Coronavirus Hysteria: What you can do to Protect Yourself and your Family

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

In the last few weeks I have had several patients and friends ask me about the Coronavirus, also known as CoV-19, 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2. Worldwide, as I write this there are 95,483 confirmed cases with 3,286 deaths and 53,688 recoveries.At this point it seems like the world has gone into Coronavirus hysteria. People are stocking up on facemasks and hand sanitizer, playing into fear as oppose to looking at the facts. As of March 2, 2019, China holds 90% of worldwide cases with the rate of infection slowly declining. The rate of infection has been slowly increasing in other countries like Iran, Italy, Germany, Canada and the USA.Understandably, the biggest concern is that CoV-19 is both highly contagious and aggressive, leading to death in some people. Symptoms may appear anywhere between 2-14 days after exposure and often include mild cold-like symptoms with uncomplicated respiratory involvement. In fact, a small group of people may exhibit no symptoms at all and simply be carriers.

The most commonly reported symptoms include:

  1. Fever (not present in the young, elderly or immunocompromised)

  2. Cough

  3. Shortness of breath

  4. Sneezing

  5. Runny nose

  6. Headache

  7. Muscular stiffness or aches

  8. Mild pneumonia· Severe pneumonia (now known as SARI if caused by CoV-19)

  9. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

  10. Sepsis and Septic Shock

  11. Death

Interestingly, children appear to be less vulnerable to CoV-19 than adults, with milder symptoms noted. One very small study of 9 infants under the age of 1 infected with CoV-19 found that none of the infants showed severe illness or complications (1). Currently, there have been ZERO reported deaths of children between 0-9 years old worldwide.

Pregnant women also do not appear to be at greater risk of complications. Another small study of 9 pregnant women with confirmed and symptomatic CoV-19 infection found that none had developed into SARI or died. All women gave birth via C-section to babies with normal Apgar scores. There was no virus found in the amniotic fluid, cord blood or breast milk (2).

When patients with CoV-19 die, it is typically due to sepsis, where the immune system goes haywire, producing an amplified cascade called a cytokine storm. The main goal of treatment should be to prevent a cytokine storm from occurring.

Treating Coronavirus:

Scientists are intensely researching possible existing and new antiviral medication that may actively work against CoV-19 as well as working to develop a vaccine to prevent the spread of infection. At this point there is no known cure. The common antiviral medication Tamiflu, given when someone tests positive for the flu, is ineffective.

Preventing Coronavirus - Back To Basics:

1. Implement best practices when it comes to hygiene.

Get to know your elbows! If you have a cough, need to clear your throat or have to sneeze, make sure you do so into your elbow. 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch so make sure you aren’t coughing into your hands unless you plan on hand washing immediately after. Which by the way - wash your hands! Washing with soap and water is more effective than sanitizer in eliminating unwanted pathogens.

2. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.

This is especially true for our little ones but for adults as well. Reduce the spread of germs by being mindful of how often your hands touch your face.

3. Stay home if you’re sick!

Seriously, besides CoV-19, it’s cold and flu season still. Be mindful of spreading any infection staying home if you’re sick. The rule of thumb with kids is to keep them home until they are fever free for 24 hours.

4. Irrigate your nose:

You probably don’t hear this often but irrigating the nose with a saline solution is one of the most effective ways of preventing influenza and other viral respiratory infections.

5. Your diet matters:

Consume foods with antiviral properties such as: raw garlic, ginger, oregano, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reisi, cordyceps and turkeytail).

Loading up of vegetables and fruits will drive the body into a repair and regenerative state by providing antioxidants and phytonutrients to destroy free radical damage and strengthen the immune system. If your child isn’t keen on vegetables, try incorporating smoothies (with a handful of greens or green powder), soups, pureed pasta sauces or anything else you think might entice your kiddo.

Bone broth has some powerful immune-supporting properties. You can either make it at home or purchase store bought. If you do but it from a store, be s