Understanding COVID-19

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Health

What is a virus?

A virus is not a living organism, but rather a collection of proteins and lipids encasing genetic material, much like our genetic proteins. Viruses replicate and require a living host to do so. Viruses use the metabolic energy produced in the cell, along with the organelles to recreate itself. In doing so, the virus depletes the cell of energy that normally would be used for the host, one the reasons why a viral infection results in fatigue. While the full understanding of viral evolution is not yet known, viruses do not co-exist synergistically with its hosts and elicit an immune response such as fevers. Fevers can be effective to denature the genetic material of the virus from exposure to the high temperatures that our bodies generate, thus stopping the virus from doing further damage, replicating and spreading. Some viruses do not elicit fevers but other symptoms such as ongoing infections, inflammation, coughing and sneezing, increasing infectivity.

Why is this virus so dangerous?

The full name for Coronavirus disease 2019 is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The infectivity rates are high and while healthy individuals can recover, many people exposed with underlying conditions may not be able to do so, resulting in a need for medical care and intervention, and as it has been shown, death.

Why is it such a high risk?

A vaccine, meaning that the virus has been isolated and brought to a stage where the body can identify it as a threat and easily build an immune response against it, has not yet been developed. The government has clearly illustrated what needs to be done to help prevent the spread of this virus; common practices like washing hands, using anti-bacterial products, reducing travel, self-isolating if sick, wearing a facemask if you are coughing, limiting your exposure to groups and large events. Influenza and other viruses may not be preventable thus leading to feeling powerless over the virus itself and following public safety protocols may not feel enjoyable but being sick certainly isn’t any better. Thankfully, the high numbers of recovering and recovered people are proof of antibody production and a good sign for the future. Respecting the guidelines and maintaining self-care can help minimize the risk.

Naturopathic products and supplements, a contradiction?

Staying informed is the key. Respecting and adhering to public safety measures is crucial. Using natural products can supplement good health practices but does not replace precautionary measures. For example, using antibacterial soaps, sprays and hand gels protects us from environmental contact that we may have; knowing that bacteria are essential to life and that we benefit from a healthy microbiota, it makes sense to support our intestines with probiotics. Foods that have been fermented can be a great source of probiotics, and capsules with specific strains are an excellent choice to take daily.

Silver hydrosols are colloids that do not create sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Using it as a nasal or as a mouth rinse, suspended silver solutions act as a gentle tasteless cleanser that can be used to help keep clean toys, home gym equipment, and any other fomite.

Zinc is a mineral that our bodies need for optimal immune function. Zinc works best in our bodies on a regular basis with small doses. Too much zinc does not help, so avoid large doses. Avoid taking zinc if you have developed a fever. Zinc can help lower a fever, but do recall that having a fever is a healthy response to infections.

Vitamin C and other antioxidants are valuable nutrients to focus on.

Herbal preparations need not be fancy. Soups, casseroles, rice, drinks, and all meals can benefit from herbal additions such as spices and seasonings. Aside from adding incredible flavour, herbs are phenomenally rich in compounds that the body can use. Standardized and professionally prepared tinctures, such as goldenseal, thyme, oregano, licorice, mullen, coltsfoots, and so many others.  Our bodies respond remarkably well to herbal care and it makes sense. These plants are healing foods.

Typically those wanting to build their immune system can look to ensuring proper rest, hydration, moderate exercise and eating well are at the base of a self-care routine.

What to do for those with an already compromised immune system?

Be respectful of others. Stay home if you are not feeling well. Do wash your hands for 20 seconds, paying attention to the process. Practice mindfulness -this means allowing for less judgment and fear; kindness, compassion, and equanimity are critical life skills. Listen to the facts and trust your common sense.

In this, by caring and taking care, we act in unity. Take time to reach out to others. It can feel confusing to step back, but in this, we are all together. And most of all, keep being YOU because you are awesome!

Nicole Reilkoff ND

Nicole Reilkoff ND

Nicole Reilkoff certified Naturopath and reflexologist, offers her professional bilingual, services from the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex situated in Montréal.




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