CORONAVIRUS: treatment, prevention and origins
There has been some talk online about diet, Chiropractic and other approaches in relation to Coronavirus treatment. This has ranged from preventing Coronavirus, boosting immunity and being a Coronavirus treatment instead of medical care.
READ this article to find out more about Coronavirus, how to prevent infection and how natural remedies can be helpful. (At the END of the article there is also a video to explain more!)
DISCLAIMER: Any of the approaches, modalities or practices mentioned in this article should NOT be a replacement for medical procedures or Coronavirus treatment. All advice is to complement medical care, not replace it. If you are concerned you are infected, please contact medical care.
What is coronavirus? (also known as Covid-19 or Wuhan)
Coronaviruses are a group of zoonotic viruses, meaning they originate from transmission between people and animals. The name comes from the appearance of the virus on a microscope, looking similar to a crown (corona translates as crown in Spanish). According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), this corona virus (also known as Covid-19, novel Coronavirus (nCoV) or ‘Wuhan’) may have passed between civet cats and humans. Immunologists have suspected for some time that other coronaviruses may be circulating among humans, of varying potency.
Virologists and Immunologists around the world dedicate their lives to researching potential strains and diseases. Many will occur naturally without intended provocation. This was even detailed on shows on Netflix, including ‘Explained: The Next Pandemic’ and ‘Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak’
The virus primarily affects the respiratory system. Common signs and symptoms of infection include cough, fever and breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath. However, in more serious cases sufferers can experience respiratory syndromes, kidney failure, pneumonia and death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
In the past, other coronaviruses included MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
How does it spread?
The virus spreads via droplets in the air. These are produced by people coughing, sneezing or contacting surfaces with droplets on their hands or body parts. These are then taken in through the nose, mouth or eyes. Potentially this can also be through open wounds (this is why many hospitals are limiting their surgeries at the moment). According to a new study, when outside of a host body as droplets, the virus can live for approximately 2-3 days.
There is an on-going argument whether viruses are alive or not. Without a host, all viruses will eventually die. Similar to other viruses, such as MESR and SARS, nCoV has a limited lifespan and needs a ‘host‘ to continue to spread and multiply. This is why quarantines are being enforced.
Once in the body the virus will travel further along that pathway, such as down the throat or in the blood supply. Here they will attach to receptor cells, beginning the infection. The virus has ‘spikes’ on the outside which it uses to hook onto the membrane of other cells. Once positioned it then proceeds to infect that cell and inject its genetic material.
This is similar to a parasite like a leach, hooking onto the host and using it to proliferate.
This will then ‘hijack‘ the cell and take advantage of its metabolism. This stops the cell working normally and is forced to help the virus multiply in the body.
What does it do?
Scientists are still studying the relatively new virus. Understanding it more will help with a vaccine or Coronavirus treatment. Once it has infected the host it continues to multiply and infect surrounding cells. Due to the constriction being most commonly via inhalation or the eyes, it sticks first to the throat, causing a sore throat and cough. The body reacts to try to kill the virus, raising the body temperature and giving them a fever.
While it is common to try to cool a fever, this fever is the body defending the infected person. Therefore trying to break the fever may not help their recovery.
The virus will then move from the throat down the respiratory tract, infecting the bronchial tubes, lungs and their linings. The alveoli can also then be inflamed, becoming damaged and worker harder to supply oxygen to the patient.
“If you get swelling there, it makes it that much more difficult for oxygen to swim across the mucous membrane”
– Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips
This can lead to further inflammation, pus build up and pneumonia. This may require being put onto a ventilator.
What about the rest of the body?
It appears to have the most impact on the lungs, however other cells can also be infected. The cells in the gastrointestinal system can be affected, with some patients reporting indigestion or diarrhoea.
If the virus spreads into the blood it can infect the cells in the bone marrow, liver and other organs. Initially the body will be able to fight the virus in certain areas, but as it progresses it will result in the immune system working harder and becoming overwhelmed. When your immune system works harder and gets stretched to its limits, you will become more vulnerable. Then the virus can cause more damage, resulting in inflammation and organ malfunction.
Why is it different
Many have compared this to influenza, also know as the seasonal flu. Experts have advised this is not comparable. Influenza is much harder to contain but less harmful. Novel Coronavirus is more dangerous, with a far higher mortality rate; however it can be more easily contained. This has been exhibited in countries such as China, Singapore and Taiwan. All have taken measures to prevent the spread.
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosis for quarantining and potential coronavirus treatment, include samples of saliva and a throat or nasal swab. These are sent for laboratory testing to confirm nCoV.
What is the current coronavirus treatment?
At the time of writing, there is presently no vaccine or direct Coronavirus treatment. Symptoms will usually go away on their own or be treated using similar methods as influenza. This includes plenty of fluids, rest and healthy food so your body can fight the virus.
Antibiotics will not help as they fight bacteria, nCoV is a virus so will not be affected
If your condition worsens or persists then please seek medical attention from your Doctor. However, please do NOT attend medical centres immediately. The symptoms may pass on their own, and may or may not be nCoV. If it is nCoV, seeking medical help immediately may result in others becoming infected. Do not wear a mask unless you suspect you are ill. However, wearing a mask continually when non-symptomatic may actually increase your likelihood of getting infected.
Please be considerate of others, especially as others in Doctors offices are more likely to have weakened immunity or other medical complaints.
So, what can we do to prevent it?
Since there is no Coronavirus treatment cure or vaccine in sight, the most important thing we can do is prevention. At country and government levels, especially here in Singapore, steps are being taken to contain and control the spread. Officials around the world are working diligently to keep us safe.
But we need to play our part too. Read below for some natural ways you prevent spread and ensure your immune system is thriving and ready to take on the virus.
