The coronavirus is all over the news and social media. It seems like it’s one of the top things people are talking and feeling concerned about. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronaviruses that first started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It causes fever, coughs, shortness of breath, and upper-respiratory symptoms. Though the majority of the cases are still in China, the virus is spreading around the world and we may be facing a pandemic soon.
But what is the coronavirus anyways? Is it really that dangerous to call for panic? What if the coronavirus starts spreading in the United States? What can you do to protect yourself from the coronavirus? So many good questions – I aim to address everything today.
In this article, you will learn what the coronavirus is, how it spreads, what are its symptoms, and who is at risk of the infection. You will learn about some major lifestyle factors that can cripple your immune system and put you at greater risk of any virus or respiratory infection. I will also share some natural solutions that can help to prevent viruses, respiratory infections, and illness this season and help you recover quickly if you do get sick.
What Is the Coronavirus
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large group of viruses. Different strains may cause different illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV, or SARS) or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV, or MERS). Coronaviruses tend to be zoonotic viruses, which means that they can be transmitted between people and animals. For example, SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans, whereas the MERS originally spread from camels to humans. There are various strains of coronaviruses that are circulating between animals but have not infected humans so far.
If you open the news and read about the coronavirus, they are referring to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) or Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a new strain of coronaviruses that haven’t been previously seen in humans and has been spreading since late 2019. In this article, I will specifically be covering the COVID-19 and will simply to this strain as ‘coronavirus’ or ‘coronavirus infection’.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak first started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. While we know that the infection spread from animals, it is not yet clear which animal it has come from. It is a strain of coronavirus that we have not encountered before and it’s different from other strains, including the previously seen SARS or MERS.
Symptoms are similar to the flu and the common cold, however, may become severe and lead to complications in those with chronic health issues or in older people. The mortality rate is at 2 percent in Hubei providence in China where the outbreak started and less elsewhere. This is much better than SARS, which had an over 10 percent mortality rate or MERS which killed about 35 percent of those infected.
Coronavirus in the United States
While most cases are located in China, the virus is spreading, which over 300 new cases recently appearing in Northern-Italy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a public health emergency of international concern, however, not yet declared a pandemic, which is a term referring to an epidemic of disease that has spread worldwide.
Though the United States has only seen 14 confirmed cases, several cities, including San Francisco, declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus to allow hospitals, healthcare professionals, schools, and businesses to prepare. The aim is to help prevention, treatment, and for scientists to find effective vaccines or antiviral medications. However, personal responsibility is also critical, this is why I will go over some natural strategies to boost your immune health later in this article (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Symptoms of Coronavirus Infection
The CDC currently believes that the incubation period of the virus can be up to 2 weeks, and symptoms may appear within as few as 2 and as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. This is very similar to what we’ve seen in the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) back in 2012.
Symptoms of the coronavirus infection are very similar to symptoms of the flu (influenza) virus. Based on what we know, symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Not feeling well
Symptoms may range from mild symptoms to severe. In some cases, people may develop a more severe illness, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, and in severe situations, it may result in death (7, 8, 9).
Who Is At Risk of Infection
According to our current understanding, the coronavirus spreads very similarly to other coronaviruses and other upper-respiratory infections. The virus mainly spreads person to person between people who are in close contact, or within 6 feet, of each other.
It spread via respiratory droplets coming from an infected individual’s coughs or sneezes. When a healthy person nearby inhales these droplets into their lungs, they may get infected. While this is not the main way to get sick, the virus may also spread by touching one’s own mouth, nose, or eyes after touching an object or surface with the virus on it.
Based on what we know, the coronavirus is the most contagious when someone is the most symptomatic, however, it may also spread before someone shows any symptoms. However, at this point, we don’t know enough how contagious the coronavirus is.
Some viruses, such as measles, are highly contagious and spread easily, while others are much less contagious. While it seems like that the current coronavirus has spread easily and sustainably in Hubei providence where it has first occurred and other parts of China, it is still not clear how easily and how exactly the virus spreads.
How Do You Get a Coronavirus Infection
What we know for certain is that in order to get infected by the coronavirus, you have to be in contact with someone who is sick or perhaps with an object a sick person has touched recently. According to today (February 26, 2020), there are only 14 confirmed cases in the United States, 12 of these are travel-related and 2 are person-to-person spread. Out of the 80,239 cases, 77,780 are in China and most other cases are in the Western Pacific Region of Asia, including South-Korea and Japan, as well as Italy.
