COVID-19 Info and advice

The current pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The name of the virus and the name of the disease are often different. For instance, HIV causes AIDS and rubeola causes measles. In this case, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The number 19 is merely due to its discovery in 2019. It was named SARS-CoV-2 because it is genetically related to the virus (also a coronavirus) responsible for the 2003 SARS outbreak. The two viruses are related but different.

Coronaviruses (CoV) is a whole family of viruses, not just the one causing the current pandemic. Remember MERS-Cov? Or SARS-CoV? Yeah, same family of viruses. The name is derived from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or wreath. It was named so due to its appearance under an electron microscope.

This family of viruses is zoonotic, which means they are transmitted or transferred, between humans and animals. SARS-CoV-2 was previously unidentified in humans until December 2019. Other than coming out of the Wuhan Province in China, the origin of this particular virus is still unknown, but several theories have been circulated. I won’t get into those here. Several common human coronaviruses (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1) commonly circulate through the world population causing a simple cold.

The disease itself will manifest much like any other respiratory infection. Starting with fever and general aches in mild cases, it can lead to pneumonia and even death, in moderate and severe cases, respectively. Mortality is more likely in individuals over 80 years of age (>20%*) or have other underlying conditions: cardiovascular disease (13%*), diabetes (9%*), chronic respiratory disease (8%*), cancer (7.5%*).1

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.2 The current consensus is that the virus is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. The droplets originate when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can land in the mouth or nasal cavity or be inhaled by people nearby. There are several steps we can take to limit exposure and spread of this virus.

  1. Wash your hands often. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice) is ideal; however, if soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be used. Wash your hands when you arrive at home or work before touching any surfaces.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with those who are sick. Even if you don’t fear for your own safety, think about your loved ones who fall into the category of having other “underlying conditions”. Don’t expose yourself to the virus and put your grandmother at risk. It is also recommended to refrain from shaking hands as a greeting until the outbreak has been contained.
  4. Stay home if you are sick unless seeking medical care. Please refer to your GP’s office, NHS 111 online, or click here for information about this.
  5. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth AND nose when doing either and immediately throw the tissue into the trash…then wash your hands right away. If a tissue is unavailable, use the inside of your elbow as a last resort.
  6. Wear a facemask if you are sick. If you are not sick, wearing the facemask will not fully protect you; however, when the sick wear a mask it can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
  7. Clean and disinfect3 frequently touched surfaces daily (or multiple times per day if in a high traffic area). This means your phone, door handles, sink taps, computer keyboards, etc.

Aside from the above recommendations suggested by the W.H.O., NHS, and UK Government, additional steps can be taken to boost and support your immune system.

  1. Proper sleep. Studies show that most people do not get enough sleep (7-9 hours per night) and that less than 7 hours of sleep per night can increase the likelihood of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and hormonal imbalances leading to fertility issues.
  2. Proper nutrition. Not just getting your 5 A Day but getting a variety of 5 A Day is important. Each vegetable and fruit has a different mixture of nutrients and vitamins. The human body needs more than what a single type of fruit or vegetable can provide.
  3. Drink plenty of water. This does not mean any liquid. Caffeinated beverages actually act as a diuretic, causing dehydration. Water is an essential component of many biochemical pathways and structures within the body.
  4. Get adjusted by a chiropractor. As a chiropractor myself, I would be remiss not to include the fact that studies have shown chiropractic adjustments to support and even boost immune function.4,5,6,7 Everything in the body is controlled, either directly or indirectly, by the central nervous system. The premise of chiropractic is to remove interference in that function and allow the body to work the way it’s supposed to work.

The most important thing to remember is not to panic. This is not some great apocalypse. Keep calm and follow the instructions given by your healthcare providers. You do NOT need to stockpile toilet roll, pasta, or hand sanitizer (and DON’T steal masks from hospitals!). If we work together as a community the healthcare system will be able to help those in need.

1. (World Health Organization (WHO) estimated mortality rates based on a subset of the total reported cases in China by 9 March 2020.
3. Disinfect with a bleach solution (20mL of bleach per 1L of water), alcohol solution (at least 70%), or other strong household disinfectants.
4. Spinal Manipulative Therapy Reduces Inflammatory Cytokines but Not Substance P Production in Normal Subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Jan); 29 (1): 14–21
5. The Effects of Chiropractic on the Immune System: A Review of the Literature. Chiropractic Journal of Australia 1993 (Dec); 23 (4): 132–135
6. Enhanced Neutrophil Respiratory Burst as a Biological Marker for Manipulation Forces: Duration of the Effect and Association with Substance P and Tumor Necrosis Factor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992 (Feb); 15 (2): 83–89
7. Enhanced Phagocytic Cell Respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation: Potential Role of Substance P. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991 (Sep); 14 (7): 399–408