COVID-19: What You Need to Know
9 minute read
Coronavirus is a family of viruses known to cause respiratory distress and illness. Previously, the world was impacted by SARS-CoV, the virus that caused what we termed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A new strain affecting humans has now been identified; COVID-19.
The first case was an unidentifiable cause of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019. The link to the virus was a large seafood and live animal market. The coronavirus family is known to affect animals, and on occasion, it can spread to humans.
Person-to-person spread is responsible for the virus reaching countries outside of China. As of January 30, 2020, COVID-19 was declared to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and on March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
The pandemic of this coronavirus is very real, but it is also the first pandemic that can be controlled.
How the Virus Spreads
The outbreak of any new virus is always a concern for human health. The risks depend on the characteristics of the virus. Scientists are working hard to learn as much as they can about it, so it can be stopped. Understanding how it spreads is one way you can stay ahead of the virus.
COVID-19 is spreading quickly, and community spread has been reported in several areas. This means people have been infected, and not all are sure how they became infected. The virus is most commonly known to spread through person-to-person contact, but community spread tells us a different story.
Transfer of the virus requires you to be within 6 feet of a person. It can also spread through the air via respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. It is also possible to get the virus from contact with a contaminated surface for up to nine days. Once you touch the surface or object, you can become infected.
The symptoms of COVID-19 can appear within 2 to 14 days of exposure, and some people won’t show any symptoms. The main symptoms to be on the look for include:
♦ Shortness of breath
These symptoms are similar to those that present with the flu and cold viruses. The severity of symptoms varies by health condition. Those with weakened immune systems and the elderly are the most at risk of severe symptoms. Promoting your own health and boosting immunity is one of the most natural ways to reduce your risks.
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention. Make sure you notify the doctor before you go in, so they can take the necessary precautions for your visit in the event you have been infected.
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. This means that prevention is the best defense. There are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus.
♦ Frequently wash hands: Wash your hands after you have been to the bathroom, in public spaces, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. You need to wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap available, then use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
♦ Avoid close contact: Stay clear of people who are sick or showing symptoms of an illness. If COVID-19 has been identified in your community, keep distance between yourself and others. This is most important for those with compromised immune systems and elderly individuals.
♦ Disinfect: Clean and disinfect touched surfaces daily. This includes light switches, doorknobs, handles, phones, desks, faucets, toilets, sinks, and tables.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a list of approved disinfectants to use for your home and workplace. Sanitizing commonly used spaces and surfaces is essential in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
What to Do if You Are Sick
You need to stay home if you are sick, with the exception of seeking medical care. Mildly ill patients can isolate themselves at home, but more severe cases will likely need hospitalization.
If you can isolate yourself, avoid public places and transportation to protect others. You also need to separate yourself from others in your home.
When you need to visit the doctor, call ahead of time. Inform them that you suspect you have COVID-19, so they can be prepared for your arrival. They need to protect other patients and staff from getting infected.
Wearing a face mask to prevent catching the virus is not necessary, as you want to limit the amount your hands touch your face. It is essential that you wear one if you are sick. Be sure to cover all coughs and sneezes using a tissue and discard the tissue in the trash when done.
There are restrictions on some travel, depending on the destination. Check ahead before you travel for any information relating to the virus and the area you are heading for.
Focus on Your Health
Individuals with weakened immune systems are most at risk of catching COVID-19. They are also more susceptible to severe symptoms and a higher risk of death. Those with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, or any autoimmune condition, need to take special precautions.
The outbreak of disease causes stress and fear, and anxiety can easily overwhelm communities. While the threat is genuine, it is important to stay informed by reliable sources. Focusing on the facts limits the fear and panic that can be dangerous to communities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are monitoring the situation closely. They provide updated reports and statistics so you can stay informed.
Rather than spread fear and anxiety, share accurate data and information. Education and awareness is the key to fighting this pandemic. Do your part to protect yourself and others from reducing the spread.
Focus on your health as a way to prevent and fight illness. Provide your immune system with the essential nutrients it needs to stay strong. There are a few key ingredients you need to know about to boost your immunity and fight viral infections.
Zinc is one of the most common minerals used to fight common cold viruses. Your body releases a protein during infection that attracts zinc. The zinc is used in cells that are first-responders to the infection and is an essential part of the immune response.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that has anti-viral properties. Commonly used to attack viruses that cause herpes and cold sores, L-lysine can effectively fight invading viruses of any kind. It upregulates the immune system, giving your immunity a boost it needs to fight invading viruses.
Gut Health and Immunity Connection
Probiotics are known to be important for gut health. Many do not realize that 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. The friendly bacteria that live in your gut have a mutual relationship with your immune system supporting each other.
Probiotics strengthen and maintain these gut communities, which enhances immunity. This makes them an essential aspect of boosting immune responses. The immune system and your gut communicate to initiate protective responses when pathogens are identified.
In addition to this, the intestinal wall is maintained by immune cells. Your immune system is alerted if anything dangerous passes, though. Probiotics and a healthy gut microbiome help to maintain the integrity of this wall.
With the identification of COVID-19, it is more important now than ever before to promote overall health. Boosting immunity goes beyond the immune system. Your overall health and well-being are linked to the health and balance of your gut microbiome.
It is advantageous to take care of those friendly florae. Taking a daily probiotic supplement will go a long way in protecting you from the inside. You can then focus on preventing the spread of the virus from the outside, by following all health warnings and recommendations.
The Bottom Line
COVID-19 is a real adversary but is also a controllable situation. Education about the virus and how it spreads is our greatest ally. Promoting your own personal health and being cautious is key to preventing further spread. Each community, each state, and each country needs to work together to prevent COVID-19 from doing any more damage.
At an individual level, you can do your part to protect yourself, loved ones, and your community. Follow the recommendations for prevention. As scientists and researchers work continuously to find a way to stop COVID-19, practice preventative measures, and promote optimal health.