With growing concerns surrounding coronavirus, let’s take a deeper look at how you can boost your defences and that of your loved ones.
Boosting immunity is the best strategy to protect against viruses.
What is coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was discovered in 2019 when an unusually high number of people in Wuhan, China, became ill with pneumonia after having an illness similar to the flu.
When doctors tested them, they found these people had a type of coronavirus they hadn’t seen before. The reason COVID-19 is spreading so quickly is simply that it is a new virus the body does not recognise, and as such, has little defence against.
How is it spreading?
Transmission of COVID-19 occurs when infected droplets are distributed via human-to-human contact, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes.
It may also be spread via contact with contaminated objects as human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days.
Airborne spread has not been reported for COVID-19 and it is not believed to be a major driver of transmission.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptom severity of COVID-19 varies, with mixed reports of severe flu-like symptoms in addition to milder presentations.
Primary symptoms include:
- shortness of breath/breathing difficulties.
Affected individuals may also experience additional flu-like symptoms including:
- Muscular stiffness and pain
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats, and
- Gastrointestinal upset.
Who is most at risk?
Individuals at highest risk for severe disease include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying medical conditions.
Susceptible individuals include:
- The elderly
- Immunocompromised individuals
- People with serious or chronic conditions including heart and lung disease, diabetes
- People who have recently travelled to mainland China, South Korea, Iran and Italy
- Individuals in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, particularly during the infectious period.
To put this in context…
While you should remain informed on the progression of this outbreak, you should not be alarmed, as the Australian Government is adequately addressing COVID-19 via the ‘Coronavirus Emergency Response Plan’.
This scheme involves preventative measures during the early stages of the outbreak, including mechanisms for early detection and effective management of cases and contacts, and has likely contributed to current low incidences of COVID-19 within Australia.
How you can protect yourself from coronavirus?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene provides the best defence against viral infections.
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, immediately disposing of tissues and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If unwell, seek immediate guidance from a medical professional. You may be advised to isolate yourself from the general population for up to 14 days to stop viral spread.
Infection is greatly influenced by the virulence or strength of the pathogen or virus and a person's immune defences. While little can be done regarding the virulence of COVID-19, improving an individual’s immune response is the most effective strategy to protect against any pathogen.
Immune-enhancing ingredients that may help:
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Medicinal Mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi (AHCC extract of shiitake mushroom is being given to health practitioners in China exposed when treating patients with COVID-19)
- Zinc both orally and as drops, liquid or lozengers
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Strain specific probiotics and prebiotics