People who contract the virus present with a varying range of symptoms and WHO have now extended to list to include:
Fever (98% of people)
Fatigue (44% of people)
Shortness of breath
Dry cough (75% of people)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome
Loss of taste and smell
conjunctivitis seems to be a sign in otherwise asymptomatic children.
Most hospital admissions seem to happen around a week after symptoms have begun, meaning there is a time frame in which supporting your own immune response can prevent complications.
Understanding our immune systems: Our immune systems can be seen as 4 rings of protection;
The first layer is barrier defences like skin, stomach acid and gut bacteria and this is an instant response to infection and results in little or no symptoms.
The second layer is innate immunity with non-specific white blood cells, and inflammatory cells, this can take up to 4 hours to respond to infection and 20-60% of people will experience no symptoms as the immune system deals with the infection.
The next stage is fever and inflammation and the ability to produce this in short bursts is a good sign of a healthy immune system, this can take 4 hours to 4 days to kick into action and is often accompanied by aches, cough, nausea and fatigue, which is a sign the body is fighting the infection.
The final layer is adaptive and acquired immunity and where antibodies come into play, this is much more complex and if there is an overreaction of this level then organ damage and even failure can occur. This response takes days to weeks and kicks in if the previous layers haven’t dealt with the infection, this is where shortness of breath, more fever, and risk of pneumonia occurs, with a longer time to recover.
80% of people who have the virus will have mild or moderate symptoms and mostly engage the three outer defensive rings, to reduce the odds of being among the 8-15% who have a severe or critical infection addressing any pre-existing conditions with lifestyle, diet and sometimes supplements can really make a difference.
Patients requiring hospital care predominantly have pre-existing conditions, with high blood pressure the biggest risk, followed by diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, COPD or asthma, liver cirrhosis and then cancer.
We now understand that the virus is not a respiratory virus in the traditional sense, but exerts an effect on certain receptors (ACE2) which are present in the lungs, but also heart, kidneys and fat cells which is why obesity is also a risk factor.
The virus seems to promote blood coagulation, and severe acute respiratory syndrome occurs as tiny blood clots form in the lungs preventing oxygen from circulating.
Therefore promoting and maintaining the health of your blood vessels to prevent vascular complications seems like a sensible strategy to adopt.
How to support microcirculation through diet: Daily Sunshine or Vitamin D supplement Eat the rainbow Vegetables – especially greens, roots like beetroot, carrot, parsnip, and onions, garlic Fruits – especially coloured fruits, tomatoes, berries, red grapes Cereals and grains Nuts and seeds Include plenty of spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon which have been shown to have positive benefits for blood vessel health, even when combined with fatty foods. A number of these spices have also been shown to help reduce blood pressure. They also help gut immunity and microbiome defences. Eat berries daily 100g (1 cup full) Dark chocolate 70% or higher 20g a day Garlic 1-2 cloves a day (crush and leave to oxidise for 10 minutes) Beetroots – juice daily or take a supplement Green tea or hibiscus tea 2 or more cups a day
If you have high blood pressure include these additional steps: Increase fibre and include 30g (1 tablespoon) of freshly ground flaxseed (linseed) daily.
Reduce salt and increase potassium by eating one banana and or 2 sticks of celery daily (this can be juiced).
As well as supporting vascular health these steps also support your innate immunity (echinacea, elderberry, vitamin C) ensuring you can deal swiftly with this or any other cold or flu virus you may encounter. You could also consider eating plenty of mushrooms or taking a medicinal mushroom formula. The beta glucans in mushrooms may be able to “train” the innate immune response to deal with the viral infection quickly and effectively before it becomes severe. There are many supplements that can be taken to target specific symptoms and aid recovery, and also support you with the stress and anxiety the pandemic has brought with it. If you have any questions and would like additional or more specific support for Covid-19 or any other concerns please email me to book a session.