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What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus COVID-19.

What is the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus currently widespread around the world, that is the hot topic of most television stations, news articles, and social media posts is a new type of coronavirus. It is referred to as COVID-19. Coronaviruses, in general, are common viruses, some only affecting animals, while others can affect humans. Most people will get some form of a coronavirus at one point in their life, and most will not even know it. 

Coronavirus viruses will usually cause some type of respiratory illness (common cold, sore throat, stuffy nose, cough). However, some coronaviruses have the potential to cause severe illness like the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, an outbreak in 2002), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, an outbreak in 2012). 

How Does It Spread? 

The virus has been identified to spread from person-to-person. This means that people who are within 6 feet of each other have the risk of spreading the disease to one another, especially if coughing, sneezing, or any contact is involved. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets which usually occur when an infected person is coughing, sneezing, spitting, and even talking. These droplets can land in the mouths', noses', or eyes' of people nearby and thus cause infection. It may also be possible to contract the virus from touching a surface or object (example: tables, computers, doorknobs, light switches, and so forth) that has the virus on it and then touching your face. It is important to note that the virus does not last long on these objects. It is not believed that the virus can be contracted through food and water, even if someone who has COVID-19 sneezes into your drink or food. 

The virus is mostly shed from people who are infected and showing symptoms. However, given the wide range of symptom presentation of this particular virus (which will be discussed shortly), some spread might occur if someone is infected but not showing symptoms. That being said the virus has proven to spread easily, including community spread. The term community spread means "people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected." 

What Symptoms Should You Watch Out For? 

COVID-19 causes a respiratory illness that ranges from very mild to severe symptoms that may lead to death. The symptoms can start anywhere from 2 to 14 days after coming into contact with the virus. The symptoms to watch out for are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. As you are probably thinking, it is hard to distinguish COVID-19 from your average cold or flu, and you are right. A laboratory test is generally needed to confirm the diagnosis. 

Who Are Most At Risk For Severe Illness? 

Those who are most susceptible to having severe symptoms are those who are immunocompromised, elderly, young children/infants, those with pulmonary or lung conditions (COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, etc), those who have diabetes, and those with any cardiovascular condition. 

What is the treatment if you do contract the virus? 

There is currently no viral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 who have moderate to severe symptoms may require supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Part of this care may include support to vital organ functions. If you are sick, it is important to stay home and rest, drink plenty of fluids, and contact your physician. 

Best Ways to Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Prevent Disease. 

1. As you probably already heard a million times, here is your million and one reminder to constantly wash your hands with warm water and soap. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. It's critical to wash your hands before eating, after sneezing, coughing, and going to the bathroom.

2. Avoid touching your face: this includes eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Also, try to avoid handshaking with others. 

3. Avoid contact with those who are sick. 

4. Always cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue; throw the tissue in the garbage after use. If a tissue is not available, cough and sneeze into your elbow.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (phones, tables, doorknobs, handles, light switches, remotes, faucet handles, etc.). 

6. Get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Eat the rainbow: Per day eat at least 3 servings of vegetables, and 2 servings of fruits. Add in a variety of mushrooms for additional immune support. Also, stay hydrated. Rule of thumb, drink half your body weight in ounces of water (example: 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water a day). 

7. Stop eating processed and packaged foods. These can lead to a lot of unnecessary and unwanted inflammation.

8. Exercise, keep the body moving, as long as you are feeling well. If you do not feel well, please do not exercise as this can make symptoms worse.

9. Reduce stress (that includes not stressing out about the coronavirus), and get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. 

10. If you are not feeling well, stay home. Call your doctor's office before going and tell them your symptoms. You will be further directed as to what the protocol will be. This includes both children and adults. As of now, face masks are not recommended for those who are not sick. If you are sick, a face mask (N95 respirator), is recommended to help prevent the spread of infection.  

11. Add in additional immune and respiratory support. Vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc play a vital role in immune health. Black elderberry has been found to bind to viruses and block the ability of the virus to attach to mucus membranes. Echinacea and astragalus are also great immune support herbs. 

Check out our favorite COVID-19 immune support supplements using the link provided. 


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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.

Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola (AKA Dr. Pam) is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Connecticut and co-owner of Healing Duo Integrative Family Medical Practice. Dr. Pam has a passion for educating, whether it be through her writings or in her office in a one-to-one setting. She is an advocate of making small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in the future. Her goal is to enlighten individuals about holistic medicine and empower them to make the changes necessary to live a healthier life. As her saying goes, "It’s time for you to start feeling like your best self.”

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