Anyone who’s heard tales from grandparents or great-grandparents who lived during the 1918 flu pandemic will understand the world’s great concern about the new coronavirus. The 1918 flu killed at least 50 million people worldwide, while 500 million (roughly one third of the world’s population then) became infected with that H1N1 virus. Because the new coronavirus is so unknown and has spread abroad with many deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already categorized it as a pandemic, meaning it’s spreading throughout the world. In fact, many world airlines recently cancelled flights to China as a result and airports are doing careful screening.
Some reports state this new virus is not of great concern, while others spin sensational stories. What are we to believe? As of the end of January 2020, the death toll was 106. By Tuesday after, it totaled more than 420. Today, China reported that the virus had claimed over 1,000. That’s a steep and quick rise. According to WHO, China reported 20,438 cases, roughly 15,000 more than during the SARS outbreak. Of course by the time you read this blog, these numbers will be even higher. I know one herbalist who lives in Beijing and he can’t even go to his office!
What is the current coronavirus?
The virus started in Wuhan, China, at a poultry and seafood market that also sells exotic animals. It’s the interspecies transmission from horseshoe bats there that seem to be the source. According to the CDC, there is no known treatment yet, i.e. vaccine, for this particular 2019 nCoV infection. Rather, safety precautions are recommended for avoiding it.
According to WebMD, “A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.” Yet, some can be serious such as the 2003 SARS affecting 26 countries plus the 2012 MERS in the Middle East and 2015 in Korea.
What is particularly difficult about the 2019 nCoV is that it has a long incubation period of 10-14 days, so someone can be a carrier without even them or you knowing it. Also, the symptoms can vary from none at all to those of a regular cold or flu, or middle ear infection in children. In fact, some people who have died didn’t even have fevers.
It is transmitted through droplets from sneezing, coughing, wiping one’s face, touching an infected person’s hands or face, doorknobs, and similar means so it can easily be in the air around you. It especially affects the young, elderly and those with lowered immunity. As of Feb. 5, there were six cases in California, the most of any state. So it’s not widely spread in the U.S. at this point.
What can you do to prevent getting the Coronavirus? Following are several common-sense ways.
Several of these are obvious and known, but read further down for ideas you may not have thought of yet.
- Wash your hands regularly for a good 20 seconds, the last 5 under water – this really does help protect you. Carry soap, water and a towel in your car so you can wash your hands whenever you’ve been exposed to surfaces.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands, particularly your eyes or nose.
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow or tissues, but never directly into your hand or with an uncovered mouth.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep. This is one of the best ways to replenish immunity.
- Keep hydrated ideally with warm or room temperature water
- Avoid sugar as it cuts immunity by 50% for hours or even days.
- If you feel under the weather or are sick, Rest, and of course stay home, which as of March 16, those in Santa Cruz County have to do anyway. If you live alone, find friends or helpers who can obtain any needed supplies. Have them left outside your door so you avoid contact with anyone who might be a carrier.
- Use your own pen everywhere outside of home.
- Use a handkerchief or tissue to punch in your codes, pick up tongs at salad bars, open doors, fill your gas tank, handle money, and so forth. Or else wash your hands immediately after such tasks.
- Do nasal wash (neti) daily with a salt-water solution as this clears the sinuses, eliminates infectious bacteria between the bridge of the nose and the throat and helps prevent colds and flu. Neti pots with salt packets may be purchased at many drug stores. Be sure to allow the salt solution to run down the back of the nose to the throat as well as side to side through both nostrils.
- Take zinc in liquid drops for fast absorption as it prevents the viral binding needed for viruses to invade nasal cells.
- As well, start your “Spring cleaning” now. By this I mean cleanse your liver. It is the liver time of year after all, and liver cleansing helps clear toxins from the body. Dandelion and milk thistle are great ideas. Drink dandelion and chicory tea instead of coffee. As well, avoid the liver-congesting substances of caffeine, alcohol, nuts, avocado, fried and fatty food, nuts and nut butters.
- Exercise daily. Exercise moves blood and energy, improving immunity, strength and resistance. If you normally go to the gym, find other ways to exercise at home, even if it’s just to turn on the music and dance! Stretch as well.
- Use hand sanitizer. As it’s sold out in many states make your own from this recipe:
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
- 2/3 cup 91% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
Note: It’s important to note that at least 91% rubbing alcohol must be used for this recipe. If you can only find the 70%, then use a ratio of 90% rubbing alcohol and 10% aloe vera gel. Anything less and the sanitizer will not be effective. Avoid adding essential oils as many people are allergic to them or else could have a negative reaction. If you must add one, choose lemon or grapefruit.
Caution: Using excessive amounts of hand sanitizer with rubbing alcohol can create toxicity in the body, as it’s twice as toxic as ethanol alcohol, the form contained in alcoholic drinks (when consumed internally, it causes central nervous system depression, internal bleeding and even death). If concerned, substitute a high proof (120 or higher) ethanol alcohol, such as Everclear, for rubbing alcohol.
Follow a balanced diet:
Eat foods that support immunity and avoid those that weaken it.
- Sugar – it cuts immunity by 50% for several hours or longer
- caffeinated drinks
greasy and fried foods
cold foods/drinks, especially directly out of the refrigerator such as milk or yogurt
- ice cream, pop cycles
- excessive intake of salads (they are too cooling for this time of year)
- excessive fruit, especially those out of season
- excessively spicy foods
- excessive protein, particularly red meat and for many, turkey
Eat easy-to-digest foods and add spices to them:
- Lots of cooked vegetables
- Cooked dark leafy greens
sufficient protein for your body’s needs
- Chicken or beef broth
- Baked fruit such as baked or sauced apples, cooked berries and add spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cardamom
- Beans and grains together
- Include spices with your food such as garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, basil
- plenty of cooked vegetables and dark leafy greens
- small amounts of cooked fruit such as baked apples or apple sauce, berries
- kicharee (mung dahl)
- Beans and grains together
DISCLAIMER: This blog is a reference work and not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe. The information contained herein is in no way to be considered a substitute for consultation with a licensed health care professional.