The rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
What is a novel coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS-CoV and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). This novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they transmit between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Who is most at risk of infection with this novel coronavirus?
People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and
young, and those with diagnosed heart and lung conditions are most at risk of developing complications.
The flu kills more people than COVID-19, at least so far. Why are we so worried about COVID-19? Shouldn’t we be more focused on preventing deaths from the flu?
You’re right to be concerned about the flu. Fortunately, the same measures that help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus — frequent and thorough handwashing, not touching your face, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, avoiding people who are sick, and staying away from people if you’re sick — also help to protect against the spread of the flu.
If you do get sick with the flu, your doctor can prescribe an antiviral drug that can reduce the severity of your illness and shorten its duration. But as of now, there are currently no antiviral drugs available to treat COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Some people infected with the virus have no symptoms. When the infection does cause symptoms, common ones include low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. However, COVID-19 can occasionally cause more severe symptoms like high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, which often indicates a critical problem and leads to pneumonia.
How long is it between when a person has been exposed to the virus and when they start showing symptoms?
Because this coronavirus has newly discovered, the time from exposure to symptom onset (known as the incubation period) for most people has yet to be determined. Based on current information, symptoms could appear as soon as three days after exposure to as long as 14 days later. Recently published research found that, on average, the incubation period is about five to seven days.
How does coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus can spread mainly from person to person. It can happen between people who are in close contact with one another. Droplets can cause this, when an infected person coughs or sneezes may land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
Coronavirus can also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects. For example, a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Are kids immune to the virus that causes COVID-19?
Since scientists are still trying to understand this virus and mode of action, there is not much data to support anything conclusively. But Children, including very young children, can develop COVID-19. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Children with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe illness.
What can I do to protect myself and others from COVID-19?
The following actions help prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other coronaviruses and influenza:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain social distance, enough distance (6 feet or more) between yourself and another person to avoid getting infected or infecting someone else. School closures, directives to work from home, library closings, and canceling meetings and larger events help enforce social distancing at a community level.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick and maintain a social distance .
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Don’t cough into your sleeve, as the virus can stay live on the clothes or surface for a longer duration so it is important to use facial tissue instead of your clothes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water
What is the importance of washing my hands?
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. That helps in preventing the spread of the virus. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
What can I do to keep my immune system healthy?
Your immune system is your body’s defense system. When a harmful invader — like a cold or flu virus, or the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — gets into your body, your immune system mounts an attack, and this attack is a sequence of events that involves various cells and unfolds over time.
Following general health guidelines is the best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy.
- Don’t smoke or drink.
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—wholesome food to have a better immune system.
- Take a multivitamin if you suspect that you may not be getting all the nutrients you need, especially Vitamin D and Vitamin C through your diet. A good source can be Sunlight for Vitamin D and Amla ( Indian Gooseberry ) for Vitamin c for strong and healthy immune function.
- Exercise regularly and half of your physical capacity. Exercising more than your ability can put you under risk of the weak respiratory system as per Ayurveda.
- Control your stress level. Stress plays an important role. The main types of immune cells are white blood cells. .When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system
- Get enough sleep. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines. Besides, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and trying not to touch your hands to your face, since harmful germs can enter through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Ayurvedic Herbs – Guduchi, Neem, Tulsi, Amlaki can help boost up the immune system.
- Last but not least – Wash your hands frequently and Namaste instead of a handshake.
These are apposite things to do, but it’s understandably alarming because nothing like this has happened in our lifetime. The power of compassion and altruism is a much better guide for our motivation than fear. It is human to be anxious. At the same time, there are lots of reasons not to be scared. Be reasonable and be cautious, but don’t be frightened.”
Article Source – Harvard heath publishing, WHO, CDC
As a service to our readers, AyurRoots Ayurveda Wellness provides a platform to educate. Please note this should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians. This article is about how everyone can stay well and can be helpful to the community in the current pandemic. This is not a claim to prevent it or cure it. Do not follow any advice given in this article without consulting your doctor.
Meenakshi Gupta BAMS, MD Ayurveda (Gold Medalist), RMAS, AD, Panchakarma Specialist,International keynote speaker Founder, Director AyurRoots Ayurveda Wellness, Dallas/Fort Worth area . www.ayurroots.com