Our front-line medical workers are having a hell of time battling with the Covid-19 pandemic right now. Many lives were lost due to the extreme shortage of medical supplies such as ventilators and surgical masks. As our front-line medical worker are tirelessly helping many patients, there are some things that we can do to prevent ourselves to become one of the Covid-19 patients. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves healthy so that the front-line medical workers’ workload can be relieved.
1. Keep your body warm
The stability of the SARS virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied and published in 2011 (Chan, 2011). In the study, the researcher measures the viability of dried virus on a smooth surface under various temperature and relative humidity. The research found dried SARS virus can retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, dry and cool environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%).
Our normal body temperature at 37 °C is not an ideal temperature for the Covid-19 to maintain its viability. As a result, the initial “staging area” for the Covid-19 after in contact with us is to accumulate in our nasal cavity where the temperature is generally the coolest as we constantly breathing in air that is close to the atmosphere temperature.
In Chinese medicine we recognize Covid-19 as “wind cold”. Because virus is so small and it is spreading by air/droplet, it is like “wind”. The “cold” means that we exposed our body in coldness which provides an ideal breeding environment for the virus. In Western medicine, we also recognize the pathology of flu as “catch cold”.
To avoid our body in cold condition, we must dress warm, especially in the early spring season. In addition, any treatment that can increase our body temperature, especially in nasal cavity, can help to minimizes the development of the Covid-19. Breathing over a bowel of hot water, neti pot, hot bath or shower or sauna can all help increase nasal cavity temperature and reduce Covid-19 viability. Soak your feet in warm water can also effectively increase your body temperature.
There is another benefit when we raise our body temperature which is producing sweat. According to the Chinese medicine, once the “wind evil” enters the body, it hides in a “superficial” layer located right under our skin called “Zhou Li”. When sweating is induced , the pores of the sweat gland are open and the “wind evil” is expelled out of our body like a boat gets pushed by a tsunami. Increase our body temperature to a point that produces sweat is one of the methods that can effectively increase our chance to win the battle with the Covid-19.
2. Expose in sunshine
According to the Chinese medicine, sun is “yang” and cold evil is “yin”. Expose in sunshine can raise the “yang” Qi and boost our vital energy. As the “yang” Qi is rising, so as the “Wei” Qi, i.e., the “defense” Qi. The defense Qi in Chinese medicine means the energy to defend us from getting disease, therefore it is equivalent to the immune system in our modern language.
From the Western perspective, sunshine has ultraviolet light infrared light that carries energy for every creatures on earth. Not only the sunlight can effectively destroy virus, it also produces critical vitamins to strengthen our immune system. The energy from sunshine can also raise our body temperature and expel coldness.
3. Drink plenty of fluid and keep throat mucus moist
One of the early symptoms of the Covid-19 is dry throat and sore throat. Ide K, et al, conducted a research in 2016 (Ide, 2016) and found gargling with tea has effect of preventing Influenza. Not only tea and its ingredients (especially catechins) have antiviral activities but gargling with tea can keep the throat mucus moist and hence, reduce the dry throat symptom.
It is a common knowledge that drinking plenty of fluid is important to ensure a speedy recovery from cold or flu. Typically, minimum 2,000 ml or 2 liter of liquid is recommended for an adult who is recovering from a flu. In addition to the amount of fluid, the frequency of drinking water is also important. A Japanese doctor suggested to have a swallow of water every 15 minutes to increase water consumption and to moist the throat mucus when fighting with Covid-19. Drinking water in 15-minute frequency can wash significant amount of Covid-19 down in the digestive track, hence, reduce the total virus count in the body.
It is important to note that a person with any Covid-19 symptoms should drink lukewarm water instead of the cold or ice water. Water has high specific heat and it takes a lot of energy to heat up. Any liquid consumed at the temperature lower than our body temperature will need to be “heated up” to our body temperature with our body energy. Drink cold or ice water increase the coldness to our body which provides a better condition for the Covid-19 to breed.
4. Eat garlic and green onion
Many studies have shown the antiviral effects from garlic. Lissiman et al., made a study in 2014 (Lissiman 2014) and found garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold. The study found that people who took garlic every day for three months (instead of a placebo) had fewer colds. That is, over the three‐month period, there were 24 occurrences of the common cold in the garlic group, compared to 65 in the placebo group.
According to Chinese medicine, both green onion and garlic are used to “expel wind”. A Covid-19 patient from China shared his experience of drinking garlic water to stop dry cough overnight. This patient took 8 cloves of crushed garlic and cooked them in approximately 40 oz of water. When the content is reduced to about 16 oz, he drank the entire content in the evening. Next morning, his dry cough has stopped, phlegm become loose, and sputum changed from greenish yellow to the normal white color. Since there is no study to confirm this story, nor we have any data to support how much garlic should one take daily, all we can suggest is to include garlic and green onion in your daily diet, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
5. Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Dr. Wu Jun, an Associate Professor of City of Hope Hospital, CA, in his Youtube video had discussed the used of high dosage of Vitamin C and Vitamin E when treating the Covid-19 patients. Dr. Wu explained that the development of Covid-19 infection can be divided into three stages. The first stage occurred about 3-7 days after the infection and the major symptoms include general weakness, body ache, dry cough and low appetite. Following the first stage, the second stage last about 3-5 days with a major symptom of high fever. The high fever is produced by the hyperactive immune response from our body as a way of defense the invading virus. This immune response process releases large number of inflammatory cytokines and is known as “cytokine storm”. Cytokines are proteins used by the immune system as alarm beacons to recruit immune cells to the site of infection. The immune cell is then killing off the infected tissue in a bid to save the rest of the body.
