune function with Acetominophen /Tylenol, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen/Advil unless you really need these products to manage other symptoms like body aches, or if the fever becomes high (over 102 in children, over 101 if adult). If you do need to lower your temperature, titrate your dosage to not entirely suppress your fever. High fevers - especially if rapidly rising, require immediate medical advice. When fever is present, drink plenty of water. Eat minimally during this time (i.e. non-salty soups/broths). Note: Don't use aspirin to treat children's fevers ever. There is an infrequent but serious syndrome that can occur - only use Tylenol if required.
Do consult a Dr. if a fever is rapidly rising or over 102, or if the following is present - ear pain, significant sinus pain, green nasal discharge, highly swollen lymph glands, persistent neck stiffness, sore throat for more than 2 days, shortness of breath or persistent uncontrollable cough, or if you are coughing up yellow or green mucus. These symptoms are not associated with the Corona virus, but can be from other viral or bacterial infections.
SUPPLEMENTS - (These supplements available via Amazon or other health food stores.)
Occillococcinum (Homeopathic granules dissolved under the tongue) - Take as directed on box. Must start this product within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.
Argentin-23 Nano Silver Hydrosol Liquid - 1 tablespoonful twice a day. (A 16oz bottle should last about 2 weeks). Available on Amazon through several vendors. The Allergy Research Group page as a good source option. NOTE: This is not colloidal silver.
V-Clear Drops (Integrated Therapeutics, Inc.) - 2 dropperfuls (1.5ml) by mouth 3 times a day.
N-A-C capsules (any good quality brand) - 2 capsules 4 times a day. (500-600mg/capsule)
Vitamin C 1,000mg (any good quality brand) - Increase to taking a dose every few hours (reduce dose if diarrhea occurs)
Zinc - Switch to Cold Eze Lozenges and use as directed
Occillococcinum (Homeopathic granules) See above.
Argentin-23 - 3/4 teaspoon twice a day. See above.
V-Clear Liquid (4oz) (Integrative Therapeutics) - ½ to 1 teaspoonful 3 times a day (follow package dose directions)”
My experience with homeopathics is that they are effective, simple to use and harmless in most people.
I would never minimize the severity or the risk of this virus nor should we all walk around thinking we are all going to die (well, eventually we all will). I thought, though, that this would be a good opportunity to talk about eating as well as you can and proper supplementation to keep your immune system functioning at its best.
These are scary days. But don’t let fear overwhelm you or steal your wellness. When you feel yourself losing your grip over the news or the spread of this virus, step away and re-center yourself with a couple deep belly breaths. I know this sounds super-simplistic but for me, just changing my view (literally…walking away from whatever screen is stressing me out) and taking some deep breaths helps me to feel like I am in control again. That I have the tools to do what needs doing. That this, too shall pass.
Sometimes I think we are being tested and our spirits are at stake. How will we treat ourselves and others during this trying time?
Hang in there. I love you.