How to Stay Healthy during the Coronavirus Pandemic,Currently the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is rapidly spreading around the world, and the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is about 55,00,000 and increasing daily. So, what can you do to help yourself and others remain as healthy as possible? Of the people who get the disease, an estimated 80% have mild symptoms, and about 20% require hospitalization. Of those 80% with “mild” symptoms, about half of have moderately severe pneumonia, which they can recover from at home. The actual mortality rate seems to vary quite a bit, ranging from 0.5% to 10%. So, why do some people have more severe cases than others? What causes the difference? Is it all just random chance? Actually, no.
The severity of the disease depends on three main things.
First of all, it depends on Your initial exposure to the virus. Generally, a larger infectious dose leads to more severe symptoms.
Second, it depends on your immune system. The stronger your immune system is, the better you can fight off the disease and the less severe your symptoms will be.
Third, it depends on the health care you receive. Although there is no cure or vaccine yet,better care such as medicines and good ventilators can make a big difference.
Believe it or not, you can affect all three of these. You can reduce your exposure to the Coronavirus by social distancing, washing your hands well, not touching your face before washing your hands, wearing a mask, and if possible, just staying home. Practicing these things will not only decrease the spread of the disease but will also decrease the severity of the disease if you get it. Keep in mind that the virus doesn’t just spread from person to person but can spread through the air in droplets and even remain on surfaces for days. What about your immune system? Is there anything you can do to improve that? Yes, most definitely! That is HUGE, and unfortunately it is not being talked about much. Your body’s first line of defense against lung infections, like COVID-19, are the mucous membranes in the lungs, nose, and all the airways. Those mucous membranes are composed of a thick layer of glycans and mucins that trap and remove viruses. In order to function properly, there needs to be a continual flow of mucus. However, if the air is too dry, which frequently occurs in the winter, the mucous membranes dry out and become porous, allowing viruses easy access to our cells. To prevent that, be sure to drink plenty of water, and more importantly, you should increase the humidity inside to at least 50% using a humidifier or simply boiling water. Studies have shown that mice living in 50%humidity have a much greater resistance to the flu virus and a much lower mortality rate than mice living in 20% humidity. Another thing you can do to boost your immune system is to get more sleep. One study compared people who got more than 7 hours of sleep with those who got less than 7 hours of sleep. All the participants were given the same amount of a rhinovirus in their noses, and those who got less than 7 hours of sleep were 3 times as likely to get sick, and the severity of their illness was worse. So, make sure you get more than 7 hours of sleep each night. In addition to sleep, your body needs vitamin D for proper immune function. In the summertime, we get most of the vitamin D we need from sunlight. In fact, a big part of why we get respiratory illnesses more often in the wintertime is the combination of insufficient sunlight and dry air. One study found that taking daily supplements of vitamin D decreased the risk of respiratory infection by 50%. Large amounts of vitamin D were not found to be too helpful. Rather, you want to take daily normal doses of vitamin D, at least until it is T-shirt weather again. There are other things you can do to support your immune system, such getting plenty of zinc, which is found in meats, beans, and seeds. Also, try to reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake, and reduce your overall stress level. Recent studies suggest that changes to the body’s temperature are also very important to the immune system. When you have a fever, your high temperature can stimulate the innate immune system to ward of any kind of infection. The innate immune system has been shown to be very important in reducing the severity of COVID-19. If, however, you take some fever reducing medication, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, this can interfere with your proper immune function and lead to a more severe infection. So, it is best not to take any fever reduction medication. Also, studies have shown that artificially raising your body’s temperature, such as in a hot tub or sauna, can increase your white blood cells, strengthen your immune system, and also reduce inflammation. In addition, lowering your body’s temperature,such as in a cold bath, can further improve your immune system when combined with exercise or heating the body. Another study found that regular sauna use can decrease your susceptibility to the common cold by 50%. Also, during the Spanish flu pandemic, patients who received hot bath therapy multiple times a day were 2-5 times less likely to die than those who did not. Last of all, you can increase your chances of survival by having access to good healthcare. If you think that this is something you cannot do anything about, you would be surprised. In many parts of the world, the healthcare system is being overwhelmed by patients with COVID-19 who need ventilators or other support to survive. If we take this seriously and practice social distancing, hand washing, and everything else I mentioned in this video, we can slow or stop the spread of this virus so that everyone who needs hospitalization can receive the best care available. Otherwise, numerous people who could have survived will not have access to the care they need. Thanks for reading and stay healthy!