The latest permutation of the coronavirus is called COVID-19. It began in China and has since been spreading through the middle east, Europe and is arriving in the United States.
On February 26th, the first case was reported in the Sacramento area of “community infection”. This means the person infected had not been traveling and had not been in contact with someone who had been traveling. This is the kind of communicability that infectious disease experts fear will turn into a pandemic.
I’d like to provide some information that can keep fear and panic at bay and keep us all acting rationally and also engaging in preventative measures.
First, the most commonly asked questions I have received via email and through my office are answered below. This content comes from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and their website is updated with the latest information every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It’s also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
What is the Incubation Period?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The incubation period is between 4 to 7 days, but there have been cases that are as high as 14 days.
Is COVID-19 Fatal?
Those who are older in age, have chronic illnesses such as autoimmunity, cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney issues, diabetes, liver problems, or are pregnant are at higher risk for fatality. The disease usually hits adults and males die more frequently with the disease than females do.
What are the Symptoms?
The most common symptoms reported are fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
What is the Treatment?
There is no treatment. If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your public health department for testing immediately. Right now, the CDC is controlling the testing. Please stay home if you have any of the before mentioned symptoms. If you have to receive medical care or live around other people, wear a mask. Frequent handwashing is also of utmost importance. Always dispose of your soiled tissues properly, clean surfaces, and sneeze into your elbow on your sleeve.
What Can You Do to Stay Healthy and Prevent Contracting the Coronavirus?
This is where integrative medicine really shines; disease prevention. One of my students asked a question in the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification private group yesterday and it was the question I would love everyone to be asking themselves: “How do I help my body so it’s not a hospitable host for this virus?”. Now THAT is the right question!
Following are some helpful tips and nutrients I recommend for enhancing your immune system and optimizing your body so it’s not a hospitable host for any virus, including COVID-19.
Take your supplements
Monolaurin is believed to have the potential to permanently inactivate the fat coated viruses that cause diseases by fluidizing the lipids (fats) and phospholipids in their envelopes, leading to the disintegration of viral particles. Monolaurin, sold under the brand name Lauricidin®, comes in the form of mini pellets. The usual recommended initial dose is 1.5 grams once or twice a day for one or two weeks.
Alternatively coconut oil is rich in monolaurates:
- Coconut Oil 2 TBSP day
- Benefits include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer care, dental care, and bone strength.
- These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties which are antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and soothing.
- Use ImmunoCore as your multivitamin. This formula is designed to enhance immunity and therefore is the first line of defense I personally use every fall before the cold and flu season start. I don’t get a flu shot because I use these supplements and follow my own advice. I used to get a seasonal cold yearly that was a doozy and the flu every 3-4 years. But not anymore. It’s been years…ever since I started using these tips and supplements.
- ImmunoMod helps the immune system respond appropriately when it’s compromised. It contains ingredients important for reducing inflammation, which is one of the risk factors for creating an environment hospitable to viruses.
- If you already know you have an active viral load, such as Epstein Barr Virus or Herpes, it’s a good idea to take Viranol so your load can diminish and go into remission.
- Vitamin D for both kids and adults (must be D3 and most absorbent with K2 added).
- 5,000 IU for adults in fall, winter and spring and 2,000 IU for summer.
- For kids use 1,000-2,000 IU depending on their weight and age.
- If you already have a cold take 50,000 IU for 2 weeks until the bottle is gone.
- Check a blood level every 6 months for precise dosing.
- I like to keep my patient’s levels between 75 and 90.
- Buffered vitamin C 1 gm a day. This can cause loose stools and can also be hard on the kidneys so be observant.
- Trace Minerals: Zinc and Selenium are necessary to maintain immunity health. We use Bio-Multi-Min (1 each meal).
- Fish Oil (I recommend Omega Plus for its purity and the ratio of EPA to DHA for immune and brain health).
- Use a probiotic daily. You need AT LEAST 50 billion colony forming units (cfus) per day of at least 4 different strains of good bugs. Rotate the brand you use frequently. If you have been on antibiotics your probiotic should be in the trillions.
- Don’t allow yourself to become constipated. You must have at least one bowel movement a day to remain healthy. Use Triphala Plus ( 2-4 per day as needed) and Calm and Clear 1 scoop every bedtime.
