Coronavirus: What It Is, What to Do, and How to Stay Healthy

by Dr. Susan Tanner, MD

Instead of adding to the climate of fear and uncertainty, I thought I would tackle the Coronavirus or, more specifically, the COVID-19 topic head-on in today’s article. In doing so, I hope to share some truths about the virus, and some commonsense and practical tips about protecting your health and your sanity in these very stressful times.

The day-to-day news communication about our current situation with Coronavirus is keeping this topic in the forefront of our thoughts. Because so much is still unknown as to certain specifics of this virus, there are basic things that we all can do to stay as healthy as possible in the face of the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

I want to start by answering a couple of questions: 1.) What is Coronavirus? And, 2.) What is a pandemic? Coronavirus is a virus usually found in animals; Corona 19 being particularly found in bats. The first human cases originated in the Wuhan peninsula of China. Contrary to some rumors, the virus was not likely transmitted to humans from consumption of bats themselves but was more likely from the contamination of some of the massive seafood industry in the area by bat droppings. While still conjecture at this time, the contamination was likely also spread to humans by water droplets, rather than the consumption of the seafood.

Once inside a human host, coronavirus grows and multiplies in the respiratory passages, and as many viruses do, causes a massive release of inflammatory substances in the body. In most cases, this inflammatory response is relatively mild, with runny nose, fever, diarrhea, and general body aches and pains. In the more severe cases, the progression of the virus to the lungs with subsequent fibrosis is what causes the need for hospitalization and respiratory support. This is a severe acute respiratory syndrome or (SARS-type) of viral reaction, and can cause death in the weak, infirm, elderly, or immunocompromised.

The term “pandemic” refers to the rapid spread of a new virus to which most individuals do not have antibodies or immunity. Because this is a new virus in humans, the predictions as to incubation, spread, and severity have been difficult, and knowledge has only come with the treatment of more and more patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that it is possible that Coronavirus may get worse before it gets better, as to spread, and that it is possible the virus may harbor in the pulmonary tissues for as long as 30 plus days, even in the less-ill individuals. For this reason, if you should have any symptoms that suggest exposure to or infection by this viral illness, please alert your health care advisor as to further instruction and stay away from others. In fact, self-quarantining at home is probably the best way to stop the spread of this virus.

Coronavirus Commonsense and Safety

It is extremely important to adhere to commonsense approaches, and to exercise an abundance of caution when interacting in public, at least until we know more about this virus and its duration. I do not believe in scare tactics. However, it is entirely possible that many of us may encounter the virus and possibly contract it. Keep in mind, though, thus far, the majority of cases have been mild, but in heavily populated areas, and in those areas, up to 16% have been more severely affected. (Note: 16% is a China statistic).

A Note on Coronavirus for Mold-Illness Sufferers

To those of you reading this who have been impacted by mold- or fungal-related illness and are still impaired to any extent, I would urge you to use every precaution to avoid possible exposures. You already have some degree of inflammatory response going on in your body as well as a likely overworked and compromised immune system. This is not to scare you, but to instead, advise you to be cautious and protective of your body and the people and environments you get close to at this time while the virus is spreading so rapidly.

Coronavirus Practical Prevention

For practical, preventative advice, if you go to the CDC website, there is much useful information and many resources there. To sum it up briefly, it is wise at this time to consciously observe the following recommendations:

  1. Wash hands frequently. 20 seconds at a minimum with antibacterial soap. This is far more effective than hand sanitizers.
  2. Avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and ears. These are the main viral entry points. We all need to be hyper aware of doing this.
  3. No handshaking and hugging in social settings. A simple nod of the head will suffice. We are all in this together, but we must respect social distance to keep each other safe.
  4. Avoid heavily populated events.   As you have seen, the basketball tournaments have been suspended, the Masters Golf tournament is postponed indefinitely, and I suspect that more events will be cancelled by the day. Use your best judgement regarding church and other social gatherings, but I would advise against attending until we know more. Guidelines are being updated and published daily.
  5. Masks are advised for EVERYONE when out in public places. Masks should be worn to protect everyone from the spread of the virus in public places where social distancing cannot be as well maintained.
  6. Avoid visiting nursing homes or hospitals unless necessary.
  7. Keep your immune system as strong as possible. The following actions and supplements are helpful:
  • Make sure your home environmental air is clean and free of mold. Exposure to high levels of indoor molds can weaken the immune system and also lead to respiratory issues and sometime fungal infections. You need your breathing space as clean as possible right now. (Test with mold plates to find out if there is a problem that you need to address.) You can also use products like the EC3 Mold Spray and the EC3 Laundry Additive to help keep your home and clothing free of mold spores.
  • Drink water frequently to keep all respiratory passages moist, not dry. Hydration is always a good idea to prevent sickness and infection. Drinking filtered, purified, or spring water is best.
  • Stay with your healthy foods regimen! Now is not the time for processed and sugary foods. You need to keep your body fueled with nutrient-dense, whole foods to fight illness and infection.
  • Get adequate sleep. It is important to protect your body by making sleep a priority.
  • Exercise, but not at the gym! There are many fitness apps for workout ideas, and countless pieces of inexpensive equipment, like resistance bands, and dumbbells that can give you a great workout at home. Getting outside for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride as also a great way to lessen your stress and anxiety. The fresh air and sunshine can also be helpful to lift your mood and make you feel less confined and isolated.
  • Supplements: (Note: These may be found on
      • Vitamin D3, minimum of 5000 units daily (Pure Encapsulations, Vital Nutrients are a couple of great brands)
      • Probiotics: 40 billion colonies minimum (Klaire Therbiotic Plus, Orthomolecular Probiotic)
      • Vitamin C 1000 mg daily minimum (Ecological Formulas)
      • Zinc 25-50 mg daily (Thorne)
      • Vitamin A Palmitate 10,000 units daily (Thorne)
      • Other herbal immune boosters, such as echinacea, goldenseal, and elderberry combinations are quite helpful in keeping T-cell counts increased. (Viracid is a great product!)

Do not panic! If you start to feel symptoms, remember, the flu is still active, and pollen counts are elevated now as well, both of which cause similar symptoms to Coronavirus. The best thing to do, if you feel sick or are having any respiratory symptoms, is to call your health care practitioner to help you evaluate your need for office or hospital care. They can also give you instructions as to how to care for yourself at home or to get tested for the virus. You also have our word that we will continue to monitor news and information from the CDC as it becomes available, and if any new treatments emerge, we will publish updates to this site.

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