COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know
We know you’re probably tired of hearing about coronavirus. It’s everywhere you turn right now.
You can’t put on anything without hearing about quarantine, safety protocols, or rates surrounding this horrible virus. We didn’t want to post this article to jump on that bandwagon.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding this virus out there, and we are here to set the record straight.
This article is to help inform you about the facts.
We want to help you understand the truth about this disease and not be as anxious as you probably are right now. We want to give you some tips on how to stay healthy and reduce your risk of infection and especially mortality.
What is a Coronavirus?
To begin we’d like you to know that this isn’t the first time a coronavirus has come out.
It’s also not the first time a coronavirus has infected people.
This also isn’t the most deadly coronavirus to affect people.
It does appear to be the fastest reproducing coronavirus seen in humans — which is why it’s not something to take lightly.
Viruses by themselves cannot replicate. They’re merely small parasites that can’t do much unless they have a host. When viruses make their way inside a cell that was susceptible, they’re able to rewire the cell so it produces more of that virus.
Coronaviruses are like little spiky balls. The name literally means ‘crowned virus’. The spikes on the outside of the virus are made from proteins. These proteins allow the virus to attach to the targeted human cells.
Once attached, they disrupt and merge into the cell membrane. This is when the virus is able to multiply.
Compared to the SARS virus, the protein spikes of COVID-19 are 10-20 times more likely to attach to and disrupt the cell wall. This explains the faster rate of transmission of COVID-19 to the other coronaviruses that have infected humans.
How to Know if You Have COVID-19
COVID-19 is presenting with similar symptoms to the flu. The most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell
- Loss of appetite
These are not the only symptoms, just the most common. Studies are coming out saying that more and more people are presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting) along with the ones stated above.
These symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure. If you think you may have been exposed, it’s best to monitor yourself for symptoms and keep yourself quarantined until you’re passed the 14-day mark.
If you are showing symptoms or think you’ve been exposed, you should go get checked immediately. The earlier you get diagnosed the higher your survival chances.
If you do have coronavirus take special quarantine precautions to protect your loved ones by practicing self-isolation.
The True Dangers of COVID-19
For the general population, COVID-19 isn’t a huge concern. It multiplies at a very fast rate, which is a problem for high-risk groups like the elderly and immunocompromised.
The reproductive number (how fast a virus can multiply) is a good indicative factor of exactly how contagious a condition is. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated COVID-19 to be at a reproductive number of 1.4-2.5 which is quite low according to most studies.
It has been found that the more prevalent number across studies is between 2-3 with the average being at 3.28.
Basically, this means that every 1 person who is infected is likely to infect 2-3 other people because of how fast this virus multiplies.
Although it multiplies faster, the mortality rate is actually lower than SARS and MERS which were COVID-19s similar predecessors.
Similarly to SARS, COVID-19 attacks your lungs. Actually, another name for COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2 since they’re so closely related. This can develop into severe pneumonia if left untreated or if caught too late.
One of the problems that is being studied is pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis means significant damage has been done to your lungs, to the extent of scarring.
Fibrosis (the scarring) makes it difficult for your lungs to function properly leading to other lung and breathing problems.
Even people who were considered healthy before having COVID-19, have been ending up with pulmonary fibrosis and reduced lung function.
This is why it’s so crucial to get checked early if you suspect you may have it.
Another Potential Side Effect of COVID-19
We mentioned above that researchers are noticing people complaining of gastrointestinal issues while they are suffering from COVID-19.
It was noted in one study that the microbial diversity in COVID-19 patients had been disrupted causing imbalances.
We know that many illnesses can induce GI disorders like IBS and autoimmune disorders, so this isn’t to be taken lightly.
Focusing on gut health can help to boost immune system function (not to say it prevents the coronavirus, but it can help your body to be stronger when fighting it), help to maintain microbial balance if you do end up with COVID-19, and help your body repair itself more efficiently.
Polyphenols are scientifically proven to promote gut health. A healthy gut is imperative for a healthy immune system.
Polyphenols and the Immune System
Not only do polyphenols promote gut health, but research has also shown that taking polyphenols actually helps the immune system in a number of different ways.
First, zinc is essential for a healthy immune system. However, it can only be effective when it is intracellular. Polyphenols act as ionophores, which drive the zinc into the cells more efficiently.
Secondly, polyphenols have shown they assist in modulating a cytokine response by providing anti-protease support.
Why is this important? When your body overreacts to a virus, it may turn on too many cytokines and this can lead to death.
Polyphenols help prevent this reaction from the immune system, to help keep your immune system running efficiently.
In addition, polyphenols have demonstrated the ability to support a balanced inflammatory response.
Inflammation is the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli (pathogens, damaged cells, toxic compounds, etc.) Polyphenols help to initiate the response to remove the injurious stimuli and start the healing process. Therefore, a balanced inflammatory response is vital to health.
Staying Safe During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is going to be your best friend for all of this information. They have a vast collection of helpful resources surrounding the coronavirus. They also teach protective measures to deal with disease outbreak and associated mental health issues surrounding the pandemic (i.e. stigma, anxiety, depression, etc.).
Prevention measures are the first step in controlling your fate with COVID-19.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water (try to do this infrequently since you do need certain bacterias to help you fight diseases)
- Wear face masks in public places when you’ll be exposed to other people
- Avoid touching your face and high traffic surfaces
- Keep everything clean and disinfected (especially surfaces like doorknobs)
- Get plenty of polyphenols through diet and/or supplements
Researchers are working tirelessly to find a cure for COVID-19. There have been some treatments starting their testing phases but nothing has yet been released as a safe treatment.
On the positive side of all of this, many people are healing at home. We often are shown the death tolls so that we take the quarantine seriously. The high reproductive rate of this virus isn’t something to take lightly, however, people are surviving this horrid disease and that is what isn’t being shown.
There is a large number of people who are asymptomatic while having coronavirus which is good in the sense that they don’t realize they are even sick. But this is where it becomes dangerous for the ‘at-risk’ population.
Times are uncertain right now, and we need to band together and take measures seriously. Also, take the time to help yourself and make sure to get plenty of polyphenols in your diet.
Please do what you can to stay safe. Give this article a ‘Share’ to help your loved ones know the facts about this virus to help calm their fears and anxieties with science-backed information.