In the summer, I urged you to Make the Masks Matter by thinking of yourself, less as a vulnerable victim and more as your own best doctor each time you put your mask on. This mindset is even more critical now as we enter an unpredictable flu season. The good news is that wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing should cut down flu cases this year. The bad news is that we are entering some unchartered waters. Now is the time to get prepared.
COVID-19 As I See It
I see the need for extra precautions now that flu season is upon us. Why?
COVID-19 has forced imbalances in our environment, and our community biome. Some of this has been for good. Anthropause, the decrease in human travel, has led to a change in behaviour of animals, and cleaner air through a reduction in CO2 emissions. Panda’s have decided to mate after ten years together; foxes are scampering around downtown Milwaukee; and a tidal wave of fireflies carpeted the Lake Michigan shoreline this year.
The biome shift has also had negative consequences. Through social distancing, sanitizer use and masks our immune systems have lost the daily baseline training that comes through social immunizations. Several articles say “short-term” increases in sanitation show no evidence-based impact on immunity. True. But, we are nearly a year into the COVID-19 experiment, and a t-shirt that says, “Give me back your bugs (I’m low risk)” may have been appropriate before this week and the start of flu season. We are now forced, in my opinion, to take all precautions against both flu and COVID-19 until Spring 2021. (See Ref. 1 and Ref. 2 below)
Our immune systems dip this time of year. As the days shorten, vitamin D levels drop, seasonal affective disorder disrupts gut microbiomes and immune system effectiveness dips, we need to plan for the worst and expect the best.
Prevention of COVID-19 & the Flu
Whenever you are within six feet of strangers and indoors. N95 ranks best and Gaiters, athletic neck wear, performed dead last. Take a look at: Duke Study Confirms Which Ones Work Best.
Use soap or 60% alcohol solutions for 20 seconds several times per day. COVID-19 and Influenza are both transmitted through aersol (risks for SARS Cov-2 can last two hours after a sneeze or cough indoors) and by contact with contaminated objects. Influenza can live on household surfaces for up to four hours. SARS Cov-2 can live on surfaces for up to 2 days.
Don’t overlook dental hygiene. The mouth can be a major source of inflammation and immune confusion. We like Dentalcidin’s mouth rinse after brushing. See “Oral Hygiene Step-Up” for more information. And, get your dental appointments done in October or November as December through February is peak flu season.
BUILD up. (See Ref. 3 below)
Vitamin C: At even 1 gram per day, Vitamin C reduced Flu infections in soldiers and is likely more effective at higher doses. Linus Pauling estimated that before the enzyme for producing ascorbic acid endogenously fizzled out in humans, man produced roughly 10 grams of the scurvy-proofing vitamin each day. At ARISE MD I’ve noticed that most men and women have fewer infections and better gut function with 6 grams of vitamin C per day divided into three doses.
Vitamin D: Get tested and make sure your 25-OH D3 (Cholecalciferol) is above 30 ng/mL. We like this value closer to 60 ng/mL. Remember, liver and kidney health and magnesium levels impact your ability to utilize vitamin D. Those with (probable) low vitamin D were 1.77 x more likely to be COVID-19 positive in one study and those with COVID-19 were more likely to be vitamin D deficient in one Swiss study. Like vitamin C, vitamin D is thought to bolster the immune system and reduce an individual’s risk for disease or complications another study finds.
Mucosal fitness: Your first barrier is the mucosal layer of your nose and throat. Biocidin Throat Spray was shown in one study to raise secretory IgA antibodies in the throats of athletes by 66%. Mucosal health, according to Thomas Guilliams, PhD, is also highly dependent on hydration. We’ve recently joined forces with the folks at Hydrus and are seeing nice results with twice per day dosing.
Do the de-stress: It’s time to take stress management more seriously. Sustained high cortisol, the main stress hormone, (ever heard of post-triathalon flu?) is an immune suppressant. Get out your calendar right now and commit to ten minutes twice per day of coherent breathing; twice per week of yoga sessions; twice per week of 20 minute epsom salt baths; daily prayer; and a strict sleep-wake schedule. If you know you or your marriage or your financial plan are about to implode – we are here to support you, book a consult with a professional today. It could save your life.
Fix sleep: The shoulder seasons can amplify existing sleep problems. Get your sleep evaluated and fix it. Start with a very strict schedule and improve your sleep hygiene. Read “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Welker, PhD and discover, among other things, that less than six hours of sleep increases your risk of an upper respiratory tract infection two-fold according to this study. Test your stress response (cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline) and neurotransmitters with the insurance-approved NeuroLab test – we can set this up for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recommend 30mg of additional zinc daily and 1-2 grams of quercetin daily as well for prevention.
I’ve coached those in my practice to organize their families into The High Risk and The Visitors. Whenever the two groups come together they should do so with the assumption that one visitor has either COVID-19 or the FLU and take every precaution to prevent transmission – including masks, distance and all of the Principles I’ve outlined above. The Visitors should have a checklist that all agree upon before coming to the home of The High Risk. The home should have a reasonable disinfection after the Visitors leave. We like Seventh Generation Wipes followed by a spray of P2 Probiotic Surface Cleaner. I like the P2 Probiotic Spray for breathing support as well.
Testing for COVID-19 and COVID-19 antibodies is back at ARISE MD. We are also doing telemedicine consults for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 across the United States. As of two weeks ago the major labs started supplying us with nasal swab kits after a mysterious five week “inability to fill order.”
Questions from the Arise MD Clinic
Is it true that we develop short immunity to COVID-19 and can get re-infected?
We just don’t know for sure right now. I’m siding with those who say that a confirmed positive patient, especially if he or she were symptomatic, will likely develop both T and B cell immunity for at least 3 months. A “repeat” positive test is likely due to a nasal swab picking up dead virus particles (as was the case in Korea). A repeat of symptoms is likely re-activation of latent virus, much like shingles after chickenpox.
Want to learn more? Here are some resources:
For treatment of COVID-19, I’m tracking these resources:
For more answers to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19, I’m reading these resources:
For sources tracking COVID-19 cases and deaths, I’m tracking these resources. Remember CFR – Case Fatality Rate, is not accurate during a pandemic:
For insight on how damaging the increased use of antimicrobials can be in our community biome we can look to the overuse of pesticides and antibiotics in parallel with the rise in allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and infections – eg, Lyme. Pesticides do their damage through direct negative chemical affects on humans, and, like hand sanitizers and social distancing, through disrupting the community biome.
Unlike SARS Cov-2, which has only one long strand of RNA, Influenza has eight strands, giving the virus manifold more opportunities for errors and mutations. I’m concerned that the flu vaccine isn’t going to afford the same kind of protection as it did in years past.
I’m watching immune systems learn this new virus, and the new biome around it. We are hearing every week, “…and I’ve never had anything like this before.” Our patients are presenting with new rashes (including scabies), lymph node swelling, diarrhea, fatigue, oral lesions, low back pain, loss of taste and smell.
For some the immune system responds more in the skin (largest detox organ in the body), for others it is the portion in the GI tract that is most reactive and those patients have cramps and diarrhea. This should remind physicians that very rarely should we expect two patients to respond to anything exactly the same.
In fact, I’ve tried to encourage our Citizen Scientists to think of their presentation in diagnostic terms. If your main symptom is muscle pain, your muscles might be chronically imbalanced or inflamed. If you are the patient who presented with a rash and scabies, your skin may need some work. If you present with mainly GI issues then you should think about a gut evaluation once you recover.
Keep in mind that for another 2-3 weeks some will feel allergy symptoms as leaves drop and damp conditions increase mold spores in the environment.
I learn from you,