Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has dominated news cycles in recent weeks as it continues to spread across the globe. In the age of social media, rumours and misinformation have spread across various platforms and outlets. The crucial thing to keep in mind about coronavirus is that the severity of the disease is likely to be overestimated. The statistics may seem bad, but it’s important to remember that many patients will experience only mild symptoms, or even be asymptomatic altogether.
Our knowledge surrounding COVID-19 is increasing every day, and while we don’t yet have a vaccine, we do know that people with immunosuppression may be more susceptible. This includes Lyme disease patients, among many others. It’s important for potentially compromised people to take measures to protect themselves against the disease, even though the chance of infection remains low at this point in time. In this article, we’ll take a look at the relationship between COVID-19 and Lyme patients, including how Lyme patients can boost their immunity during the coronavirus outbreak.
What is Coronavirus and Where Did It Come From?
First, let’s establish some context around the disease so we can understand it better. COVID-19 (shorthand for ‘coronavirus disease 2019’) originated in the Wuhan province of China late last year. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have the potential to infect animals and humans. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is an example of a more severe coronavirus strain. COVID-19 is the latest manifestation of the virus, and while it’s not as deadly as SARS, it appears to be more contagious. It was unknown to medical professionals until December 2019, so our understanding of the strain is still developing.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
There are three main symptoms of COVID-19: fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Fatigue can also be a major factor. Minor symptoms can include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. Symptoms come on gradually and typically present within two weeks of infection. Around 80% of people recover from the virus without requiring special treatment. The disease seems to be more critical in the elderly and in patients with underlying medical conditions or suppressed immune systems.
Coronavirus and Lyme Patients
When it comes to Lyme patients, it’s very hard to know how they would specifically react to coronavirus if they were to catch it. Lyme certainly has a negative effect on the immune system, but that effect may only extend to the antibodies trying to fight the Lyme-causative Borrelia bacteria. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the immune response is inhibited when it comes to other infections, especially viruses, which are a different form of pathogen.
Despite this, it’s important for patients with underlying conditions to guard against infection as best they can. Basic measures should include frequent hand-washing with soap or sanitiser, avoiding public gatherings as much as possible, and keeping at least a metre’s distance between yourself and someone who appears ill. (If you’re using an alcohol-based sanitiser frequently, you might want to apply a little more moisturiser than usual, as it can easily dry out the skin.)
How Lyme Patients can Protect Themselves from COVID-19
While there is no cure as yet for COVID-19, there are definitely ways to fortify your immune system in preparation for any potential infection. The innate immune system is the first point of defence for viruses like COVID-19. A strong immune response is the best natural defence for any infection, bacterial or viral, so making it as robust as possible is a useful pre-emptive course of action. Here’s how to protect yourself from COVID-19 by boosting your immune system naturally.
1. Get regular, restful sleep
A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone of good health. You should be aiming to get 8–10 hours per night at a consistent time. This will help to keep your immune system regulated, as important immune-related processes occur while we sleep.
2. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas
Keeping your fluids up is critical for a healthy immune system, as dehydration can affect bodily processes, even when it’s only to a small degree. Herbal and green teas can also have a positive effect on the immune response thanks to their detoxification properties.
3. Implement an exercise routine
Obviously some patients won’t have the strength to exercise properly, so this one should be implemented on a case-by-case basis. However, even a gentle exercise routine can be highly effective when it comes to immune response. It improves your level of overall fitness, which helps keep your immune system strong. Do what you think is right for you, and be careful not to push yourself.
4. Nutritional support
Your diet can play a huge part in how your immune system functions. Try to ensure you’re eating a nutritious, balanced diet full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals (basically, try to eat the whole nutritional rainbow!). Immune response starts in the gut, so if your body can absorb a wide range of beneficial ingredients, it will provide a solid foundation for your general wellbeing and health.
5. Natural supplement support
Vitamins and supplements are not a sure-fire way to protect yourself from sickness, but they can be a huge help in preparing your body against diseases, including coronavirus. The human immune system is a complicated network of integrated responses. It requires specific micronutrients including vitamins A, D, C, E, B6 and B12, folate, zinc, iron, copper and selenium. These play vital and often synergistic roles at every stage of the immune response. They work in harmony to protect the body from disease; basically, the more of these you’re getting, the more robust your immune response will be. It becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Natural supplements are a great way to ensure you’re ingesting these critical micronutrients.
The spread of COVID-19 is bound to be a worrying time for Lyme patients. However, it is important to keep the facts in mind at all times; at this stage, the chances of infection remain low for many, and the majority of people who do catch the disease won’t become critically ill. To take pre-emptive measures against infection, work on fortifying your immune system naturally. This is how to protect yourself from COVID-19 in the best way possible.