My Thoughts On the COVID-19 Virus, Including Don’t Panic!
Coronaviruses are viruses that jump from animals to humans. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Virus, 2002-2004) and MERS-CoV-2 (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, 2012) are two recent coronaviruses that had extensive news coverage. SARS-CoV-2 resulted in 774 deaths worldwide. The average annual worldwide death rate from the flu is about 250,000 to 500,000 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815659/).
Coronaviruses are typically respiratory infections that are transmitted in much the same away a cold or flu virus is transmitted: via respiratory droplets and by touching recently contaminated surfaces. That is why the enclosed environment of an airplane or cruise ship is the perfect incubator for quickly spreading a virus throughout the world.
How do Coronaviruses emerge in human populations?
You may wonder how animal viruses make the jump into human populations? Supermarkets as we know them exist largely in industrialized Western countries. Throughout much of the rest of the world, however, there are traditional dry markets for dry, reusable goods and wet markets for perishable food goods. Both types of traditional markets consist of provisional stalls set up in the open or under one large roof. At one time all markets across the world were like this. Our farmer’s markets are the last vestiges in our country of the traditional wet market. However, in developing countries, wet markets may supply between 30 to 60% of the public’s food.
Wet markets have fruit, vegetables, seasonings, seafood, and both butchered meat as well as live domestic and exotic animals and poultry. It is not unusual for a customer to want to inspect the animal live before butchering it for food. In a wet market the selected livestock, poultry or seafood may then be butchered on the spot. In the West, that option is usually only available if you are buying a lobster.
It can be difficult to enforce good sanitation practices in the environment of the wet market. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people, animals, and animal products in a relatively small area every day. Infected live animals can transmit viruses to humans and other animals as well as to freshly butchered products. Running water may not be readily available for hand washing, so unless a merchant is using gloves and changing them with each transaction, it is easy to transmit a virus between goods and from products to customers. The Wuhan wet market, where the COVID-19 virus is thought to have originated, was closed by the Chinese government in January 2020 as a way to reduce exposure to the virus.
From the beginning, my advice has been: Don’t Panic!
It is still important to stay aware and proceed with caution. The best sources for current, accurate information is probably going to be the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int).
Those most at risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus are the same people who are most susceptible to getting a cold or the flu: children with immature immune systems, older folks and those with compromised immune systems, and people who have pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma or COPD.
For the most part, people who contract this illness will have mild symptoms consisting of fatigue, a low-grade fever, and a cough. Some people have reported a sensation of heaviness in the chest and difficulty breathing. The COVID-19 virus can easily be mistaken for a common cold or even seasonal allergies. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to be cautious and utilize preventative tactics.
I am going to offer the same advice I usually offer during cold and flu season:
Wash Your Hands!
Frequently. With soap. For at least 20 to 30 seconds. This should be like an automatic reflex. This step alone is one the greatest preventatives you can employ.
This sounds obvious, right? But, seriously, treat everything you touch in a public place like a petri dish because at least 100 other people have also touched that surface or object.
I never, ever touch food without washing my hands first. It doesn’t matter if it is before I unload the groceries, I am preparing food, or I am eating. I always wash my hands.
Use Hand Sanitizer or Hand Wipes.
If you can’t wash your hands, then use hand sanitizer or a sanitizing hand wipe until you can get to the soap and water. And use those grocery cart wipes and wipe down the handle as well as the spot you usually put your handbag. You don’t want all those germs on the bottom of your handbag either.
Clean Your House.
I’m not suggesting your house is dirty. I’m just reminding you to be extra careful about keeping your house clean now, especially surfaces like door handles, counter tops, your mobile phone, or your computer keyboard. These are things we don’t think twice about touching, but they are prime locations for collecting germs.
Boost Your Immune System!
Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, gets lots of rest, and reduce stress. In addition, I usually recommend additional Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
Cough or Sneeze Into the Crook of Your Arm or a Tissue.
And immediately throw those used tissues away.
Wearing a mask, by the way, is not likely to keep you from getting sick. But it could help you from spreading more germs if you are sick yourself.
Stock Up on Some Food Staples and Medications.
If you fall into an at-risk group, this strategy might be a good idea for you. Even if you don’t fit into an at-risk group, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extras on hand, just in case.
If possible, avoiding large concentrations of people is another good idea for sensitive individuals. One of my strategies is to do my grocery and other shopping at off peak hours when the stores aren’t so crowded. You’ll find me in the grocery store at 7 or 8 AM and in Costco at 6:30 PM. The stores are usually pretty empty at these hours.
Stay Home If You Are Sick.
Once you’ve seen your doctor and confirmed that you are ill, stay home, hydrate, rest, and recover. And keep your kids home if they are sick, even if it means missing work.
If you want more help with immune support, please call me and make an appointment. I will be happy to create a customized immune boosting plan for you. My phone number is (480) 205-6733.