Helpful or Hype; which Coronavirus advice to follow and which to forget.

The Investigation

As of March 5, 2020, the release date of this episode, the Novel Coronavirus is a global health mystery. Experts are trying to learn more; searching for some kind of treatment, and we are all trying to figure out how to stay safe. It can be pretty scary. In this episode, I demystify the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the illnesses it can cause. There is so much misinformation out there and I’ve been inundated by patients and podcast listeners looking for some way to separate the facts from the falsehoods – and get some real truths about how to best protect themselves. 

What Is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses have been around a while and are a large family of viruses that are named for the spikes on their surface that look like crowns. Coronaviruses generally cause mild illness like the common cold and respiratory symptoms. However the COVID-19 is the name of the respiratory illness caused by the ‘2019 New’ also called ‘Novel Coronavirus’ that was first detected in China. A few other terms used for this virus are the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, or SARS-coV-2.

How do you Catch Coronavirus?

This is a new virus, which means nobody is an expert on this strain (including me). What we do know is that it’s transmitted similarly to any flu virus. This would be through close contact and respiratory spray. The virus has an incubation period (believed to be from 2 – 14 days) meaning that someone could be infected without having any symptoms yet. 

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms range from mild cold-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache, muscle aches, fever) to more severe symptoms like Acute Respiratory Distress to Pneumonia to the most concerning, Sepsis, Septic Shock and death – although this is less likely to be the outcome. The elderly are at a higher risk of symptoms being severe however, pregnant women and children are not considered high risk. 

Diagnosing Coronavirus

The test for Coronavirus is similar to testing for the flu – it’s a simple nose or throat swab. It can also be detected through PCR genetic testing. From my understanding, test kits are not available at doctors offices and only obtained through the CDC or public health department. Many people worry that they may have been exposed and that they are already infected. However, testing is only recommended if you have a fever and lower respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath and cough AND you had contact with someone that has been infected. If you have recently returned from a hotspot like China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, or Iran and have exhibited symptoms for at least 4 days then you may want to be tested. And, if you are experiencing severe lower respiratory symptoms and have already ruled out other pathogens like the flu, testing would be a good idea. Remember, we are still in flu season so even if you are feeling fluish, it does not automatically mean you have the Coronavirus. Running to the hospital or doctor’s office for testing could increase your chance of exposure, so be sure that you have the above symptoms before going to get tested. 

Lowering the Risk of Coronavirus or COVID-19 

I’ve had a lot of people asking me about prevention and whether or not they should be getting a mask (and if so, which kind). While it’s hard to say if masks are necessary just yet, it’s never a bad idea to have one just in case. The most common type of mask you’ll find on Amazon are surgical masks. These are not designed to protect you from major infections but rather to protect others from catching what you might have. Not only do these masks not have proper filters they also don’t typically fit completely snug so things can still get in and out. If you are going to get a mask, you need one that filters out 95% or more of very small particles. Those are called P95, R95 or N95 masks. They need to have 2 straps and fit snug so they form a seal around your mouth AND nose. These are typically around $30. It doesn’t hurt to get one because they can also be used to filter air when biking or running in poor air quality (great for someone living in a big city).

Nasal Rinsing as a Preventative Measure Against Coronvirus

One of my big recommendations as a preventative measure (or if you may have just been exposed) is a nasal rinse. When we are exposed to infections, we typically breathe them in and they hang out in the nose for a few days while they incubate. So just like it’s important to wash your hands, washing out your nose can be really helpful. There are a few options for nasal rinsing. The neti pot is common but some find it awkward. I use the Neilmed which has the same effect as a neti pot but I think way easier to use. Whichever method you choose, make sure you use a saline solution. I recommend a mixture that is even more antimicrobial with the addition of 2-3 tablespoons of Silvercillin. Alternatively, you can use a spray called Xlear which is purified water, xylitol (a natural sweetener with antimicrobial properties), salt and some grapefruit seed extract. 

Do Supplements Prevent or Treat Coronavirus?

Because this is a virus we’ve never seen before, there’s currently no vaccine to prevent Novel Coronavirus and there are no medications to treat it. When it comes to supplements, a strain of elderberry called Sambucus Formosana Nakai has shown positive effects against other corona viruses but that doesn’t mean it’s specifically effective against the Novel Coronavirus but it does have antiviral properties. Other natural antivirals include Vitamin C, Oil of Oregano, Silvercillin, Lomatium and Monolaurin. High doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin D may also be helpful in later stages as it helps modulate the immune system. Anything you can do to strengthen your immune system is going to be key. We can do this with our diet by including more colourful vegetables (eat the rainbow), taking immune boosters, and ensuring you’re getting enough probiotics

Stop Worrying About Coronavirus

It’s important, of course, to be aware and do all of the things you can to avoid exposure and transmission of the Novel Coronavirus but stressing about is not going to help. In fact, it’s going to hurt your immune system. As much as I love supplements, all the supplements in the world will probably not do too much if you are super stressed. There is an inverse relationship between cortisol and your immune system. When you worry and stress about the virus, you trigger the release of cortisol. Anything that you can do to relieve your nervous system and lower your cortisol is going to help – try breathing, meditation, taking time for yourself, listening to music, dancing, and laughing.

Reality Check 

While this is all very new to us, from what we have seen so far, the later stages of sepsis shock and death are not that common, especially if you are young and generally healthy. So let’s prepare from knowledge and not fear! Let’s get our diets in check, support our immune systems, manage our stress and create a more positive mindset, adapt the attitude that you CAN do this and that your body is strong. 


Suggested Products

Sambucus Formosana Nakai

Vitamin C

C+ Biofizz

Oil of Oregano





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