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I have received many questions regarding this COVID-19 pandemic. For those who don’t know what COVID-19 is, it is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus, and it spreads from person to person by inhaling the virus particles or by touching contaminated surfaces. The disease has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). COVID-19 has is overwhelming are health system. COVID-19 is 10 times more lethal than the flu. It’s a new disease, and with that comes new issues. There is no real treatment such as Tamiflu for the flu, no vaccines, and no real understanding of what is actually working with various treatments, etc. The unknown is what makes us more cautious. With all of this to consider, it is time for us to maximize our health as much as possible. Below is a list of questions and some key immune system-boosting tips that I not only use myself, but that I often recommend to others.

     1. What kinds of foods and supplements can we consume to boost our immune systems

Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetable each day. Make sure you include green, leafy vegetables into your diet daily. Avoid processed food.

Juicing, or drinking fresh cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices are excellent ways to boost your immune system. Cold pressed juices are exposed to minimal heat and air, so they’re able to hold onto more vitamins, minerals, and enzymes present in the whole fruit. If you don’t have access to cold pressed juice, you can make fresh juice using any juicer (or blender if a juicer is not available) and still reap the benefits. Avoid juice with added sugars and preservatives. 

Take a zinc supplement every day. Zinc prevents the virus from replicating, and it also lessens the duration and severity of your viral illness. 

Take vitamin C every day. The best form of vitamin C to take is liposomal vitamin C. Liposomes deliver more vitamin C into your body’s circulation compared to traditional vitamin C supplements. If you are not able to purchase liposomal vitamin C that is okay, but you may have to take higher doses to be more effective. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is necessary for the growth and repair of all bodily tissues. It controls inflammation and prevents the development of leaky blood vessels in the lungs. Vitamin C has also been shown to lessen the duration and severity of viral illness.

Take a B-complex vitamin each day. The B-vitamins are for stress, and they are the building blocks of a healthy body. They help with energy levels, brain function, and cell health. They include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B12).

Vitamin D3 has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are helping your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, and is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system. 

 

     2. What other things can we do to boost our immune system?

Exercise regularly. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

Get adequate sleep. Allow yourself to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night.

Try to minimize stress. Use mind-body therapies like deep breathing, meditation, tai chi, yoga, massage to reduce stress and stay in shape.

Don’t smoke, and if you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

     3. How important is exercise during this unprecedented pandemic?

Exercise is very important. This can be a very stressful, fearful, and depressing time for many people. Exercise not only boosts your immune system, but it helps you maintain a healthy weight, it relieve stress, combats depression by releasing natural endorphins, and leaves you with an overall sense of well-being.

     4. What do we know about the treatment of coronavirus and how effective it is in the United States? 

Currently, there is no cure for the coronavirus. We treat the virus with what we call ‘supportive care.’ Recommendations for supportive care includes: getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids. For runny nose, it is helpful to use Flonase. If you feel congested, take a cold medicine such as MucinexD, or even allergy medicine such as Claritin/Zyrtec/Allegra. Make sure you take zinc, vitamin C, and a B-complex vitamin, vitamin D3. Avoid dairy during this time because dairy can cause inflammation and causes more mucous for the virus to live in.   

     5. At what point should one get tested? 

Covid-19 symptoms are very similar to flu-like symptoms. Symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, body aches and pains. Additional symptoms can include loss of smell and taste, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. These symptoms can occur 2-14 days after exposure.

If you are in a low-risk group, meaning that you are below the age of 60, healthy with no chronic medical conditions, and you feel symptoms, self-isolate. Monitor your temperature. If you have a fever, call your doctor. 

If you are in a high-risk group, meaning that you have chronic medical conditions, you may be immune-compromised, and/or over age 60, and feel symptoms, please self-isolate and call your doctor immediately. If at any point you are feeling short of breath and/or having difficulty of breathing, go to your local emergency department.

Only go to the emergency department if you are having urgent symptoms, like trouble breathing.

Please continue to self-isolate until you are fever-free WITHOUT fever reducing medications for 72 hours. 

     6. If one recovers from coronavirus is it still possible for it to spread? 

Since this is a new virus, there are still a lot of unknowns. For what we know right now, it is possible to spread the coronavirus during the viral shedding period, which can occur at any time during the 2-week incubation period, and during active infection.

Please continue to wash your hands for 20 seconds, physical distance, wear your masks, and shelter-in-place so that we can flatten the curve! Until next time… 

 

 

Stay healthy,

Dr. Nicolle

 

 

 

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