Coronavirus....Here we go again

When I first started writing and filming informational videos on my YouTube channel, Doc J Zimmerman back in March about the coronavirus, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be still writing about this topic in December.  I was optimistic that by the summer season, the viral spread would have been contained and our immune systems would have adapted to micro exposures in the air and beat back this virus so that life could return to normal.  But here it is December 2020 and cases are on the rise and spread is continuing.  And since the election for President of the United States is over, the media can spend almost 100% of its time reporting on case increases, hospitalizations and death rate.  While knowing that the virus is still here and causing damage is important, the stress and anxiety that comes with the missile like focus and barrage of the news can itself negatively affect our health and wellbeing. 

 

The constant worry about what’s out there and will I catch this or spread it to others combined with the isolation that a lot of Americans feel from not being able to see family or socialize with friends is enough to cause stress related illnesses as well as depression and other mental health problems.  Fear and worry creates physiological responses in the body that lead to ill health. So, in the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s opening lines of his inauguration speech of 1932, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,”  I will attempt to empower us with helpful information and proactive steps to ease the fear and worry over this winter’s coronavirus uptake.

 

My feelings on the virus have changed since early spring.  I once thought that covid-19 would dissipate over time and the virus would be a thing of the past. Now I have come to accept that this virus, just like the flu will be with us year after year.  I think it’s a fact that we have to accept.  And once we accept it, we will be able to deal with it much better.  There are many similarities between the flu virus and the coronavirus.  If you are in the elderly category and are unhealthy with pre-existing conditions, the flu virus is a very serious illness and very deadly.  On an average year, the flu virus will kill over 30,000 people by either causing pneumonia or weakening the body to succumb to preexisting diseases like congestive heart failure, mid to end stage cancer, respiratory diseases and even obesity.  This is exactly how the coronavirus acts.  The same pattern.  Yes, the coronavirus has killed people who do not fit in the above mentioned categories like healthy, younger adults.  But so does the flu. We don’t know why and its statistically rare, but it happens.  One of my best friends, an extremely healthy bodybuilder with no pre-existing conditions, caught the flu at age 34, developed pneumonia and died.

 

The elephant in the room are statistics.  The covid-19 cases are on the rise.  But that number is not the number to be concerned about for many different reasons.  Increased testing compared to the early spring is one reason.  Also false positives on testing is another. False positives exist in most diagnostic lab tests that have been around for a very long time, think of the common pap smear for one.  Covid-19 testing is extremely new technology, so there will be a degree of false readings on either side.  The other issue is the detection of the virus in asymptomatic people.  A new study is finding that asymptomatic infected people have a very low viral load and a very short duration of viral shedding, which decreases the rate of viral transmission.  A very large number of people testing positive for covid-19 are asymptomatic.  They have no sickness symptoms.  The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test used to detect covid-19 is picking up inactive viral particles, meaning that asymptomatic people may not be a source for spreading this virus.  Case in point, I have patient who donated blood and his lab report came back that he had developed antibodies for the covid-19 virus, meaning he had contracted it.  The patient was never sick and completely asymptomatic.  More importantly, the patient did not give this virus to his family, friends and coworkers with whom he was in close contact with.

 

The statistics to pay attention to are the hospitalization and death rates.  If people are testing positive for covid-19 and getting sick enough to go into the hospital, that is of concern.  But the vast majority of people entering the hospital for covid-19 all fall into the co-morbidity category of having pre-existing conditions or they over a certain age where immune strength and frailty are in issue.  This would be the same concern for flu season, and now would be the time of the year where we would see and increase in flu hospital admissions as well with that same category of patients.

 

If this coronavirus is going to be with us year after year, just like the flu virus, how do we live with this?  Ironically, it is the same path we take with flu season.  Prevention.  First off, protect people who are in the susceptible category from virus exposure.  The elderly and people with health conditions need to take special care.  They need to social distance, meaning stay out of crowded areas, wash hands, wear the mask.  Secondly, all of us (including the susceptible category) need to pay attention our diet.  Eat whole healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise, meditate (deep breathing helps lungs to be healthy).  Be mindful of the air you breath.  Look into air filters for your home or office. Ones that have strong HEPA filters and air ionizers that kill germs and help purify your indoor air.  This is one of the reasons that we have a flu season in the winter time, no fresh air, just air that is being recirculated.

 

The other reason we have a flu season, is the lack of sun exposure.  Sun creates vitamin D which is essential for immune system health.  Make sure you are taking you vitamin D supplements daily.  In addition, the latest articles on preventing the covid-19 and flu virus tell us to take zinc, quercetin, selenium and melatonin daily during the winter season.  In addition to your vitamin C and multivitamin intake.  I would be remiss, if I did not once again mention elderberry extract on a daily basis due to its very high anti-viral properties.

 

I’m biased, but chiropractic care on a regular basis will help your body to be healthier and perform at a higher level  which is much needed during flu and now covid-19 season.  Research shows that spinal adjustments effect the nervous system in a beneficial way, impacting degrees of immune system function.  The adjustment increases the rate at which your body’s DNA repairs itself.  This in and by itself is an important immune system marker and has been measured in laboratory studies.  In addition, the spinal adjustment of the upper back causes an increase in white blood cell production, a white blood cell burst so to speak.  White blood cells are the body’s infection fighting cells.  Lastly, regular ongoing chiropractic care shows an increase in patient’s resistance enzymes, which are immune system cells.  That being said, chiropractic care should be an important part of your preventative health care.   Not that this fact has any scientific research behind it, but since March 2020, I have personally performed over 6000 spinal adjustments on my patients and not one of the patients who is under regular chiropractic care has contracted covid-19. I’m not at all  saying I prevented them from having covid-19, but I am saying that chiropractic care is a piece in their healthy lifestyle puzzle.

 

Lastly, the importance of wearing masks cannot be ignored.  Primarily, because this is a public health crisis and we are the public.  It is a very small, inexpensive thing to do to allow us, all together as a community, to slow the spread of the virus to the special needs category.  It is a minor inconvenience to wear a mask to help keep our neighbors, family and friends safe.  Yes, there have been some articles published on the effectiveness of mask wearing, but the bottom line is that they DO reduce airflow from your mouth which will slow the spread.  Now, I am not talking about walking around with a bandana around your mouth, but an actual mask will reduce your outgoing breath into the air and protect others.  Yes, I said above that asymptomatic people are very low risk for spreading the virus, so why wear a mask?  There is a 7-10 to day incubation period where the virus can spread before you become symptomatic. 7-10 days where you do not know that you have the virus and are contagious.  The mask protects others during that period.  As far as masks protecting you, the only mask that protects you from breathing in the virus in the N-95 mask.  So, if you are elderly and have preexisting conditions, this is the mask to wear.

 

Being proactive this winter will not only keep you healthier and strengthen your immune system to fight viruses, but will also help with fear.  Do all you can do to protect yourself and others and there is less to be afraid of.

 

Pregnancy and chiropractic news:  Spinal adjustments affect baby position and outcomes of birth by improving balance of the pelvis.  Pelvic misalignment causes an increase in a supporting uterous ligament tension.  During all stages of pregnancy, chiropractic care via the adjustment improves neural impulse flow which is of major benefit to the mother and her baby, optimizing pregnancy and birth.

Author
Dr J. Zimmerman, Chiropractor Dr. Zimmerman is a practicing chiropractor from Galloway, NJ with 30 years of chiropractic practice.

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