The World Health Organization has declared the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) an international health emergency as more than 20,000 people has been infected and killed more than 400. Cases of coronavirus infection, believed to have originated from Wuhan, China, has also been recorded in 24 other countries. (1)
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (2) The term “novel” means it’s a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
The severity of coronaviruses depends on where the virus primarily infects. If the virus primarily infects the upper respiratory tract (the nose and the throat), then the symptoms are less severe but can spread more easily. However, if the virus thrives in the lower respiratory tract (the lungs), it can lead to more severe symptoms like pneumonia.
Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV can include a cough, fever and shortness of breath. There are some early reports of non-respiratory symptoms too, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. (3) Many people do recover within a few days. However, it has become increasingly clear that the very young, elderly, or people who have a weakened immune system may develop more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
The aging population
More people have contracted the new coronavirus as compared to SARS in 2003. However, the mortality rate for 2019-nCoV hovers around 3% – which is low as compared to SARS which had a mortality rate of 9.6%. The data might change as time unfolds.
However, the fatality rate is likely higher in older adults as data from the UK and China shows that out of 41 deaths, 39 were in people over 50. (4) There are two reasons that older population are more susceptible to infections.
First, seniors are more likely to have other chronic health conditions that makes it harder for their bodies to cope with damage caused by the new pathogen. Every year, the majority of flu deaths are people aged 65 or older.
Secondly, the immune system’s ability to respond to coronavirus changes with age. Most of the symptoms from coronavirus infections actually come from the body’s own immune response. It seems like coronaviruses encourages older immune systems to kick in with extra inflammation, which worsens the infection.
Protective measures against the new coronavirus
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap with water. With the new discovery that the virus can be killed with alcohol, simple measures like this can help decrease the chances of you getting infected, or spreading the virus.
Practice respiratory hygiene
When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue and discard it immediately. This helps prevent the spread of germs and viruses to other surrounding people or surfaces nearby. Wearing a mask when going to crowded areas may also prevents you from inhaling infectious respiratory droplets from other people.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Our hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with viruses. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands can transfer viruses from the surface to yourself.
Make sure your immune system is strong and fit to fight
A strong immune system is the body’s primary defense against infectious organisms. A weakened immune system may not be ready to cope with the damage caused by the new coronavirus.
Important nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin B6 helps support biochemical reactions in the immune system. Natural supplements such as Vitamode® Garlimax Capsule, with its natural antimicrobial properties helps strengthen our immune system, giving our body a better fighting chance against infectious organisms.
Vitamode® Garlimax Capsule
The main compound for Vitamode® Garlimax Capsule, Alliin has been traditionally used to combat common cold and flu. It can help reduce symptoms or prevents it entirely as it boosts our natural immune system.
No evidence has been found regarding potential cures for coronavirus infections, but a stronger immune system certainly helps. For more information on the benefits of garlic, here’s an article on the how Vitamode® Garlimax Capsule helps strengthen our immune system against common cold and flu.