As of July 23rd, 2020, an ancient yet novel virus, previously unknown to humans, has infected an estimated 15.7 million people globally, and almost 4.2 million in the U.S.(1). Here at CentreSpringMD, holistic medical center, and nearly every other medical center around the country have adapted their operations to help protect the health and safety of their patients and staff, while continuing to offer services to the best of their abilities amid a seemingly constant swirl of information.
As we step into the second half of 2020, and COVID-19 continues to be a topic of daily conversation, you may find yourself wondering how seriously you should take your risk of exposure, and what you can do to be proactive.
Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
The type of coronavirus responsible for causing COVID-19 is part of a family of viruses that affect both humans and animals. This family of viruses is also responsible for conditions as simple as the common cold, and as severe as the SARS virus, which can cause respiratory distress and even death.
This new type of coronavirus, catalogued as COVID-19, causes a respiratory disease with ‘CO’ standing for corona and ‘VI’ standing for virus, and ‘D’ for disease.
You may have seen the word “novel” in reference to this type of coronavirus, and that simply means that it’s new–we’ve never seen it before. While there is a vaccine in development for COVID-19, it’s unlikely it will be widely available until at least 2021.
Coronavirus has an incubation period of anywhere from 2 to 14 days, with most quarantines lasting between 10 and 14 days if someone is suspected of having been exposed, or showing symptoms (2). An incubation period is the measurement of time it usually takes for an individual to develop symptoms for an illness.
What Does COVID-19 Do?
COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory virus, affecting the airways and respiratory system, although a diverse array of symptoms have been reported, including loss of taste and fatigue, which can linger much after the initial infection has passed.
Once infected, the virus binds to certain cells in the lungs that normally prevent the buildup of mucus and other debris within the lungs. This can cause some difficulty breathing, and can result in the need for intubation to assist proper oxygen flow.
When you’re infected with any virus, your immune system will mount an appropriate response to the invaders and begin to kill off the virus cells. You may develop a fever, which creates a hostile environment for the virus, and you’ll gradually get rid of mucus and buildup by coughing, and through your nose running. This is a completely normal immune response.
The Cytokine Storm
The problem is that for those with compromised immune function, this stage can trigger an inflammatory response known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), where the immune system overreacts and begins to damage the body’s own tissues (3).
This has commonly been called a cytokine storm, and the mortality rate from COVID-19 ARDS can be as high as 40% to 50% (3).
Am I at Risk for COVID-19?
For about 80% of people who contract COVID-19, it will cause a variety of symptoms, which range from mild to severe, and resolve (2). However, as you get older, and if you have underlying health conditions, your risk of hospitalization with COVID-19 increases.
The most common underlying health conditions which increase risk for COVID-19 complications are cardiovascular disease (32%), diabetes (30%), and chronic lung disease (18%) (4).
The CDC estimates that 8 out of every 10 COVID-19 related deaths occur in individuals 65 years or older, although there have been a number of deaths in younger, healthy individuals which raises concern for risk also (5)
Virtual appointments are available! If you’re concerned about COVID-19 exposure, but still want the integrative medicine experience, you can now receive the quality care of our holistic medical center from the comfort of your own home.
The Flu vs. Coronavirus
To put COVID-19 in perspective, the flu infects as many as 45 million people per year, resulting in approximately 61,000 deaths–and that’s just what’s on record (6). The flu is also responsible for as many as 810,000 hospitalizations annually.
Currently, for every 100,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 since mid-January, about 120 of those require hospitalization (7). There have been approximately 4.2 million cases diagnosed in the U.S.
How COVID-19 Spreads
As new information becomes available about the transmission of COVID-19, research shows that this virus is more contagious when spread through respiratory droplets in the air than through contact with an infected surface (8).
This means that coughing, sneezing, close talking, and being in a confined space with those carrying COVID-19 increases the risk of spread.
While there is no way to ensure completely that you won’t be affected by COVID-19, these integrative medicine tips from our holistic medical center will help your immune system to be in optimal condition.
Get consistent and adequate rest.
It’s no secret that lack of sleep makes you more susceptible to illness. Sleep switches on your body’s adaptive immune response, helping it to trap invading pathogens and process them out of the body (9).
Avoid immune-damaging foods.
Foods such as refined sugar, alcohol, and processed grains create excess inflammation and can slow a healthy immune response.
Instead, focus on nutrient-dense and colorful fruits and veggies, such as spinach, broccoli, beets, and carrots; antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries, papaya, and pineapple; quality proteins, and healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, and omega-3s from salmon and other fish.
Stay home if you’re sick
Staying home when you’re unwell is just as much for your benefit as those around you. You never know who else may be immune compromised, or recovering from another cold or flu that can make them susceptible to the germs you may be spreading when you’re out and about.
Wear a mask.
Wearing a mask reduces the amount of respiratory droplets spread into the air from person to person (10)(11). By reducing the amount of respiratory droplets in the air, we also reduce the spread of virus cells contained in those droplets.
Wash your hands and keep them away from your face.
Coronavirus can be neutralized through effective hand-washing, and by alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60 percent alcohol content. Hand washing should be the go-to though, with hand sanitizer use being a last resort where water isn’t available.
Avoid travel to restricted regions.
Currently, several countries remain closed to international travel, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico.
Should I Wear a Mask?
Wearing a mask has historically been a common practice in many countries, although less common in the U.S. Wearing a mask reduces the spread of respiratory droplets coming from a person’s nose and mouth if they suspect or are experiencing an illness.
The fewer respiratory droplets released into the air, the less likely other people are to come in contact with germs and become sick themselves.
Wearing a mask protects those around you by limiting respiratory droplets you spread into the environment.
Supplements for Immune Support
To maximize immune support, incorporate some of these functional nutrients to make sure your immune system is in top shape.
An herbal remedy of a species of South African geranium, umcka plays a role in the production of a specialized protein, called cytokines, that may protect the body’s cells from viral infection.
Supplement with 1.5 mL 1-3 times daily
Vitamin D is responsible for regulating T-cell mediated immunity, the proper function of while blood cells, and an overall robust immune response (12). An estimated 40% of the population is deficient in vitamin D, which can increase susceptibility to infection.
A traditional Chinese medical herb, astragalus modulates immune response, and supports a healthy expression of proteins involved in immune function (13).
Supplement with 1 gram daily.
You can find full-spectrum immune support in the Defender, containing antioxidant vitamin C, astragalus, and the immune supportive power of zinc–all in one simple supplement.
The Way Forward with Integrative Medicine
Illness can be scary. But much of what causes panic is a lack of information and understanding. The most important thing to do is keep a level head and evaluate data as it becomes available. The best thing we can all do is be prudent with our actions to avoid spreading any germs, and to make smart decisions to build a robust immune system.
Share the valuable information with someone who needs it. Knowledge is power, and your CentreSpringMD team is here to guide you through.
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