SARS-2 (Coronavirus): What Can You Do?

I recently traveled through Southeast Asia, in the shadow of the Coronavirus which is officially named SARS-CoV-2. Many of you have been asking me, “What is the best way to protect my and my family’s health from this virus?"

There are a number of things you can do to greatly improve your immune response and avoid becoming infected and if you do, then to lessen the severity of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by this virus.

The good news is: even though it is highly contagious, the illness is not severe in the vast majority of cases, and children are less susceptible. Early data shows that smoking (and quite possibly vaping), as well as age above 70 and underlying illness greatly increase the fatality rate with SARS-2. Smoking has the effect of increasing the ACE2 enzyme in the alveoli (tiny saccules at the end of your airways) of the lungs. ACE2 is the target of SARS-2.

Statistics thus far show that SARS-2 has a fatality rate of around 2%, which is higher than the flu, although we have lost approximately 10,000 people to the flu this year in the US and only 2800 people to SARS-2 worldwide. At this point, it appears that SARS-2 is deadlier than the flu, but that is not reliable as we don’t yet have all the data, and cases are being under-reported.

One of the most powerful things you can do to boost your immune system is to get more sleep, especially the kind that happens before midnight. This increases immune mediators such as Antigen Presenting Cells, IL-12, and Natural Killer Cells. Studies show that missing the critical hours between 10pm and 1am inhibits these important processes in antiviral immunity.

While I was traveling, I did a number of things to reduce my risk of exposure. I stayed away from crowds and congested areas, avoided enclosed areas, avoided touching handles, knobs and buttons, used hand sanitizer, and wiped my phone down with sanitizing wipes in addition to frequent, thorough hand washing including and importantly: under the nails.

I optimized my immune system against viruses by getting enough sleep and taking Vitamins A, C, and D, zinc, garlic, artemisinin, American ginseng, and probiotics. I also frequently used Argentyn 23 (as a nasal spray and gargle) during my flights, when I had to walk through airports and after I had been near groups of people. Even better: consider a staycation instead of traveling.

There are things we can do to keep everyone safe; which includes thinking of one another. For example, when I returned from travel, I went into voluntary isolation. Other things we can do are: 1) get a digital thermometer. Fever is defined as a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 2) Do not go to the hospital unless you need to. That way, the system will not be overwhelmed with a flood of unnecessary patients, and you will not risk being exposed if you are not sick with Covid-19. 3) Do not hoard masks…the N95 masks are needed to be worn by health care workers. If you feel sick, you can wear a regular surgical mask to keep your coughs and sneezes contained. Serious symptoms which would indicate a trip to the hospital are: shortness of breath, fever, and lethargy (feeling sleepy and woozy). If you do go to the hospital, be sure to call ahead so they can direct you to an appropriate entrance.

My general advice is to remain calm, stay informed, and gradually prepare yourselves and your homes in case the spread of SARS-2 worsens.

Copyright © 2020 Dr. Jeanette Ryan, DC, IFMCP, All rights reserved.
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