Make sure you implement the proper lifestyle measures for your immune system to work
- Make sure you are practicing good handwashing. This means:
- No hand sanitizers with alcohol in them.
- Antimicrobial essential oils are listed below: (you can make your own)
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Pinon Pine Essential Oil
- Juniper Essential Oil
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Pure Aromatic Hydrosol
- Get plenty of sleep, which means at least 8 hours a night between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am.
- If you need help falling asleep drink an Ayurvedic sleep cocktail at bedtime:
- Warm ½ c almond milk with 3 strands saffron, 1/8th tsp nutmeg, dash of cinnamon and cardamom.
- Sweeten slightly with a drop of pure monk fruit if you like after removing from heat.
- You may whip til frothy. Drink and sleep well!
- If you need help falling asleep drink an Ayurvedic sleep cocktail at bedtime:
- Ingest Himalayan Salt 1 tsp a day.
- Exercise in a way that matches your adrenal health and makes you happy: make sure you have 5 sweaty tee shirts a week. Adrenal health is essential for preventing viral and bacterial infections. If your system is tired, it’s at risk. Want to know what your adrenals and hormones are doing? Get them tested. I always teach my students and patients to “test, don’t guess”.
- Deep Belly Breathing: Helps your body’s nervous system support your “rest and digest” functions. If you are anxious about contracting the virus, your nervous system will move into “fight, flight, or freeze” and you will be at higher risk to do just that.
- Meditation: check out our recorded meditations such as the Stress Busting Tool Kit. According to the World Health Organization, stress is one of the primary barriers to good health. Autogenic training has been researched since the 1930’s and multiple studies show that mastering this technique aids in immune system enhancement, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, getting rid of pain, and healing migraines and headaches.
- Massage to stimulate lymphatic flow
- Sweat 30 minutes a day (an infrared sauna is a great investment).
- Keep a clean diet free of sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Pay attention to food sensitivities. The best diet is a supplemented Paleo-Mediterranean diet.
- Avoid all dairy products and cold/raw foods or drinks.
- Take a bath each night using detox salts (recipe for a yummy blend here) to remove toxins from body through skin. Make sure to use a lymphatic brush first to loosen everything.
- Consider a juice fast monthly to feed your cells. Green veggies only with plenty of parsley and cilantro for detoxification. Add lemon, garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, sea salt, turmeric, and ginger for an extra boost to the immune system.
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Anecdotal evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners and sugar can trigger viral outbreaks as viruses love to feed off of sugar and artificial sweeteners. They are commonly found in food like substances and drinks that are “diet” or “sugar free” including diet sodas, many toothpastes and sugar substitutes. Check the label to see if it contains the word ‘sweetener’ followed by a reference number, or any one of these ingredient names: Saccharin (Sweet’N Low), Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda, Altern), or Sorbitol.
- Eat lots of broccoli and other “cruciferous” vegetables. Vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family (including Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale) may help to stop viruses in their tracks; due to a naturally high amount of a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Clinical studies show that this compound has the potential to interfere with the way many viruses reproduce.
- Ditch processed and junk food. The occasional treat is no problem, but where possible try to avoid deep fried foods, sugary treats, white bread, gluten containing foods, junk foods and any processed or packet foods. Foods with artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives fit into this category too.
- Try to reduce the amount of saturated animal fat consumed (which is found in all animal products, and especially fatty cuts of meat) and particularly avoid trans-fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids are commonly found in: margarine, fast food restaurant food, packet or snack foods, such as crisps, and frozen dinners.
- Some simple adjustments to your kitchen cupboard can help you live a healthier life and therefore help to prevent viral flares: use ghee in place of margarine, use a quality, high smoking point oil when you cook your meals such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil, use monk fruit drops instead of white sugar or artificial sweeteners.
The upshot is: the current concern over the COVID-19 viral outbreak is warranted. However, it’s never a good idea to panic as you will set your system up for failure to defend you against any virus you are exposed to. Follow the advice laid out here, stay calm, and stay updated on the latest news without obsessing over it.
If you start coughing err on the side of caution and don’t go to work. Stay hydrated, rest and monitor your symptoms. If you start running a fever, call your local public health department and find out where you can get tested. Wear a mask if you are going to be around people.