Insights, Guidelines, and Promising Treatment Strategies for COVID-19
As Covid-19 continues to be in the forefront of the news, we felt that additional information and insights might prove helpful to support infection prevention, calm anxiety, and help reframe the narrative for what has become a world-wide crisis on many levels. And, while epidemics have swept the globe in the past, this is the first time most of us have personally dealt with anything of this magnitude and the widespread impact such a crisis has on our social, financial, workplace, and home lives.
What We Have Learned About COVID-19
To review, COVID-19 is a new pathogen in humans. Bats are the natural reservoir of coronavirus. It is believed that their droppings into the seafood markets in Wuhan, China created a perfect storm of the propagation of a virus that could adhere to tissues in the human host. This created a situation in which the virus could be spread from human to human, rather than from animal to human. The term “pandemic” refers to a disease that is new in humans; because it is new, we have no antibodies to this infection.
Some individuals will be more susceptible to succumbing to this infection than others. There is likely some genetic contribution to this susceptibility. The immune system is key in both prevention and in lesser symptoms in the event one does contract the virus. Certain underlying medical conditions and medications make some members of the population more at risk. As there is a natural decrease in immune protectivity in the elderly, we see this population have the highest mortality rate among those infected by corona.
When Coronavirus infects the system, most of the symptoms are caused by the stimulation of certain parts of the immune system that cause intense inflammation. We refer to this as a “cytokine storm”. An effect from this is that an enzyme is released in the blood that reduces the regulation of salt and water concentration in the blood. This leads to widespread kidney, lung, and GI problems.
As studies continue on the incubation period of Corona, our latest information suggests that the median incubation period is 5.5 days from the time of exposure but may be as long as 15 days. The vast majority of individuals will exhibit symptoms within 11.5 days from exposure. The virus may persist as long as 37 days in respiratory tissues.
The presentation of Corona is usually fever, malaise and cough, but an equal number of people may have fever and diarrhea as initial symptoms. As flu and allergies are also very much present, these must be ruled out as causal, but if any of these symptoms are present, PLEASE alert your health care provider and isolate yourself from others. The testing is becoming more readily available and “do-it-yourself” kits are likely going to be the best route to take. I will update you as these are coming into regular use. Do not use anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, to treat the fever and aches as there is some evidence to suggest that these may cause more severe lung symptoms worsening the above-mentioned dysregulation of salt and water in the blood. That said, do not stop ANY medications that you take on a regular basis without consulting your physician.
New Developments in COVID-19 Treatments
Currently, treatment in the traditional medical world has not yielded an effective cure. Several antivirals have been tried, including some in the AIDS/HIV treatment category, as well as anti-flu drugs, and antimalarials. There is current promise shown with the combination of antimalarials along with certain antibiotics, such as Zithromax, that may become the standard of care once a patient is infected. Currently, though, there is no conclusive evidence that these drugs are effective in the treatment of COVID-19. Research is underway to test these drugs and newer antiviral agents, but there is no definitive evidence or scientific proof of effective treatment at this time. Even so, be assured that there is tireless, continued, round-the-clock work being done to develop a new antiviral.
In the alternative/holistic medical arena, the use of Ozone, which has widespread antimicrobial properties, may be of benefit based on previous uses for other viruses, but we do not have enough information at this time. Likewise, IV Vitamin C, which helps boost immunity as well as kill off microbes, may hold a place in the treatment of this illness. It has shown promise in treating infected patients in China.
Updated COVID-19 Prevention Tips and Guidelines
That said we need to continue to remember that clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated.
It is important to focus your efforts on preventive measures to contain this viral spread. Those include the following actions:
- Social distancing. Don’t go places with crowds. Don’t hug, kiss or shake hands. (Can you even believe all those college students crowding the beaches for spring break?? Don’t get me started on an irresponsibility rant!)
- Wash hands frequently. Soap and water, scrub, at least 20 seconds. Rinse. If, by chance in a public restroom do NOT use air blower dryers. These circulate pathogens in the air. I don’t recommend them even without this pandemic!
- Use alcohol hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Don’t touch your face or eyes. Allergies are increasing with our pollen counts, so be sure to have disposable tissues at hand!
Boosting and Supporting the Immune System to Fight Infection
Additional actions you can take involve anything you can do to lessen the toxic burden on the body, reduce inflammation, and fortify your immune system, so that it is ready to fight. Some guidelines to help in this effort are as follows:
- Eat healthy, clean foods. Avoid those foods that are inflammatory to the system, such as sugar, alcohol, artificial sugars, chemicals, coloring agents.
- Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of filtered or purified water daily. Proper hydration keeps kidneys flushing and mucous membranes moisturized and not sticky.
- Breathe clean air. If you have mold, air fresheners, or other toxins in your environment, get rid of them!
- Keep your GI tract, your first line of immune defense, healthy with probiotics. Klaire Pro 5 or Klean Athlete probiotic, 20 billion colonies minimum are great products.
- Supplement with Vitamin D3, 5000 units minimum.
- New studies are suggesting that Quercetin is helpful in prevention and in lessening the cytokine storm in the event of infection. 500 mg twice daily. Many companies are selling out of this, but Klaire Labs Quercetin/Bromelain Forte is still available on Wellevate.
Staying Sane and Positive During a Time of Uncertainty
Keep emotional wellbeing in the forefront of your focus as well. I want you to keep in mind that this is not forever and that you are doing your part by following the guidelines and keeping yourself at home. When things get difficult, here are some helpful tips:
- Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Phone, skype, email, and social media are all means of staying connected without physical contact.
- Do something for others. Send groceries or supplies to those in need—makes you feel connected and purposeful.
- Pay it forward. So many people have been financially impacted from the closure of businesses or the loss of jobs. Consider contributing to these individuals in advance of services if it is within your means to do so.
- Keep your mind occupied with meaningful and stimulatory activities. Read. Learn a new skill (at home), play music, the opportunities are endless.
- Pray, mediate, whatever helps quiet the anxiety in your head and calm your body. Anxiety increases the toll on the immune system.
Most importantly, don’t panic. We are all in this together. Reach out to someone in times of need. The odds are that your call, text, or message will brighten their day and will also keep you going. This is new territory for all of us with developments being made every day. We are all doing the best we can in a time of uncertainty. Hang in there!