Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Covid 19 is a novel virus. Like any virus, it transmits from person to person. Its called novel, as it has new characteristics that we are experiencing for the first time. It’s a virus that affects the lungs, which is characterized by shortness of breath and could be fatal. The spread rate of any disease is measured in terms of R0. R0. for a regular flue is 1.3 whereas it is 2 to 2.5 for Covid 19, and the spreading rate of Covid 19 is Geometrical –
1 person spreads to 2 to 2.5;
2 ,, 4 to 5;
4 ,, 8 to 10 and so on.
Most importantly, the incubation (period of time in which the virus increases in size or number in a person, to show symptoms of the infection) period of flu is between 1 to 4 days, whereas for Covid 19, it is 2 – 14 days. This means, that upto a period of 14 days, a person could be a carrier of the infection, infecting people he comes in contact with, without actually knowing about it.
Covid 19 infection in the body is function of (a) Viral load (or intensity) in the body and (b) Body’s capacity to kill the virus.
Viral load in the body: curfews, “lockdowns”, social distancing, are some measures to reduce the viral load., which, combined with personal hygiene tips that are being constantly fed to us through Media are ways to reduce the Viral Load. Following them meticulously, will reduce the viral load. However it does not over helm the body’s capacity to kill the Virus.
Body’s capacity to kill the virus: There are thousands of people who got infected by Covid 19., many of them were able to survive the onslaught of the virus, but some unfortunately succumbed to it. The difference was the immunity power and general good health.
Following are the ways to improve immunity & strengthen good health:
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, with adequate protein: Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Micronutrient malnutrition starves immune system & insufficient protein reduces the power of the body to fight any infection
Reduce Sugars: It kills the immune cells. The effect lasts for couple of hours after a sugary drink and that is sufficient window for virus to enter the body.
Exercise Regularly: Moderate intensity leisure time exercise supplemented with lifestyle movements is a must for good immunity.
Sleep: Quality night-time sleep builds immunity. It is worth more than the vaccines.
Minimize Stress: Fear / worry / anxiety are negative emotions which puts the brain into Fight or Flight mode. In such a state, brain prepares muscles for action and pushes immunity to the back seat. We need Immune cells to fight Covid 19 and not muscle strength.
Chronic Inflammation: Inflammation reduces the body’s ability to fight the virus as it uses all its resources to reduce inflammation & therefore leaving very little opportunity to fight the virus. Having a Hs-CRP score of less than 1 is an ideal score to ensure the body has the ability to fight the virus.
Hence, reducing the viral load and strengthening the body’s immunity through pre-habilitation i.e. prepare the body for the war against Covid 19 is a long-term sustainable strategy. Preparing the body for war is a better strategy than sitting and getting worried about future disaster.
Deepika Chalasani is a Clinical Nutritionist, Mind and Body Transformation Coach and co-founder of Fit4Life India, an integrated nutrition and wellness organisation for Indians that provides complete solutions, addressing health and wellness challenges of individuals by working on their overall well being. Deepika, Dietician & Nutritionist in Hyderabad, India and can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile +91 94910 11202.