We are living in uncertain times and under previously unexperienced conditions, so let’s look at some facts to help understand our predicament more clearly. What is happening? Why is it happening? And what can we do?
What is happening?
Viruses are widespread and common occurrences on this planet. There are varying types which can affect plants, animals or people depending on the kind in question. Generally a virus is a biological agent which enters cells and replicates itself, spreading its code within the host it has chosen. In the case of the COVID-19 virus, humans are the hosts. The virus enters the body via the airways and begins to make copies of itself within our cells which, in this instance, creates an infectious disease. By themselves a virus cannot live, they absolutely require a host in order to survive and spread.
Regarding the COVID-19 virus, the spread is limited to humans and not all are presenting with symptoms, should they be carrying it, which is making it very difficult to contain and manage. Hence the isolation. If the virus happens to be on the outside of our body it will not survive being washed. Vigorous scrubbing with regular soap will eradicate it from the outside of your body as it dismantles the structure of the agent. If, however, the virus has found its way inside the body, the job of fighting it and protecting your health is down to the immune system. This is what you have to rely on upon infection, this is your defence. Virologists say that this is done in two ways; one, the body will attempt to directly attack the virus and prevent it from entering cells, and therefore spreading. And two, the body can track down infected cells and target those. Killing our own cells within our body is not a positive thing as it can be damaging to our health, but it is necessary if the virus is to be stopped.
So if the virus has been contracted, the body is essentially now in battle with it; the body has recognised a threat and its primary goal is to eradicate it as quickly and efficiently as possible. The more effective your immune system, the better equipped you are to fight the virus. It is during, and because of, this internal battle that we begin to see problems develop such as fever or coughing for example. This is a direct result of the turmoil occurring within us and presents as symptoms of the virus in question. Most healthy people will be able to combat such a virus, but as we are hearing more and more, those with an underlying illness or a compromised immune system will find it far more difficult and here is where the loss of life is occurring; when the body isn’t capable of fighting and winning more than one battle.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include; low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.
Severe symptoms of COVID-19 include; high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, which often indicates pneumonia.
Why is it happening?
We are currently experiencing what is known as a pandemic; a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region; in this case worldwide. Coronaviruses are not a new thing; COVID-19, which is short for Corona Virus Disease 2019, is the name given by the World Health Organisation in order to identify this particular strain. Coronaviruses are in actual fact an extremely common cause of colds and respiratory infections. Due to this being a new version of a coronavirus we are unsure of how long the incubation period, or time it takes from exposure to showing symptoms, is but on average the time taken is around five days. However in some cases it has taken as long as thirteen days.
We are passing it from person to person (during close contact) via the air in the form of droplets. The virus can also be picked up from surfaces and enter in through the nose or mouth should you touch your face after coming into contact with it.
Children, while not immune to the virus, will generally only suffer mild symptoms (similar to a common cold or flu), if any, unless they have an underlying medical issue which may compromise their immune system and prevent them from being able to ward it off.
Those at higher risk are as follows:
Older people, especially those with underlying medical problems like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
Anybody of any age with any of the following;
- blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease, or taking blood thinners
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis
- any condition or treatment that weakens the immune response (cancer, cancer treatment, organ or bone marrow transplant, immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS)
- current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks
- inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders
- heart disease, including coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, and heart failure
- lung disease, including asthma, COPD (chronic bronchitis or emphysema)
- neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.
*cited from Harvard Medical School.
What can we do?
Our main goal right now is to slow down and prevent the spread of COVID-19, so the best thing we can do is to first of all keep human interaction at a minimum. This is why we are all being recommended to self-quarantine or self-isolate within our homes.
Stay healthy; this is by far the most important thing we can do for ourselves. Keeping your diet healthy, your mind strong, your emotions balanced, daily exercising, keeping hydrated, sleeping well, not smoking, drinking heavily or overeating, all contribute to a healthy, strong immune system (see our previous blog on “Immune boosting tips to stay healthy and strong…”).
We must keep ourselves and our homes clean at all times, regular washing with soap will prevent the virus from entering our systems should we have come into contact with it. If you do have to venture out of the house try to keep a two metre minimum distance between you and anyone else and wash thoroughly after you return. How long the virus can survive outside the body is currently unknown but studies are showing that it could be present on surfaces from anywhere between 3-72 hours. Other studies show that, if this is similar to other human coronaviruses, it can stay on surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic, for as long as nine days. We really do not know for sure and so must keep everything as clean as possible at all times.
Wearing the right kind of mask while out in public will help prevent both passing on the virus or contracting it. If you are wearing a surgical face mask, such as doctors wear during surgery, this will only be effective in protecting others from receiving your germs, not the other way around. The N95 respirator (tight fitting) masks will protect you from breathing in droplets in the air and therefore are far more effective in preventing the contraction or spread of this virus.
Stock up on essentials for the home; NOT because stores are going to run out but to limit the number of times you expose yourself to the public. Dried, jarred, canned, long life, and frozen foods, detergents, cleaning products, (dare I mention it) toilet rolls, medication, entertainment, and any other things you can think of that you use daily, are worth having a back up of so that you don’t need to keep heading out to the shop unnecessarily.
Read your newspaper online, order some books on your kindle, call your friends and family daily, and reduce your general contact with the outside world!
This is all worrying and difficult, to say the least, but we are all working towards a common goal so try to keep healthy, safe, balanced and level-headed, and know that this too shall pass.
Distance learning diploma courses in holistic health therapies
Why not spend the time you have at home to learn a new skill? No need to travel anywhere, all our studying can be done online and there are no deadlines to our courses, so no need to worry if you can’t find the time. Our courses don’t expire either, so a course you never managed to finish will still be valid in years to come! Get into the health industry – it’s one business that will always be booming.