If you are in the United States, at this point, there is little reason for you to be worried. However, since the virus is spreading, experts speculate that we may be facing a pandemic situation soon, it is important to be up to date and educated. For up-to-date information, including travel warnings, you can check the CDC’s and the WHO’s website (10, 11, 12, 13).
It is important to note that even if the coronavirus starts spreading in the United States, in most cases symptoms are mild to moderate and people can expect a full recovery. Symptoms can be more severe and complications are more likely to arise in older people and those with a chronic illness or a seriously compromised immune system, hence it is even more important for them to take preventative measures and boost their immune system. It is also important to mention that we are in the midst of cold- and flu-season, which means that boosting your immune system and protecting yourself from illness is critical regardless of the coronavirus.
5 Lifestyle Activities That Cripple the Immune System
Your immune system’s job is to protect you from infections and illnesses. Your immune system is the one that helps you recover if you get sick. Having a strong immune system is absolutely critical to protect your body against viral infections, including the coronavirus.
The problem is that there are several lifestyle activities that many people engage in that can cripple your immune system and make you more vulnerable to illness. Let’s take a look at the top 5 lifestyle factors that may prevent your immune system from functioning optimally.
Sugar and Your Immune System
It’s not the first time you’ve heard about the negative effects of sugar on your health. Sugar not only causes blood sugar fluctuations and weight gain, but it can also cripple your immune system. Sugar can deplete your body from critical immune-supporting nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin C, and glutathione. It also feeds parasites in your body and may lead to abnormal tissue and cancerous growth (14, 15).
When we are talking about sugar and your immune system, we must discuss the link between sugar, vitamin C, and immune function. In the 1970s, Dr. John Ely discovered the Glucose-Ascorbate-Antagonism (GAA) theory, which found that glucose (sugar) and ascorbate (vitamin C) have a very similar chemical make-up. The problem is that both of them depend on the pancreatic hormone, insulin’s signaling to get into your cells. Sugar and vitamin C basically end up competing for the same spot in your immune system.
If there is too much sugar, vitamin C will likely lose this race as too much sugar can restrict vitamin C from entering your cells. When this happens, your body needs to pump more insulin to get enough oxygen to your cells. Vitamin C is critical to handle oxidative stress and fight pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms in your body. If sugar prohibits vitamin C to support your body, your system weakens and becomes more vulnerable to illness and disease, including the coronavirus infection (16, 17).
Your body needs regular sleep to rest, repair, and rejuvenate. Regular sleep deprivation will surely lead to fatigue, exhaustion, and low concentration. However, sleep deprivation also leads to heightened stress response, reduced immune coordination, and increased inflammatory processes.
This can lead to compromised immune function and higher vulnerability to infections and illness, including the coronavirus. If you want to learn more about the importance of sleep and how to get better sleep, I recommend this article (18, 19).
Drinking plenty of water and proper hydration is critical for your immune system, circulation, nervous system, and all organ function. Chronic dehydration can result in too much histamine in your body.
All that histamine will aim to ensure that your organs get enough fluids even when you are dehydrated, however, elevated histamine may also increase inflammation, allergies, headaches, chronic pain, digestive issues, and immune system problems. The consequence of chronic dehydration may also increase your risk of infections, illness, and disease (20).
Drinking Tap Water
You already know how critical hydration and water is to your immune system. However, it is crucial that instead of simply tracking your water intake, you also pay attention to the kind of water you are drinking.
Municipal water can be very toxic loaded with environmental chemicals, such as chlorine, DBP’s, arsenic, fluoride, and heavy metals. These toxins can destroy your immune system. Drinking clean water using a high-quality reverse osmosis system or high-quality mineral or spring water is much better for your immune health (21, 22, 23).
Historically, our ancestors spent most of their lives outdoors. We do the exact opposite by spending 90 percent of our time inside. Our jobs and schools are indoors. We go to indoor grocery stores and shopping malls or shop online from our couch. We attend indoor events or simply hang out inside of our homes. Of course, staying indoors protects us from certain weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or even heat. However, unfortunately, too much indoor time also increases your exposure to indoor pollutants.
By spending so much time indoors, you are also missing out on the protective factors you may receive in nature, including vitamin D from the sun, fresh air, and electrons from the ground when walking or standing barefoot from on the ground. To protect your immune system, it is critical to find balance and create some time to be outdoors regularly (24).
If you want to learn more about how these lifestyle strategies may cripple your immune system, read this article.
Top 10 Natural Solutions
The CDC recommends the habits and precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection that are helpful for preventing the cold and the flu as well:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Cover your cough and sneeze using a tissue.
- Throw away any used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, and after using the restroom.
- When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a great option.
