A Naturopathic Perspective
BY DR. TONYA FLECK AND DR. JESSICA BERNARDY
Many patients and friends have been asking what we as naturopathic doctors suggest for protecting ourselves and our families against this potential threat. There are thousands of studies on the effective use of natural agents for antiviral properties, yet nothing is being said in the news about them. People are dying and public health officials and conventional medicine still resists acknowledging these agents in preventing and treating viruses and other illnesses.
At the Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center, we have heard statements in regards to the coronavirus, such as “There’s nothing we can do to protect ourselves — there’s no vaccine.” This statement is disheartening to us. In naturopathic medicine, we have many tools to prevent and treat illness. While it is true that there isn’t a vaccine, there are many things we can to do to keep ourselves healthy and treat viral infections naturally.
Prevention, as always, is the best way to address illness. The best prevention is to have a healthy and robust immune system.
What It Is
Coronavirus, aka. Wuhan virus (scientific classification SARA-CoV-2 causing CoVID-19) is a new virus never before seen in humans. It originated in the Wuhan province of China in December 2019 from a yet-to-be determined animal vector. Unfortunately, due to lack of quick government response and no quarantine of sick individuals in that area, it spread beyond the region. We are in the first wave of the illness and will likely see another wave later this year.
As you know, we are seeing more and more cases every day in our county, our state and countrywide. As for global numbers, they have been as of this writing misreported and we are still waiting to get true numbers out of many countries that saw the virus earlier than the US. We don’t know the true fatality rate but it’s estimated to be 0.2% – 1%. The death rate for the average flu virus that we see each year is approximately .1%. That means that if the actual death rate from this virus is 1%, that’s 10x greater.
The illness appears similar to the flu or the common cold. You may start to experience symptoms 2-14 days after exposure. It causes no or mild symptoms in most individuals exposed. The most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable population is in the elderly, where we are seeing the highest death rates.
What You Can Do
Important ways you can protect yourself:
- Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water – count to 25. Soap works better than hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible! The virus is spread through respiratory droplets and it is estimated that if you’re within six feet of an individual, you’re at higher risk. If you’re near anyone with flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), move away quickly and go immediately to wash your hands.If you do have a cough, only cough into your elbow or into a tissue.
- Cook with spices/foods that have antiviral and immune-boosting activity such as garlic, ginger, thyme, oregano, honey, bone broth and medicinal mushrooms.
- Avoid refined sugar – this lowers your immune system!
- Stay well hydrated and if you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier in your bedroom at night. The virus doesn’t replicate as well in heat and humidity.
- STAY HOME if you’re sick and rest, rest, rest, talk to your SCNMC doctor and follow the below recommendations .
- Keep stress to a minimum – stress lowers your immune system!
- Get good quality sleep and spend time in nature, both ways to boost your immunity.
Natural Immune Support
- Probiotic: 50-100 billion CFUs per capsule, taken before bed
- Vitamin C: 4000-5000 mg daily
- Elderberry syrup: 1 TBLS daily
- Garlic extract: 1-2 capsules daily or if you’re willing, eat 1 raw clove daily
- Quercetin: 1500mg daily
- Vitamin A: 10,000 – 50,000iu daily
- Vitamin D: 5,000iu daily
- Immune support tinctures that contain herbs such as echinacea and goldenseal.
Remember, stay calm. The CDC estimates that 56,000 people die yearly of the flu or a flu-related illness. So far, the Coronavirus death count is less than 4,000 people. Thankfully, the flu season is going to be coming to an end soon. Be smart and use the tools listed above.
Our Office Can Provide Assistance
We offer comprehensive naturopathic care and are offering telemedicine visits during the shelter in place.
We also have high quality supplements and herbs available if needed. Please feel free to call us if we can support you in anyway.
Dr. Tonya Fleck holds a doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine. She is the owner & medical director of SCNMC. She has been practicing medicine in Santa Cruz for over 15 years. Dr. Bernardy also holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. She is fiercely committed to guiding people looking for true health, disease prevention, and living a life free from illness. Together we are committed to powerfully supporting our community in optimal health and vitality.