A novel coronavirus has been spreading around the globe and causing alarm as the number of infections continues to increase. Today we'll have a look at what is currently known about this new health concern and what you can do to stay safe and healthy.
After reviewing the science behind this highly-transmissible pathogen, we'll lay out some simple steps for strengthening your viral-defenses.
What Is Coronavirus
“Coronavirus” is a shortened name for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease or COVID-19. Again, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, first identified after an outbreak in Wuhan, China. For the sake of this article, we'll refer to the virus itself as COVID-19.
COVID-19 is not the only type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses have been studied since their discovery in 1937 in bird populations. The first human coronaviruses were isolated in the 1960s, and you are familiar with the most common coronavirus by a different name: the common cold.
COVID-19, however, is a novel coronavirus with a unique profile. Here are the basic facts, according to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention:1
- Typical COVID-19 symptoms include fever, breathlessness, watery eyes, and cough.
- Some people may experience few or no symptoms.
- For some people, the symptoms may be severe, and lead to pneumonia, which can be deadly.
- It may take two to 14 days after infection for symptoms to manifest.
- At its onset, COVID-19 isn't distinguishable from the flu by its symptoms.
- There is no vaccine for COVID-19.
- There is no antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
The World Health Organization compiled statistics on the severity of the virus based on data from 44,672 confirmed cases in China:2
- More than 80% of people with COVID-19 recover easily.
- Around 14% of people with COVID-19 experience severe disease: potentially including breathlessness and pneumonia.
- About 5% of people with COVID-19 experience critical illness: potentially including septic shock, respiratory failure, and the failure of more than one organ.
- 3.4% of people with COVID-19 die as a result of contracting the virus.
Dissenting opinions about the severity and risk of the coronavirus have also emerged. For example, Harvard's Dr. Jemery Samuel Faust claims that the death rate may actually be less than one percent, based on outcomes of the passengers on board the infected Diamond Princess cruise ship. He additionally cast doubt on China's death toll because of the already heightened death rate from respiratory illnesses in China.3
COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus. Its symptoms are fever, breathlessness, and cough, but they can result in deadly secondary conditions like pneumonia. Different people may experience different severities of illness from the virus.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person among people who are in close physical proximity or contact with each other. This occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the droplets enter the mouths or noses of people nearby.
The virus can survive on surfaces long enough for a person to contract the disease after touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching their own mouth or nose.
Current observations suggest that people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic, although people may be spreading the virus before they show symptoms.1
COVID-19 is being considered highly contagious and infects areas thoroughly enough that those who contract the disease are not always aware of how they became infected.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with confirmed cases — then call a healthcare professional so they can help you determine if you should be tested.
COVID-19 spreads through person-to-person contact and through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Take These Precautionary Measures
There a number of simple precautionary measures you can take to prevent COVID-19:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough into your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Disinfect your cell phone regularly with bleach-based wipes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — and especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer has been in short supply lately, so here’s an easy DIY recipe:
DIY Hand Sanitzier
- 6 oz. rubbing alcohol (preferably 99% isopropyl alcohol).
- 2 oz. aloe vera gel.
- Optional: 10 drops of essential oil such as basil or clove (both have antiviral properties).
Mix well and store it in a clean pump bottle.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask for people who are well because they don't provide protection from COVID-19. However, if you show symptoms of the virus, you should wear a mask, as it can help to keep you from spreading the disease to others.1
Tips To Stop Touching Face
It can be difficult to avoid touching your face. Here are some tips for how to stop doing so:
- Start being mindful when you do touch your face — notice and catch yourself.
- If you catch yourself before you touch your face, find something else to engage your hands.
- If you have an itch, try to ignore it.
- If you can't ignore an itch, wash your hands, scratch it, then wash your hands again.
- Wearing gloves can help you be more conscious of touching your face.
- Don't get discouraged by times when you do touch your face — it takes time to retrain yourself.
You can also take the following precautions at home:
- Stock up on non-perishable foods and basic home supplies now, so that you can avoid crowded grocery stores once the virus has spread, or for if you need to quarantine yourself at home.
- No special cleaning supplies are needed — soap destroys the virus's outer membrane (a lipid layer), so you can clean surfaces with soap and water to disinfect them.
- Plan to be able to stay home — maybe that means organizing your home office, arranging the ability to work from home, or just doing your spring cleaning a little early.
- Develop healthy home habits — get in the habit of washing your hands right when you walk in the door, before you eat, and after you sneeze or cough.
- Viral particles can survive for some time on surfaces, so make a habit of sanitizing surfaces, even ones you don't eat off of. If you touch a surface regularly (sink faucets, countertops, doorknobs, etc.), it could become a holding ground for COVID-19. Clean these surfaces several times a day.
- Coordinate with family and close friends — make a plan for how to support each other in the event of infection or quarantine.
Avoid contact with people who are sick and unsanitized surfaces or objects. Wash your hands frequently. and if you feel sick, stay home. Stock up on non-perishable foods and basic goods in case of quarantine and avoid crowded places, such as stores. Discuss emergency plans with your loved ones.
Boost Your Immune System
There are many scientifically proven ways to boost your immune system naturally and effectively. This will help you to ward off infections of all kinds, including COVID-19.
Provide your body with immune-boosting nutrients.
Make sure you're getting the nutrients to strengthen your immune system. The articles below provide you with evidence-backed information on the supplements you should take.
Emphasize immune-boosting foods in your diet.
Eat your way to a more effective immune response by loading up on these three delicious ingredients. You'll find they are easy to incorporate into many different dishes to deliver the nutrients your body needs.
Exercise is essential for supporting your immune system.
One of the many ways that exercise makes you healthier is by stimulating the production of bone cells, which facilitate the creation of new blood cells that boost the immune system. This article also offers more information about the value of regular exercise for your health:
What This Means To You
To date, there are no pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19, but Savers are well versed in using the power of natural approaches to stay healthy. With some careful attention and a clear plan of action, you can avoid this virus, protecting yourself and your loved ones in the process.
Take the precautions described above and trust that your work to prepare your immune system will help you conquer this new challenge.