1. Wash your hands
This may seem small and trivial, but contact with
surfaces followed by breathing in or touching the eyes is the easiest way to
get infected. Wash your hands thoroughly, using soap, for at least 20 seconds.
2. Keep your hands away from your face
Much like influenza, one of the easiest ways to become infected is by touching your eyes. The surface of the eyes are porous, meaning they are more vulnerable to a virus or bacteria entering the body.
3. Stay home if you are sick
If you experience the above symptoms, quarantine
yourself. Give this a couple of days, informing your work and medical
professionals of the situation. This is a precaution which can help you and
countless other who could become infected.
4. Sneeze into your elbow
This should be a common practice, just for the fact
that most people will touch surfaces and open doors using their hands. Sneezing
into your hands can increase the spread of the virus.
5. Clean and Disinfect
Cleaning isn’t just for your hands. Keep surfaces,
doors and other commonly contacted materials clean, using an appropriate
Now to some other steps to strengthen your body, allowing your immune system to work as efficiently as possible. These will not technically ‘boost’ the immune system. The immune system, like any bodily system, will always do its best possible job to keep you healthy. Without adequate healthy choices, such as listed below, the immune system will be restricted in its function and won’t be able to work to its best capacity. In many ways, a healthy defence is the BEST Coronavirus treatment.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will provide the tools your immune system needs to fight viruses and bacteria. Think of nutrition like the ‘fuel‘ the body uses. A car needs the right fuel to work its best and produce the best performance. Having a diet low in processed food and sugar will be best. Unsaturated healthy fats should be vital, as their play a big part in the immune system. These include avocados, nuts, fatty fish like salmon and olive oil. Saturated fats from clean sources, such as grass fed beef, will also help. Avoid all trans-fats, such as found in fried and processed foods.
Organic food, fruits, vegetables and shellfish will help your immune response. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated, important at any time the body must fight an infection or has a fever. Other herbs and spices will have an anti-inflammatory effects, such as garlic, turmeric and ginger.
Cutting back on unhealthy foods will keep the immune system strong, as will cutting back on toxins, such as alcohols and cigarettes.
Getting adequate and good quality sleep will give the body the opportunity to heal effectively and fight infection. Consider the last time you were tired, you found work and concentration difficult. This is the same situation for our immune system. When the body is tired it will also suffer in how efficiently the immune response works.
Chiropractic, particularly Upper Cervical specific Chiropractic, specialises in the nerve system. The nerve system is the control centre for your body. This connects the brain to the body, including all organs and tissues. It is like the ‘wiring system’ of the body, without it nothing will work, or if injured will not work properly. This includes controlling and regulating your immune system.
Chiropractic care restores normal function to the nerve system. With the nerve system working at an optimal level, the immune system will be at an optimal level. Chiropractic has a history of helping patients with problems such as migraines, dizziness and Meniere’s disease, but also with more serious autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Research has shown improved immune function following Chiropractic care, including reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines following specific Chiropractic adjustments.
Other alternative practitioners who may be able to help improve immune function include TCM, Seifu practitioners, acupuncturists and some massage therapists.
9. Staying Active & Getting Outside
Exercise has a positive effect on our immune systems, helping to strengthen it and releasing chemicals and hormones in the body that promote health and even happiness! Exercise, especially in heat, will also stimulate heat shock proteins to be released. These are particularly good at acting as anti-oxidants, reducing mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease. Stretching will also help the body to work efficiently. Science shows that improvements in flexibility and mobility relate to longer lives and more energy.
Unless you are being quarantined, it is important to get outside. The reason? Sunshine. Exposure to the sun produces Vitamin D in the body. This is needed by many body systems, including strengthening bones and is utilised by the immune system. A lack of vitamin D is correlated with increased risk of autoimmunity diseases.
10. Avoid stress
Stress is a big factor. More than 70% of human ailments can be linked or exacerbated by mental and emotional stress. The fight flight response, detailed in human physiology for decades, details how a stressful thought will change the chemistry of the brain and body. This is an important reaction in the short term to evade danger. However, when chronic, this stress reaction will diminish how well the body is working.
Stress activates the muscles and senses so we can run or fight a threat. To activate these parts, blood flow must increase in the muscles and sense organs. But blood flow is not infinite. For blood to flow to the muscles and sense organs, it must flow away from other body parts, namely the organs and immune system. Over time this reduced blood flow to the organs and immune system will result in weakness, diminished function and sickness.
Anything else I can do?
Other practices which can help to prevent disease and strengthen the immune system include:
- Improvements in mental health (such as talking with a psychologist)
- Sexual activity
Coronavirus, nCoV, Wuhan or Covid-19…whatever name you give it, is here to stay for some time. There isn’t a Coronavirus treatment or vaccine in sight, and if it is developed, it will be months away.
Singapore has been fortunate to have a good monitor and control over the spread. However, with an international community and the world continuing to have outbreaks, it is unlikely to end anytime soon. The best thing we can do is be proactive.
- Take precautions to prevent infection
- Take action to keep the body health, preventing being affected if you get infected
- Be mindful of ways to prevent spread to others
Caring for each other and looking out for the whole
population is paramount. This is not a time to be selfish or consider only our
own desires. If we are complacent, it can have a big impact on others. By
staying health, and responsible, we protect ourselves. By protecting ourselves,
we in turn protect others.
Let’s stick together during this trying period. And please wash your hands and try to put down the McDonalds.
Since 2013, Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr. Shaan Rai helped patients achieve greater health, relocating to Singapore in 2016 and founding Vitality Chiropractic Centres. He has an impressive track record in providing relief and solutions for people who experience nerve system problems, such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo or neurological conditions.
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