- Clean and disinfect any objects and surfaces touched with a cleaning wipe or spray.
- Facemasks should be worn by people who show symptoms to prevent the spread of the disease, however, they are not recommended to people who are well.
There are currently no vaccines to prevent the coronavirus and there are no anti-viral or other medications to treat the illness. Treatment includes supportive care to treat symptoms as well as to support vital organ functions in severe cases (25).
Supporting your immune system is absolutely critical when it comes to the prevention and treatment of the coronavirus and other respiratory viral infections. I recommend these 10 natural solutions to boost your immune system and protect your body from illness and infections. Remember, these are great tips not only when it comes to the coronavirus, but for the common cold and the flu as well.
8 Foods to Support Immune Health
Eating a nutrient-dense diet is one of the best and non-negotiable ways to support your immune health. It is important that you eliminate refined sugar, refined oils, artificial ingredients, processed foods, and junk food, and instead, focus on a diet that’s rich in greens, vegetables, herbs, spices, fermented foods, fruits, and healthy fats.
Certain foods are particularly beneficial for your immune health because they have higher immune-boosting properties than others. It is important that you add them to your nutrient-dense diet. I recommend that you eat at least 3 servings of each of these 8 top immune-supporting foods if you are sick and eat them on a regular basis for immune support and prevention:
- Lemons and limes: Lemons and limes are some of the best sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, and help to alkalize and cleanse your body (26).
- Bone broth: Bone broth is rich in vitamins and minerals and is soothing for respiratory conditions (27, 28, 29).
- Garlic: Garlic may reduce inflammation, support your immune system, and effectively fight infections (30, 31).
- Onions: Similarly to garlic, onions are powerful infection fighters that boost your immune system and reduce inflammation (30, 31).
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar provides great disinfectant support against even the most resistant bacterial strains and viruses and offers antioxidant support (32, 33).
- Olive oil: Olive oil is a great source of monosaturated healthy fats which is incredible for your immune system (34, 35).
- Ginger: Ginger is one of the most potent medicinal spices that help to reduce inflammation, boost your immune health, improve sore throat, and lower pain levels (36).
- Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms are fantastic immune-boosting and inflammation-fighting superfoods (37, 38, 39).
To learn more about the benefits of these immune-boosting foods, I recommend that you read this article.
I recommend that you drink 8 to 10 glasses of clean water minimum a day. If you are exercising or doing physical labor, spending time out on the hot sun, sweating a lot in a sauna or hot tub, recovering from an illness or infection, or otherwise feeling dehydrated, make sure to drink more.
To ensure that you drink high-quality, clean water, use a high-quality reverse osmosis system that purifies your water by removing all the toxins. I recommend systems such as the iSpring or the Berkey system. The best water is the Synergy Science hydrogen water which is what I use at home as it is powered by molecular hydrogen which reduces oxidative stress in the body and improves immune function.
Make sure to use a stainless steel or glass bottle to avoid toxic chemical residue from plastic bottles. It is also important that you eat plenty of hydrating vegetables and fruits and drink green juices, bone broth, or herbal teas in addition to your water intake. Avoid sugar, sugary drinks, energy drinks, and too much coffee that may dehydrate your body.
Good Sleep, Fresh Air & Daily Movement
Keeping your body healthy is more than just food and water. Getting good sleep, fresh air, and daily movement are all crucial for a healthy immune system. I recommend that you get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep on a regular basis. If you are feeling sick, make sure to honor your body, and rest plenty. Get some fresh air on a daily basis.
Go for a walk, do some grounding by standing or walking barefoot on grass or dirt, or just simply open your windows and air out the rooms. Do some daily movement. Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes 5 days a week, and keep an active lifestyle through nature walks, stretching, yoga, dancing, walking your dog, and playing with your kids. Even if you are feeling sick, it is important to stretch or do some small movement as much as you can handle.
Keep Stress Down & Practice Gratitude
Keeping your stress levels down is key to your immune health. Practice gratitude daily. Upon waking, think about the things that you are grateful for. Stop and appreciate the small things throughout the day. Keep an evening gratitude journal. Say a daily prayer or engage in the spiritual practices that uplift you. Journal regularly.
Try meditation and breathwork. Say daily affirmations. Practice positive thinking. Talk things out with your friends, family, or therapist. Make sure to have some ‘me-time’ regularly. Surround yourself with positive people and uplifting activities as much as possible.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils may be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of infections. They may help to open up your airways, reduce mucous, improve coughs, calm sore throats, and reduce sinus issues. Essential oils that may benefit coronavirus, cold, and flu symptoms include eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, frankincense, oregano, thyme, geranium, cinnamon, nutmeg, bergamot, cypress, and tea tree essential oil. These essential oils may offer antioxidants and immune-protective qualities.
