We have collectively shared one of the most shocking and surprising years any of us has ever lived through. The cute phrase for this on Twitter, should you visit there, is “I sure didn’t have THIS on my Bingo Card for 2020, did you?” After a certain point we have all developed a thicker skin for surprise, but I hope we have all kept a thin skin for awareness, caution and empathy.
Let's Keep Awareness of the facts of the virus well-circulated in medical circles and droning on in the nightly news. In my mind the most salient points are:
- Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic contagion are possible.
- Although “pre-existing conditions” make some of us more vulnerable, even the young, sturdy and healthy cannot be assured of resilience to this virus.
- Pre-existing conditions include age, obesity (waist at your belly button greater than half your height), cardiovascular disease and truly any chronic medical condition.
- I consider it a fact that distancing and mask-wearing both help reduce viral spread. If we disagree, good luck to you.
Keeping a Smart Level of Caution means both avoiding the virus and supporting the efforts of others to do the same. It means wearing a mask, resisting a normal comfort with brushing up against someone else in line, standing at a heretofore strange distance while you chat with someone you’re happy to see.
Caution, part two: caution also means being as ready as you can be if you are exposed, and I’ll get to that in a minute.
Guarding our Empathy which is most needed by those who have succumbed to the illness or whose family members have and by the innumerable and unnamed front-line workers, including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, housecleaners, nursing assistants, and all those who do their best to provide health care to those who need it. Empathy as well for the mail carriers, grocery store workers and all those whose labor is essential to the well-being of all of us.
Caution Part Two
In a normal flu season, I would encourage you to cough into your arm, avoid close contact with those who are ill, and to be ready to treat yourself with supportive treatment at home should you get sick. I would start all of these measures if I were starting to get sick with any respiratory or febrile illness.
- Take all sugar out of your diet until you are well, as it inhibits the effectiveness of your immune system.
- Have a liquid form of vitamin D3 and give yourself the “Vitamin D Hammer,” which is 10,000 i.u. of vitamin D3 three times a day for three days. (High dose vitamin D is almost always entirely safe for three days; those at high risk for calcium-type kidney stones I would counsel differently.)
- Zinc as zinc monomethionine 30 mg daily (Douglas Labs Opti-Zinc-30 is good). Zinc lozenges are great to help a sore throat, but not good for systemic zinc absorption to benefit the immune system.
- Rest and try not to spread illness to others.
In this new coronavirus-containing world, I have an additional set of precautions that I keep on hand for myself.
Know when it's urgent. The first is to know that I would seek immediate and emergency medical care if I experienced any of the following:
- Oxygen saturation (handy pulse oximeters available at most drug stores) under 90%
- Shortness of breath with normal exertion
But before that, just as consistently as I wear my mask, I also pro-actively make sure I have a decent level of vitamin D, likely from supplements at our Southern Oregon latitude. I consider a good level 4-60 ng/mL. I would also take melatonin: For those over 40, I generally think it's safe to experiment as you are almost certainly making less than you did earlier in your life. A good dose is somewhere 1-10 mg, maybe it helps you go to sleep, maybe it doesn't, but it definitely does not have you feeling sleepy the next day! For me, that dose is 3-6 mg.
I would treat minor symptoms with self-care at home. Where your grandmother might have offered chicken soup, I would agree, but if she held out an aspirin, that is where I would have to think the world of supplements offers us better choices. So, if and only if I had a positive test or a definite exposure and characteristic symptoms (fever, aches and pains, loss of smell or taste, chest congestion or discomfort), I would start addressing with supplements the main ways in which coronavirus can be particularly hazardous for someone my age. The first three are available through our online store, or from other sites as well.
- I would use a potent anti-inflammatory, the herbal mini-version of the high dose steroids used by physicians in a hospital setting. My fave for this category is Specialized pro-resolving mediators, otherwise known as SPM Supreme by Designs for Health. I would dose myself with two of them, two to three times a day.
- I would also look for an anti-coagulant, again a mini-version of the kinds of drugs needed for those seriously sick. My choice would probably be Pycnogenol, about 100-150 mg twice a day.
- Finally I would take some combo herbal product known to include some of the herbs recognized for their anti-viral effectiveness. I like ViraCon by Vital Ingredients, or OrthoMolecular’s ViraCid. A key ingredient will always be elderberry (pictured above), but might also include andropgraphis, echiniacea, astragalus and other herbs.
- If I was beginning to consider needing stronger medicine, I would reach for some Humavir. We can only make this available through the office for actual patients. Humavir is a special preparation of Humic Acid, long respected for its general anti-viral properties, and Humic Acid in other forms is available in many places.
NONE of these supplements will “cure” coronavirus, but each, and especially all together, will help to support a healthy body’s own innate immune systems, which will always play a part in anyone’s recovery, whether at home or in the hospital.
So please everyone, wear a mask when you go out, stay home as much as you can, keep your distance from anyone outside of your personal tiny circle, and help us all stay safe so we can welcome in a bright and hopefully less surprising 2021.