With growing anxiety and scarcity worldwide, facts are often jumbled with fiction.  There’s a tendency toward empty talk (‘hot air’) or worse, fear mongering, when we just need reliable facts to stay informed and make responsible decisions: 

  • COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), like MERS-CoV (2012) and SARS-CoV (2002)
  • Estimated global mortality rate is 3.5% (as of 03/03/20), much lower than MERS (34%) and SARS (10%)
  • Figure expected to diminish as access to diagnostic testing increases and more mild cases (representing upwards of 85%) are caught
  • Only 0.1% cases of seasonal flu are fatal
  • Infection rates in China are winding down; more new cases occurring outside the People’s Republic than within
  • COVID-19 primarily spread by large droplets from coughing or sneezing
  • Spreads less efficiency than the flu but causes a more severe disease
  •  People have yet to develop immunity against it
  • Those 60 plus with pre-existing health conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, heart disease) as well as others who are immuno-compromised are disproportionately affected
  • Many infected individuals experience minimal or even absent symptoms
  • Most commonly cough (dry), fever / chills, fatigue, and shortness of breath
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, self isolate, and please call 811 (HealthLink BC is available 24/7)
  • The air cannot infect you, unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon
  • At close range, a mask cannot protect you from tiny viral particles (aerosols) 
  • Also, any surface where these droplets settle can be infectious for up to a week, on average
  • Since the virus is specific to the lungs, touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) after contact with a contaminated surface poses a risk

The cleanest environment (and healthiest microbiome) starts with you – these basic good hygiene practices are more or less the same ones everyone should be using during the regular cold and flu season: 

  1. No handshaking! Use a fist / elbow bump, slight bow / nod, or friendly wave
  2. Use only your knuckle/ elbow to touch light switches, elevator / crosswalk buttons, etc. And, use a paper towel to lift the fuel dispenser when filling up
  3. Open doors with a closed fist / hip whenever possible. If you must grab the handle, use a paper towel / tissue and wash / sanitize your hands promptly. This is especially important with bathroom and high-traffic commercial doors
  4. Use disinfectant wipes at stores to clean handles of shopping baskets, grocery carts and child seats
  5. Wash your hands regularly with hot soapy water for 20 seconds or more, i.e. the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs
  6. Use 60% (and up) alcohol-based hand sanitizer after going places where others have been, outside the home
  7. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at the entrance(s) of your home and in your vehicle, for when you can’t immediately wash your hands
  8. Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard promptly. The inside of your elbow is Plan B, clothing can carry viruses that can be passed on for up to a week or more. The lower the humidity the longer it can live. For the same reason, personal products should not be shared
  9. Wash / sanitize your hands before touching your face! We put our hands on our face subconsciously throughout the day and night, while we sleep, upwards of 90 times!
  10. Stay home if your are sick, until you are symptom-free; avoid any unnecessary outings

Do masks and gloves make a difference? Personal protective equipment is useful in some situations but not needed routinely

  • Latex / nitrile disposable gloves are handy when shopping, using the fuel pump, and performing other outside activities that involve contaminated surfaces
    •  Get the appropriate size range for your whole family
  • Main function of disposable surgical masks is to discourage individuals from touching their own nose and / or mouth
    • It also helps by capturing droplets inside
    • Someone who is ill and their caregiver should both wear one 

Where can I still find hand sanitizer? Consider making your own!

Basic DIY hand sanitizer recipe

  • 6 parts 60-90% alcohol (rubbing alcohol or isopropyl) 
  • 4 parts aloe vera liquid OR gel  – depending on whether you want a spray (more versatile) or gel product (more hydrating)

….A more deluxe version

  • 6 parts 60-90% alcohol
  • 2.5 parts aloe vera
  • 1 part vegetable glycerine
  • 0.5 part witch hazel
  • optional: few drops of essential oil for scent and extra anti-microbial action

Naturopathic Prevention and Immune System Support – eating well, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and regular exercise are fundamental to the maintenance of overall health

  • Stress negatively impacts the immune system
  • Consider acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, or a massage to relax your mind and body
  • Symptomatic support is still the mainstay of treatment for COVID-19
  •  Unlikely that any drugs or vaccine will be available this year to help us
  • Brio offers a multitude of immune supplements, including botanical, TCM, homeopathic, and probiotic remedies
  • Please inquire with the Front Desk if you are interested!

You may already have something at home that can provide extra support:

  • Zinc lozenges are effective in blocking most viruses, including coronaviruses, from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx
      • Use at first signs of “cold / flu – like” symptoms as directed, several times a day
      • Tip: lie down and carefully let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat
  • Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent from ~Sept-May. When your shadow is taller than you, your body can’t synthesize enough vitamin D from sunlight
      • Enhances your innate immune system and boosts mucosal defences
      • Plays a protective role in respiratory tract infections
  • Intravenous (IV) micronutrient therapy has been used in clinical trials in China to treat severe respiratory complications arising from COVID-19
      • It’s very promising for prevention
      • Allows administration of much higher doses of antioxidants like vitamin C (6,000-24,000 mg per day) and glutathione into bloodstream
      • Better tolerance and absorption than oral route 
  •  Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is anti-viral
      • Kills and prevents viral replication of influenza especially well, at the initial stages
      • Lack of vitamin C is known to increase susceptibility and severity of infections
      • Caution: osmotic laxative effect can occur with large oral doses – decrease to bowel tolerance (just 200mg per day may be enough)

Do what you can to stay healthy – There is hope for an end! Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said the virus “is not a one-way street… this epidemic can be pushed back”.

  • Many governments and health authorities are doing their best to understand the novel virus and reasonably contain this pandemic
  • Let’s each do our part by practicing self-care, social distancing, and avoidance of unnecessary risks to others and ourselves
  • A proactive approach will ensure we do not prolong the outbreak (and ensuing suspension of travel, work / school, commerce, mass transit, and large gatherings, etc.)
    •  It also leaves resources available in our health care system for those most in need

As always, our Naturopathic Doctors continue to offer visits in-person or via telemedicine (phone, Zoom meeting) for existing patients. 

In health,
Dr. Vanessa

P.S. If you were looking forward to the final instalment of my 3-part Menstrual Health Series that was scheduled to be published, I promise to pick-up from where we left off next time ☺ Those who missed the previous two blogs can now catch up on Part I and Part II here.