Monday, February 24, 2020

We are all likely to catch the China Flu, but that doesn't mean we are helpless

    The Coronavirus is coming. In fact, it’s likely already here. It’s a new virus against which no one has immunity, so most of us are going to get it at some point.
The 1918 Spanish Flu had a high mortality rate among those who had the strongest immune systems. The Spanish Flu triggered an immune response so strong, resulting in a massive cytokine storm, that it resulted in fatal organ damage. Those who were the most healthy tended to produce the most robust cytokine storm. The Wuhan Coronavirus seems to trigger the same type of extreme immune response.
    I read somewhere the hopeful comment that only 20 percent of those who come down with the Coronavirus will need to be hospitalized. I’ve also read that almost everyone is going to get this at some point. So, if the United States has 350 million people, that means we are only going to need 70 million hospital beds. At present we have about a million, so as a nation we are a little short.
    Lest I get too far into gloom and doom, it bears noticing that viruses tend to become less lethal over time, because they are more easily spread by people who are up and walking around, so the less-lethal mutations are the ones that gets most widely spread. In addition, there is a general belief that the Coronavirus will become far less prevalent once warm weather arrives. So if we can just hang on for a few weeks without this thing exploding things might work out, at least for this year.
    There are some things that people can do to keep from getting sick, or to make sure that when they do get sick, the virus won’t be fatal. So take your fate into your own hands!

Fill up the pantry.

    I’ve long been an advocate of having enough food on hand to last a month or two. I don’t think the Coronavirus is going to cause store shelves to not be replenished, but it could happen. Far more likely is that there may be a few days or even a few weeks when caution requires one to just stay at home
    This need not be expensive; just buy things you normally eat. Beans, rice, and pasta are cheap, and it’s easy to throw a few week’s worth of hamburger meat in the freezer. Just do it!

Lower your cholesterol!

    I know a lot of people who have been prescribed statins who have quit taking them because they had unwanted side effects, usually muscle soreness. I wrote a while back that the key is to simply reduce the dose, as even a small dose of a statin can substantially reduce cholesterol. If you have access to statins, now is the time to take them.
    In addition to reducing cholesterol, statins are powerful anti-inflammatories. So they not only reduce cholesterol, but also protect the major organs. Should there be a cytokine storm, those taking statins will have far less damage and thus be more likely to survive. One study found that people on statins were half as likely to die from flu complications than those who weren’t.
    Lowering cholesterol has another benefit. Many viruses apparently require cholesterol to replicate, so the lower one’s cholesterol the lower the chance of contracting a virus. And for those who do get sick, those who have low cholesterol present a poor environment for viral replication.
    If your cholesterol is high, now is the time to treat it. For those with low cholesterol, I recommend starting a statin at the onset of cold symptoms, although that decision should ultimately be made by one’s doctor, with a little prodding from the patient.

Take your vitamins

    Most vitamins seem to play a role in combating both viral and bacterial infections, with Vitamins C and D taking center stage. There is no need to take mega-doses of these vitamins while well, in fact it can be counter-productive. But at the first sign of symptoms of any virus one should increase one’s vitamin doses, particularly of Vitamin C.
    Make no mistake, Vitamin C is both an antiviral and an anti-inflammatory. While well, doses as low as 100 mg per day may be plenty, but viral loads deplete Vitamin C at an amazing rate. At the onset of illness I intend to increase my Vitamin C consumption to 4,000 mg spread throughout the day. Such levels are not healthy long-term but are no problem if taken for a few days. I’m not sure whether one should increase Vitamin D intake after coming down with a virus. Vitamin D seems to be more important in preventing the original illness, but it can't hurt to bump up intake a little bit.

Be aware of off-label anti-virals

    I take a drug called propranolol for essential tremor; it also treats high blood pressure, so two birds with one stone. Apparently propranolol also functions as a fairly effective antiviral. So if you have a tremor – most people don’t – or if you have high blood pressure – most people do – ask your doctor for a propranolol prescription.
    Several years ago I blogged about a study which found that estrogen modulators such as Clomid were effective against the ebola virus. I don’t know why Clomid makes it hard for viruses to reproduce, but there it is. Clomid induces ovulation in women but increases testosterone levels in men and is prescribed accordingly. I don’t have any, but if I were to come down with a serious virus I sure wish I would.

Stop touching people

    For the next couple of months, be a germophobe. Avoid shaking hands with people. Avoid bars. Exercise reasonable caution in avoiding crowds. Wash your hands and try not to touch your face or eyes. Churches definitely need to stop this nonsense of forcing congregants to rush around and glad-hand each other during the middle of the service. It’s highly dangerous, and as a religious practice it’s now no different from snake handling. It just needs to stop!

Anything else?

    I currently use an ozone generator to repel pests and sanitize my home. This should only happen while you are away, as the ozone can damage your lungs. But in addition to repelling pests, ozone kills mold and viruses. I can’t say for certain if it really kills viruses, but it can’t hurt. By the way, don’t buy a puny ozone generator. But one that will really belch out the ozone, 10,000 somethin-somethins an hour.

Love one another

    Finally, if you are sick, stay home. Wear a mask if you have to go out. Don’t get other people sick. And should this thing get out of hand, try to keep yourself posted as to the well-being of your friends and family. We may reach a point where a lot of people will need help. Be careful, but help!