The news and leadership press conferences are creating a nation of germaphobes. The fear of getting this infection is beginning to become more serious than the infection. The fear, the anxiety, and depression are noticeably higher in my patients and contacts.
So, let’s talk about what a virus really is. It is not a living organism. It has no mobility. It has no mind or intention. It is not out to get you. No one really knows how viruses arrived on our planet. However, they are here, many different ones. They must live and reproduce in a biologically living host. In most cases, they live in a host without killing it. This one supposedly lived in bats. It used the bat’s cells to reproduce itself but did not do enough damage to the bats that they died. If the host dies, the virus dies also.
This version of the bat coronavirus mutated so it could live and reproduce in humans. Although, there are many theories and accusations, we do not know how that occurred. For this discussion, it really does not matter if it is man-made or nature made. It is here and we must deal with it as individuals and as global society. Stop wasting your time and energy reading all that stuff.
To get into the human host body the virus must be transported into the airway of the host. It does not appear that it can enter cells of the skin or digestive tract. They are found in the stool of infected people but seem to just pass through without causing significant damage to that system. It seems that it must get deep in the back of the nose or down into the trachea and bronchial tubes. Once in the airway it must attach itself to one of the cells that line our airways. These cells are covered with receptors. These are like docking stations that have locks. If the virus key matches the receptor lock it can hook up. Once the hook up occurs, genetic material from the virus can enter the respiratory cell.
Now, let’s look at the structure of the virus. It is a protein capsule with genetic material inside of it. The virus is covered with spikes that have a code on them. This code is like the magnetic strip on your credit card. It contains information. When you insert your card into the slot at the gas station, the receptor in the gas pump reads the data. If the data is correct, it will turn on the pump. If the data does not read correctly, nothing occurs. When these spikes contact a receptor that will accept the code on the spike, a connection occurs and the genetic material inside of the virus capsule is injected into the cell. The respiratory cell is like a little factory. It has a job to do. But when the new genetic material is injected into the cell, the orders change and now that cell starts to make viral capsules and more viral genetic material. At some point there is so many new viruses inside the cell that it burst open, spilling the new viruses into the airway where they are inhaled deeper into the lungs or exhaled out of the airway in water droplets with a breath, cough, or sneeze. When the cells burst, their contents start an inflammatory immune response. This includes increase blood flow, white blood cell production (these are like little pakmen that are sent in to clean up a mess), cytokines and bunch of other chemicals that are released. These chemicals help identify invaders and break them down.
The fever (the virus capsule cannot survive temperature over 101.5), the body aches, fatigue (all unnecessary activity is stopped so all the body’s resources can be focused on the invasion), cough, and mucus production (mucus protects the cells and traps the virus to move it out of the body with a cough) are all part of our immune system response to the damaged cells. It is much like when a fire occurs in your home. You are using a fire extinguisher until the fire department arrives and puts out the fire. In the aftermath, there is damage from the fire and from the water used to put out the fire. Sometimes the damage is small enough that the home can be repaired. Sometimes, the damage from the fire and the water is too much and the home must be torn down.
The first phase of a viral illness is like the damage from the fire. The severe illness is like damage from both the fire and water. There can be an overreaction of the immune system. The hospitals are supporting the body until it can repair itself and survive once more on its own.
What can we do? First prevent fire, second fight fire, and third prevent fire and water damage.
Prevention must focus first on movement of the virus through the air. It cannot hurt you if you touch it or eat it. It must be moved through the air into your airways. Inhaling air is the only way it gets in. If you have it on your hands and you touch the edge of your nose or mouth, it can then become airborne with a sniff or an inhalation and be carried deeper into your airway. The answer is simple. Wear a mask. Especially when you are around other people who might be infected. Wash your hands, especially after a potential exposure. Cleaning surfaces is important, but only if there has been exposure to an infected person. If you have been home for two weeks and you are not sick and nobody else had been in your house, you are safe. Fanatic cleaning is not necessary. If someone visits who is infected, then cleaning surfaces is a good idea.
The incubation period varies. This is the time between exposure and symptoms. You can see that lots of things must happen before the body responds and creates symptoms. If you inhale two viruses it will take much longer to get symptoms than if you inhale a million. The closer your contact with an infected person, the more likely you are to inhale more viruses. Now you can see why isolation and physically distancing are important.
Wearing a mask becomes a physical barrier to prevent moving the water droplets that carry a virus into your airways and blocks any virus that might be in your airway from escaping into the air to be inhaled by another person. The size of the water droplets in your exhalation vary. The large majority cannot get through a mask. The news media experts debate this. Wearing a mask is better than nothing.
The severe cases occur when there is an overreaction by the body’s immune system. This is called a cytokine storm. Fluid gets overloaded in the body, mostly in the lungs, causing pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure. This is why the elderly and people with heart disease, diabetes, etc are more at risk.
There are many other herbs and supplements that seem to be helpful. These are immune boosters. I am not going to go into how they all work and which ones to use. There is some concern that these immune boosters might be responsible for some of the overreaction of the immune system in the very ill. I am suggesting that you intuitively select what might be helpful. Some people are using muscle response testing or kinesiology to select the supplements.
Eat as healthy as you can. Being isolated, people are eating a lot more junk food. Do your best to avoids that. Stop eating anything that is not food! Processed items. Sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup (now called dextrin, fructosaccharides, and fructooligosaccharides). Anything with additives, flowing agents, dyes, and chemicals with names you cannot pronounce are more likely to interfere with your immune system’s ability to prevent infection.
Pure foods, preferably home grown or home prepared, are the only way to ensure that you are eating real food. Start with making your own yogurt, bread, and soups. Use frozen food, not canned unless you can it yourself. Please do not eat a lot of “fast food.”
Our body has the ability to eliminate most toxic material, but some toxins are stored in our fat and muscles. Lack of movement and no exercise reduces our body’s ability to remove toxins through our routes of elimination: lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver. Motion in the tissues, vibration from impacts, and contraction of muscles all move internally generated wastes and external toxins from the body. This is why we must move. If we do not move, the fluids around our cells become like a swamp rather than a cool fresh stream. A walk in the sunshine every day for 30 or 40 minutes is a must
Avoiding trans fats will help ensure that our cell membranes are more able to transport oxygen into the cells and are more resistant to infection. Grass-fed beef and wild game contain about two percent trans fats. Feedlot beef can have as high as 40 percent trans fats. The same is true of wild-caught versus farm-raised fish. When we fool with nature, we often mess it up.
Detoxing or cleansing toxins from the body is of extreme importance to help remove stored wastes. You could get some professional advice about cleansing, but we recommend a Liver Cleanse Formula by Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) every 4-6 month. We also recommend a colon cleanse by NSP called TIAO-HE. Do that once per year. If you are not healthy, you must build the body first before doing a lot of detoxing and cleansing. There are many safe ways to detox, and exercise with deep breathing are extremely important and the most natural.
In conclusion, it is very unlikely that you can get infected with Covid virus from a gas pump or any other surface. Wear your mask while in public. Physical distancing is important. Exercise daily. Eat as healthy as you can. Use a few supplements, but do not over do this.
Start to take your attention off this virus and how it could harm you. Stop worrying about second waves of the virus. Focus on the joy in your life. Remember, we have natural and homeopathic treatments that are working well for those who have been ill. Think about going to the beach, golfing, shopping, fishing, visiting, and playing euchre when this is all over. Find ways to safely get out of your house and enjoy the sunshine and spring air. Get back to work if you can.
There is life beyond Covid-19.