The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus 2019 nCoV a global health emergency, as it is presenting as an epidemic that is a risk across the world.
As of today (31st Jan 2020) there have been more than 7834 confirmed cases with 170 deaths. In Australia, today there has been 2 confirmed cases in Queensland, 3 in Victoria, and 4 in New South Wales.
The Australian Government has issued the following warnings:
- People who have been in contact with confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days after exposure
- Returned travellers who have been in Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province other than for seeking individual medical care
- Travel to the Wuhan and Hubei Province in China to is at level 4 ‘do not travel’.
What you need to know about the virus is it spreads from person to person, via airborne transmission. That means, sneezing, coughing, spitting etc.
The majority of the people who have died due to this virus had serious underlying health issues.
At this stage, there is little known about how long the virus lives on surfaces, how virulent it is, or if a person can transmit the virus before or after symptoms appear.
Coming within 1 metre of an infected person is thought to increase transmission.
The main effects of this virus are upper respiratory tract symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms, these are linked with coronavirus and should be taken seriously.
- Difficulty breathing
The symptoms can range from very mild to deadly.
It is not an imminent danger for a healthy person, HOWEVER, a new research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (published on 24th Jan 2020) expresses concern that healthy people who don’t express the virus in a serious way, will continue to go about their tasks and infect others around them.
The current advice is for anyone that shows these symptoms to avoid travel, and public places as you risk infecting vulnerable people such as young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immunity. So, we all must be mindful and aware!
On a Facebook live session today, with Dr Ben Lynch he recommended that if you were not fit and healthy, and you had a holiday, cruise or flight booked, or were attending an event with a large number of people, then you should cancel it to stay safe.
More importantly, if you feel sick at all, to STAY HOME.
What we know about pandemics is that they can impact large numbers of the population, and viruses can mutate. The trajectory of the current outbreak is unpredictable and evolving rapidly. So far, the mortality rate is less than 5%, compare that to SARS at 10%, MERS at 36% and Ebola at 50%, this virus is not as deadly. But it’s early days. Lets focus on what we can do to prevent the spread of the virus and what you can do if you get sick.
- Practice safe hand washing practices by washing with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds after going to the toilet, using public transport, before eating and any time you may have touched something you aren’t sure about the cleanliness of.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing. Don’t sneeze into your hands (cos then you touch everything after!); instead use the crook of your elbow, or into a tissue. After blowing your nose, spitting or sneezing into a tissue, dispose of it in a closed bin or flush down toilet. Then wash hands again.
- Don’t go near people who appear to be sick with cold or flu symptoms. Avoid Doctors surgeries or hospitals unless it is an emergency situation, as these tend to be hot spots for viruses like this to spread (There is a case where a person with this virus vomited in the hospital waiting room, the virus spread into the air con ducts and everybody present got sick).
- Use a face mask if displaying symptoms or travelling. Don’t touch your face, or if you do, wash your hands straight away.
- Do not travel if unwell.
- Do not go to school or work if unwell (You may need a few days off now, but that will save the entire staff having weeks off).
- If you have this symptoms and need to go to see a doctor, phone them up first and let them know you are coming and what symptoms you have so they can keep you apart from babies, elderly and chronically sick people.
- Utilise natural medicine to boost your immune system- use vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins and zinc.
- Use herbal medicine to boost your immunity. If you aren’t sick, a tonic of astragalus, Echinacea, cordyceps, Dan shen and rhodiola will help your body be stronger. If you are sick, a different approach with herbs is needed. We avoid astragalus during acute infections, and would use herbs to support your particular symptoms.
- Use medicinal mushrooms to support your immunity.
- Symptomatic relief: As viruses like this present differently in different people, it’s impossible to have a one-size “coronavirus” tonic. As naturopaths here at CK Health, we are all about helping your unique situation. For example, if you had a sore throat with this, we’d look at Manuka, zinc, thyme, marshmallow, licorice and slippery elm. If you had a fever, we’d consider yarrow baths and elder. For a wet cough, We’d look at NAC or wild cherry bark, for a dry cough Ivy Leaf.
- Use an infrared sauna to increase your core body temperature to encourage the destruction of viruses and increase your innate immunity.
- STOP watching the news and getting worried. Avoid any fear and negativity. Focus on the positives that you can do (like eating well, and taking supplements to support your body).
- Foster a positive mindset. Practice mediation.
- Move more. BUT limit intense activity if you don’t feel 100%. Intense exercise lowers your immune system, so in a time when you need it strong, just exercise in a comfortable way.
- Avoid sugar and alcohol. They suppress your immune system for up to 6 hours after consumption. This is particularly important to know prior to travelling. You don’t want to have a suppressed immune system in a plane, train or cruise ship!!
- Support your microbiome. The majority of your immune cells live in your GUT. Use prebiotic foods, fermented foods and eat a rainbow to support your gut health.
- Rest and SLEEP. Crucially important for your immune system to get enough sleep and downtime!
- If you are sick, limit consumption of solid foods and focus on broths, filtered water and herbal tea.
- Avoid getting sucked into racism and fear that is emerging from the media. This is another way to feed your anxiety and will shut down your immune system. Just because this has emerged in China, does not mean every Chinese person has it. Use your common sense around staying well and safe, and practice compassion to your fellow man.
If you feel like you need to speak to one of our professionally trained Newcastle Naturopaths, then please make a booking by clicking below.