The word ‘virus’ is top of mind, and many of you have come to us looking for answers. We genuinely care about your health, and have pulled together our top tips for helping to support you and your family’s immune health and overall wellness during this time.
Currently, people are especially concerned about new viruses. “While the world is focused on a cure, not enough of the conversation is focused on the things people can do to avoid contracting the disease,” says naturopathic doctor Steven Katz.
Whether new variants of sick-making viruses, or the types that cause the so-called “common cold,” there are proven public health strategies that help stop the spread of upper respiratory viral infections.
Stop the spread:
To stop the spread of health-compromising viruses, public health officials offer important advice that we should all follow: wash hands frequently, maintain social distance when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, and self-isolate when sick.
Researchers are also focused on susceptibility—that is, factors that influence the risk of catching a virus. Remarkably, the gut microbiome may have influence on viruses that wreak havoc on the respiratory tract. This is one of the reasons why oral (encapsulated) probiotics, for both adults & kids, have been so successful in lowering upper respiratory tract infection rates and associated sick days.
A healthy diet with some key nutrients can help to promote a strong immune system. Basic advice tells us to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats and avoid processed, sugary and non-nutritious foods. Some key nutrients, like vitamin C and zinc, echinacea, garlic and elderberry can help to fight off infections.
There’s also a lesser-known nutrient that has amazing anti-viral potential. Recently, Canadian scientists announced that they are collaborating with Chinese scientists in a massive 1000-subject trial to examine the anti-coronavirus properties of quercetin. Quercetin, found in healthy plant foods, already has proven anti-viral properties as it has been studied with both Ebola and Zika viruses.
For many years, researchers have made connections between lifestyle and winter viral infections like the common “cold.” Stress, lack of sleep, excess alcohol, and notably, unhealthy dietary patterns, have been linked with winter viral susceptibility. In addition to critical public health measures, those known to stop the spread, don’t forget about your inner terrain.
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Shibata M, et al. Potential common factors associated with predisposition to common cold in middle-aged and elderly Japanese: A community-based cross-sectional study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(20):e10729
Wijnkoop, I et al. The Clinical and Economic Impact of Probiotics Consumption on Respiratory Tract Infections: Projections for Canada. PLoS One. 2016; 11(11): e0166232.