Published on August 31st, 2020 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Understanding and Avoiding Virus Infections
Viruses are everywhere—they are living microscopic organisms that are simply a fact of life. We come in contact with viruses and germs of various strengths and types every day, but not every virus causes a noticeable reaction. Understanding what a virus is, how it works in our bodies and how to minimize any vulnerabilities can help lessen fear and give a proactive advantage.
Viruses are even smaller than bacteria, which is why some types of surgical masks are ineffective at preventing them from getting through. Made of genetic material coated in a protective protein, a virus needs a host in order to survive, which is why they’re considered parasitic.
Once it finds a suitable host cell—which can be human, animal or plant, depending on the virus type—a virus replicates quickly. It’s only after the incubation period, once virus has replicated enough, that we start feeling symptoms. Some viruses cause more serious diseases like smallpox, measles, Ebola, herpes, rabies and others. Unlike bacterial infections, there are no cures for viral infections. Antiviral drugs only work to potentially stop the spread or replication of viruses, but they cannot penetrate the protective protein coating or kill existing virus-infected cells.
The best defense against any type of virus is to keep our immune systems as healthy and strong as possible. Of course, good personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing, is always important to help reduce the chances of getting any type of bacterial or viral infection.
Hippocrates wisely wrote, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food,” and one of his lesser-known writings states, “In food, excellent medicine can be found.” More than 2,000 years later, these beliefs still prove true. Foods have medicinal value—both healing and preventive—as long as they’re fresh and not processed; it’s also best to choose organic produce and organic, grass-fed meats to avoid toxins as much as possible. Increasing the variety of greens and other fresh fruits and veggies creates a healthy and diverse gut microbiome, the basis of a strong immune system, and get our system in disease-fighting shape.
Known immune boosters include citrus fruits, broccoli, green and red peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, brussels sprouts, garlic, ginger, turmeric (added to cooking or made into tea), spinach, sunflower seeds and nuts.
In addition, staying away from added sugars, highly processed industrial cooking oils like canola, cottonseed, safflower, soybean and corn, and processed foods, as well as any foods that cause allergic reactions or produce sensitivities to stay healthy, recover from an infection quicker and minimize chronic inflammation. Avoiding unhealthy choices is as important as including healthy choices in empowering our bodies to fight off infections. Also make sure to get enough sleep and make positive lifestyle choices, like not smoking and exercising regularly.
Viruses can spread easily in a number of ways, including person-to-person contact and consuming food or water that has been contaminated; some viruses can survive on surfaces for hours or even days. Touching a surface that has been handled by someone with the virus and then eye rubbing or face touching face before hand washing thoroughly can transfer the virus. This is one reason why frequent hand washing is always recommended, whether there’s a widespread viral outbreak or just as a precaution against the common cold and flu.
Quarantine and self-isolation during a large-scale outbreak can feel challenging to individuals and families used to leading busy, active lives, but this can become a teaching moment, too. This is the time to go old school—with young kids, view this as an opportunity to bond. Rather than each family member spending hours on their own social media, encourage some “together time” with puzzles, games, arts and crafts, watching cute animal videos and coming up with other creative ideas. Reading, enjoying movies together and just taking the time to talk not only helps pass the time, but draws a family together in ways that can create better understanding and closeness in the long term.
To dig a little deeper and discover changes that will help maintain a healthier immune system, reduce inflammation, improve gut function lower the risk of virus infection, schedule a free discovery call at 201-261-5430 or GetWell-Now.com.
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