As the frantic news media whips us all into a frenzy over the corona virus (CoVID19) epidemic, there is some selective deafness that is causing a few things to be overlooked as far as what you can do to further protect yourself from the virus.  First of all, it should be pointed out that according to Ontario Public Health, although it is quite a contagious virus, its transmission rates are relatively low compared to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome).  

In addition, as of February 19th, of the 75,204 cases of infection, 2006 people have died.  This gives it a mortality rate (the percent of the people who die from it) of approximately 0.3% which is not so different to regular yearly flu viruses.

The incubation period (or time of exposure to time of onset of symptoms) is approximately 5 days, which means that a 14-day quarantine is prudent.

Standard measures of avoiding crowds or touching one’s face, frequent hand-washing, avoiding non-essential overseas travel and alcohol hand sanitizers are also good ideas. The season is also important to consider as airborne viral transmission is often dependent on relative humidity (the air is dryer in autumn, winter & spring) and UV index. This is why there is much less transmission of viruses in summer.

However, that is where the ideas seem to stop.  One measure that has been used in the past and is being deployed in China and Japan presently is the use of intravenous Vitamin C in hospitalized patients and oral supplementation for everyone else.  In fact, a clinical trial has been started at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China, where 24,000 mg of vitamin C will be administered to coronavirus patients, intravenously, each day for 7 days. 

In high doses such as these, Vitamin C’s antiviral and immune system modulating actions are present.  Yet, even taking 3000mg orally in divided doses helps to prevent pneumonia from resulting.

As far as Acupuncture and Chinese medicine goes, these therapies are best employed to either strengthen the immune system before cold and flu season, and dealing with the sequelae such as the bronchial irritation and reactive coughs that linger after the active infection has passed.  When you have a toolbox, it is important to remember to use all the tools at your disposal, not merely the hammers.  Or to use a seafaring parlance, all hands on deck!

 

References:

Gaby., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., Ch 22, p. 99-108., ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/what-we-know-feb-26-2020.pdf?la=en

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/what-we-know-risks-feb-21-2020.pdf?la=en

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_home_community_care_guidance.pdf

Hunt C et al. (1994), Even small supplemental amounts of vitamin C can keep severely ill patients from dying. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1994;64:212-19.

Ren Shiguang et al., (1978), Infants with viral pneumonia treated with vitamin C had reduced mortality. Hebei Medicine 1978,4:1-3

Hemilä H, Chalker E., (2019), Moderate doses of vitamin C shortened ICU stay by 97% in a subgroup of 1,766 patients Nutrients. 2019 Mar 27;11:4.

Khan IM et al., (2014),  200 mg of vitamin C reduced duration of severe pneumonia in children. Oxygen saturation was improved in less than one day. J Rawalpindi Med Coll (JRMC); 2014;18(1):55-57

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

Chattopadhyay I. et al., Conjunction of factors triggering waves of seasonal influenza., Elife. 2018 Feb 27;7. pii: e30756. doi: 10.7554/eLife.30756.

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