Published March 10, 2020
CoronaVirus continues to be top of mind for many of us. Technically named SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, this disease was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on March 11 and has spread to over 100 countries. A vaccine is 18-months away according to the World Health Organisation.
Fortunately, in most cases, coronavirus is a mild illness creating cough, fever and fatigue, symptoms that are very similar to flu.
However, for around 20% of people (World Health Organisation estimate), coronavirus is severe, causing pneumonia or lung problems requiring hospitalisation. Although data is in flux, the fatality rate has been approximated at 2%.
Given similarities between initial symptoms of CoronaVirus and Flu, here is some important information that you should know.
Is Corona Virus similar to Flu?
No. Each coronavirus is a unique viral infection. The antivirals that Doctors can prescribe for flu don’t have any effect on them.
How can you tell the difference between Corona Virus and Flu?
Initial symptoms can be similar: coughing, fever and difficulty breathing.
However, flu may also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and runny nose. Coronavirus does not.
SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 targets the lower respiratory tract (lungs). One way this coronavirus can be diagnosed is via visible lung changes on X-ray such as pneumonia and pulmonary edema. According to the World Health Organisation, around 80% of people recover without needing any treatment.
How does it spread?
Transmission occurs from inhalation of droplets (salvia) from an infected person when they sneeze or cough and you breathe it in.
The World Health Organisation says to keep a distance of at least 1.5m from an infected person.
Can you catch SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 from an infected surface or object?
However it is possible that you could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object with droplets containing the virus, and then touching your eyes, mouth or nose.
If you think a surface could be infected, then use a household disinfectant to kill the virus. It is not currently known how long the virus can survive on a surface (a few hours to several days). It would depend upon conditions such as type of surface, the temperature of the environment, the humidity and so forth).
Studies show that prior coronaviruses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus can persist on metal, glass or plastic surfaces for up to 9-days and can be destroyed by surface disinfectants including soap and diluted bleach.
Who is most at risk?
Older people and people who are immune-compromised or have a pre-existing medical condition (like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes) are more likely to be severely ill with the virus.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention (call in advance so that your doctor can prepare to receive you and minimise the risk of spreading the virus).
Protection Measures for Everyone
The World Health Organisation recommends people of all ages to follow simple hygiene practices.
- Avoid being coughed or sneezed on. Keep a 1-to-2meter distance between you and obviously sick people.
- Minimise touching your face, mouth, and nose with your hands. Typically we touch our face 80 times a day! So this isn’t easy. Make this into a game to help you remember.
- Wash your hands for 20-seconds before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and after going to the bathroom. Sing a song to help you wash your hands for longer.
- If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (throw it away immediately and wash your hands to help avoid spreading any cold, flu etc that you may have.
- If you or a loved one becomes sick, call ahead before going to Doctor so they can best support you when you arrive and minimise the spread of infection.
- [ed March 16] the Australia government has called for social distancing. That includes avoiding handshaking and kissing, reducing outings, and regularly disinfecting high touch surfaces such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs.
5 Ways to Boost your Immune System
Viral infections of any kind are more likely to affect people who have a weakened immune system including the elderly and anyone who is already immune-compromised.
With a resilient immune system, you are less likely to catch an infection or, if you do get one, it will be less severe and resolve more quickly.
Here are 5 things you can do today to optimise your immune system.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep at least 7 hours a night to keep your immune system happy. Having disturbed sleep or not enough sleep can lead to chronic, systemic low-grade inflammation that is associated with various diseases (like diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurodegeneration). If you do feel sick, having more sleep can help you speed recovery. So listen to your body and rest if you need it.
2. Stress Management
Chronic ongoing stress can interfere with the body’s ability to fight off infection, especially in adults. Don’t overstress or worry. Exposure to illness doesn’t mean you will become ill. Your immune system is already designed to protect you. Sensible precautions will help.
3. Reduce Inflammation with Earthing
Earthing can support the body to heal, according to one double-blind study vaccine response was accelerated with earthing overnight. Studies show that earthing can assist in sleep duration and quality, as well as lower the stress hormone cortisol. See summaries of these studies and more on our earthing research page.
As a side note, earthing can also provide localised relief from pain and discomfort. The earthing institute recently recommended placing your earthing product over your chest to minimise lung and respiratory distress. You can use any earthing product for this including your existing ones. Fold your Better Earthing Wrap or Pad around your chest or tuck it down your top. You may find that lying on earthing underlay may give relief too.
4. Wipe your hands with Silver Hand Cloth
Silver is virucidal and antibacterial. It kills viruses and bacteria. You can use it to wipe your hands and kill germs that you come in contact with.
Repurpose your silver earthing wrap as a hand wipe or purchasing one of our reusable silver hand cloths.
Note if your hands are visibly dirty then use regular soap and water to get rid of grime as well as possible germs. Wiping with a silver cloth will kill the germs on top of the dirt, but not remove the dirt.
5. Adopt Sensible Lifestyle Practices
Washing your hands more frequently, having a nightly shower, changing your clothes when you get home, wiping down regularly touched objects with household cleaner. These are just a few simple practical things you can do to minimise contact with viruses and bacteria. Plus it will likely make you (and your surroundings) feel fresh, clean and sparkly.
World Health Organisation – Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
Here’s why the WHO says a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months away
Coronavirus vs flu: how do they compare?
CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Prevention & Treatment
Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China