There’s a lot of buzz out there right now about the coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s finally reached the level of a pandemic (which simply means “an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads easily from person to person across the globe” not necessarily that it’s deadly; you may remember that the World Health Organization declared a flu pandemic in 2009) and is spreading with more and more cases being reported in the United States. Add to that the fact that it’s still cold & flu season and it’s a fabulous idea to both boost your immune system and do what you can to avoid illness. Today we’ll give you the facts about the coronavirus, the difference between a cold and a virus, plus tips for boosting your immune system and staying healthy!
Coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses. They can cause anything from the common cold to something like SARS. COVID-19 is simply a new (or novel) coronavirus, meaning a new strain that hasn’t been identified in humans previously. Essentially COVID-19 is a respiratory illness whose symptoms include fever, tiredness, dry cough, aches & pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or runny nose. Symptoms are usually mild and many people who are infected never experience any symptoms at all. The people who have died from this illness are typically either older or have underlying health issues such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
According to CDC estimates, there are approximately 30 million cases of the flu per year. Plus, American adults experience 2-3 colds a year. Yikes! But what exactly is the difference between a cold and the flu?
A cold is an acute, self-limiting viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. They can be caused by more than 200 different viruses (including coronaviruses). Because there are so many different viruses that can cause colds, it makes it harder for the body to build up a resistance to them – which is why there’s no “cure” for the common cold. Meanwhile, the flu is a contagious viral respiratory infection causing mild to severe illness. There are only 4 influenza viruses.
Both the cold and the flu are spread via virus-laden airborne droplets when infected people cough or sneeze (so always cover your mouth and nose!). Both can also be picked up by touching an object an infected person has touched (although it’s rarer with the flu) and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
When you feel a cold or flu coming on, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like most people you reach for OTC meds like decongestants, ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Evidence shows, however, that all you’re doing when you do this is suppressing symptoms, not shortening the duration of the illness. And many of these meds come with side effects you don’t want to deal with as they can hurt your heart, gut and immune system!
If you’re not reaching for the OTC meds, then maybe you’re headed to the doctor where you’ll receive antibiotics. Newsflash: Antibiotics are useless against viral infections – they’re intended for bacterial infections. Yet, a surprising amount of doctors still prescribe them for colds and flu. That means that antibiotics are useless against COVID-19 as well.
Okay, fine, you may be saying. If OTC meds and antibiotics are useless, then what should I be doing to prevent infection? Let’s start with the basics.
But there are even more things you can do to maintain good health during cold and flu season!
There are a host of ways that you can boost your immune system naturally or help speed up recovery from colds and flus naturally. The best part? They’re all easy to incorporate into your lifestyle!
While the coronavirus may seem scary right now and colds + the flu may seem abundant, there’s actually a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy. If you want to learn even more tips for staying well right now, reach out to me and I can help. Or try our Immune Kit – with its specific combination of immune-boosting ingredients —The Immune Kit: Vitamin C, D & Wellmune, in Isotonic form, will not only provide maximum absorption but will also prime the natural immune response.