Cytokine storm is triggered when large numbers of immune cells were activated during a severe viral infection. Without intervention, it can cause extensive damages to many major organs and threatening the survival of a patient.
Dr. Wu emphasized that it is important to clean up the inflammatory cytokine to ensure the patient’s survival. He also suggested a higher dosage of Vitamin C and Vitamin E should be used as soon as a patient shows the symptoms of the first stage infection.
The normal daily maintenance dosage of Vitamin C and Vitamin E is 100 mg/day and 100 IU, respectively. However, Dr. Wu suggested to take as much as 3,000 mg/day Vitamin C and 1,000 IU of Vitamin E for Covid-19 patient who shows the initial stage symptoms.
6. Eat well
Ever since we were born, all our energy was converted from the food that we eat and the fluid we drink. Eating is an essential process that we depend on to re-fuel ourselves. In Chinese medicine, Gu Qi (i.e., food energy) is the basic source of Qi and it ultimately transformed into the “Wei” Qi, i.e., the “defense” Qi. Doctors of ancient China summarized their observations and reported that a person who eats appropriately before expose to a village that has contagious disease usually does not get sick. A person who drink wine and expose to the contagious disease will get sick but can recover. A person who has nothing to eat can easily contract with the disease and usually perished through the disease.
Eating appropriately means eat on time, consume proper portions of nutrients from each food source group and practicing good eating habits. Avoid to consume cold food, raw food and drink ice water as these items will cost your digestion energy and open the door for the “cold evil”.
7. Sleep Well
Sleep is a really important factor to our overall health. Sleep is especially important for its relationship which tie to our immune system. Dr. Michael Irwin at the University of California, Los Angeles, has performed studies with healthy young man and demonstrated that a single night of four hours of sleep can swept away 70% of the natural killer cells circulating in the immune system.
Dr. Aric Prather of University of California, San Francisco, performed a study to show the relationship between the length of sleep and the occurrence of “catch cold”. In those sleeping five hours on average, the infection rate was almost 50%. In those sleeping seven hours or more a night in the week prior to the experiment, the infection rate was just 18%.
The relationships of enough sleep (i.e., 7-8 hours per day) and a strong immune system have been demonstrated repeatedly by many researchers. It is important to understand that having a good sleep pattern is the most important factor for maintaining a healthy immune system. Your healthy immune system is essential to win the battle with Covid-19.
8. Emotion balance
The threat of the Covid-19 has caused a lot of anxiety and worries among people. Many people fear the illness, some feel angry and yet, some become depressed. It is important that we all have a positive view of this pandemic and remain hopeful that our world and society will return to or become better after this pandemic. The translation of “crisis” in Chinese is “危機 (Wei Ji)”. The first word pronounces “Wei” and means dangerous. The second word pronounce “Ji” and it means opportunity. Therefore, the “crisis” recognized as “a dangerous opportunity” by the ancient Chinese.
Any event, no matter how bad it looks, always have positive meanings behind it if you practice positive thinking. This pandemic helped us to recognize how fragile it was of our modern society. It also helped us to see how wrong it was of some of our industrial or business practice which we once thought it can last forever. Or, at least, we finally have some time to stay at home and learn how to maintain a healthy immune system so that we can live in a better and happier life. Positive thoughts lead to appreciating minds. Your appreciating mind can calm your anxiety and change your fear and depression into courage and hope for the future.
When you have a balanced emotion, it can help you to grasp the “dangerous opportunity” that is offered by the pandemic situation. A balanced emotion can also help you to maintaining a healthy immune system which is needed for the battle of Covid-19.
1. Adv Virol. 2011;2011:734690. doi: 10.1155/2011/734690. Epub 2011 Oct 1.
The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus.
2. BMC Public Health. 2016 May 12;16:396. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3083-0.
Effect of gargling with tea and ingredients of tea on the prevention of influenza infection: a meta-analysis.
3. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Nov 11;(11):CD006206. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006206.pub4.
Garlic for the common cold.
As some of you know, before becoming an acupuncturist, I was a licensed engineer for more than 30 years. As a professional engineer, my daily work is to look for problems and then find a solution to resolve it.
When Covid-19 became an inevitable threat, I automatically switched myself into a “problem solving” mode. I started to collect information from media and summarize the ones that make sense and exclude those that does not make sense or hard to accomplish by an untrained individuals. What I presented above are some of the approaches that can be easily done by anyone.
Let’s do our part to help. God bless entire earth. Take care.