It is important to mention that some people may be sensitive to certain essential oils. I recommend that you start out with a small amount, preferably, when you are feeling well. Pay attention to your body and reactions. Try out different oils to see what you prefer and what seems to offer the most benefits to your body. Use essential oils that you enjoy and work the best for you (40).
Garlic Salve For Coronavirus
Whether you have the coronavirus, the flu, the common cold, or other upper-respiratory issues, if you are symptomatic, I recommend that you try my homemade garlic salve for coughs and colds. It’s simple to make and easy to use. Here is how to make it:
Homemade Garlic Salve for Respiratory Illness
You will need:
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 10 drops lavender oil (it’s incredibly calming and soothing)
How to use it:
- Rub it onto the soles of feet. Apply generously. Put socks on to help hold the salve in place.
- Rub it on your chest.
- Repeat every 2 to 3 hours until your condition improves.
Take Vitamin C for Coronavirus
There is a reason your mother gave you vitamin C supplements and orange juice when you were sick as a child. Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins when it comes to illness. Research has shown that it has incredible benefits for lung infections and it is one of the most important vitamins for your immune system.
Vitamin C rich foods include lemon, lime, oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, guava, strawberries, papaya, pineapples, kiwi, sweet green pepper, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Remember that sugar is the enemy of vitamin C, so make sure to eliminate any food with refined sugar and reduce your overall natural sugar (carb) intake as well (41, 42).
To further support your immune health, I also recommend taking a vitamin C supplement, such as Super C. Take 500 mg, 2 times daily for prevention and do 3-5 grams, 2-4 times daily if you are feeling symptomatic.
Optimize Vitamin D & Zinc
Vitamin C is awesome, but let’s not forget about Vitamin D and zinc either. They are both essential to support your immune system, yet most people are not getting enough. Sunshine is the best way to improve your vitamin D needs, however, with our indoor lifestyle or colder seasons, it is impossible to meet all your needs. To boost your vitamin D levels, I recommend that you take a daily Vitamin D/K2supplement for both prevention and treatment.
Zinc is another nutrient that people seem to not get enough through diet alone, especially when not eating a nutrient-dense, immune-boosting diet. This can lead to immune dysfunction and more infections and illness. To improve your zinc levels and keep illness way, I recommend that you eat lots of zinc-rich doofs, including spinach, pumpkin seeds, salmon, and grass-fed dairy regularly.
I also recommend that you supplement with Zinc Charge for prevention, and also take it if you are sick every 2 hours until you feel better. For more information on how to improve your health when you are sick, read this article (43, 44).
Use Elderberry & Astragalus
Elderberry and astragalus are fantastic for coughs, congestion, and other respiratory illness symptoms. To benefit from these two immune-boosting foods, I strongly recommend ImmunoStrong Berry Liquid.
It offers a great tasting supplement to boost your immune health. It’s made with elderberry, astragalus root, wild cherry bark, shiitake and maitake mushrooms, and beta 1,3 glucan all for immune health support. Use it to strengthen immune defenses that defend against colds, the flu, the coronavirus, and other infections and to aid recovery if you get sick (45, 46, 47, 48).
Use a Specific Herbal Support Formula
Herbs are the best friends of your immune system. However, it is important that you are strategic when you are using herbal support and use a specific herbal support formula that’s created to support your immune system, lungs, and respiratory tracts.
Allertrex is my favorite natural respiratory support formula that uses a powerful blend of herbs and essential oils, including lovage root, eucalyptus leaf, peppermint left, lemon balm leaf, lungwort leaf, orange leaf, plantain leaf, chapparal leaf, menthol, elecampane root, lobelia flower, and peppermint essential oil, to encourage lung, sinus, and respiratory tract health. I recommend 6 sprays 3 times a day for optimal results.
Final Thoughts on The Coronavirus
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronaviruses causing coughs, fever, and other respiratory issues. The outbreak started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. At this point the majority of the cases are still in China, however, the virus is making its way to other parts of the world. Currently, the United States only has 14 registered cases.
While there is no need to panic, it is important to stay informed and up to date regarding new development. Since we are in the midst of cold and flu season, it is particularly important to support your immune system and take preventative measures to prevent any infections, whether its the coronavirus or the flu. Follow my natural strategies to help boost your immune system, protect your body, prevent viruses, respiratory infections, and illness, and recover quickly if you do get sick this season.