At the time of this writing (latter part of 2021), probably the most feared and trending health concerns are, of course, COVID-19 and the delta variant. Hence, this information will focus on this mostly. Many people are unsure of what or who to believe when it comes to getting the truth and staying healthy and safe. We are also aware that there seem to be many mixed messages amongst professionals and in some sense, this charged environment feels almost like a mud-slinging political campaign! That complicates getting at the truth even more. Some people have typically relied on the government, its various representatives and agencies, and conventional doctors for their health care concerns, and many individuals (through no fault of their own) are not skilled at reading medical research or how to effectively utilize holistic health approaches. This type of environment can lead not only to fear, but confusion, other major mental health issues, and increases in violent crime.
Here’s the bad news: We know that mental health diagnoses, drug overdoses, and crime rates are up and getting worse. The American Medical Association in 2021 stated that this current pandemic has made drug overdose rates worse with increased lethality, along with other issues such as increased physical pain. The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also stated in 2021 that the many stressors Americans are experiencing during this pandemic, such as illness, grief, loss of work, food instability, and feeling/being isolated, have caused overwhelming behavioral challenges in our communities.
Here’s the good news: While many people may not have much hope for the near future and beyond, rest assured there are always multiple solutions for every dilemma we face, including such overwhelming health concerns such as a pandemic.
What is It?
There is a significant difference between an epidemic and a pandemic. When some health concern breaks out and there suddenly become many cases, but still in one geographic area (think Wuhan, China, where it all seems to have started), this is referred to as an epidemic. As COVID-19 spread across the world, and a larger number of people became infected, this became classified as a pandemic. So, the difference is in numbers and areas. But the health issue still is what it is. Please understand that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of coronaviruses in existence, such as the common cold. However, the term pandemic is often used with infections or diseases that are new, or novel. Hence, at the start of the pandemic, it was labeled as such. The term pandemic is not normally used to describe diseases that are not infectious, like obesity, cigarette smoking, etc., but they are still extensive across the globe. While in a sense they are transmissible (through environmental factors like role modeling), they are not usually transmissible from a physiological viewpoint (unless you want to discuss epigenetics and your genes). The use of the term pandemic is more normally applied by health officials to contagious infections, through exchanges of bodily fluids, or by transmission through fleas, water, etc.
What it Looks Like
Some of the physiological symptoms of COVID-19 are, according to the CDC, fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, being very tired, aching muscles and other body parts, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea. As you can see, these are virus symptoms, and you can have the same symptoms if you have a flu or a bad cold. This is not to say that you ignore these symptoms. In fact, if you have them, you need to pay close attention; also, if you are on multiple medications and/or do not have a particularly strong immune system, this can become quite serious. So definitely visit your highly competent health care practitioner for advice.
The delta variant is a bit more contagious than COVID-19, says the CDC. It does not list symptoms of the delta variant or any of the other variants identified. After an extensive internet search, there were no other sources found other than that of the CDC to speak to this issue. Since it is similar to a flu strain (although not identical), it’s likely safe to say the symptoms experienced are similar to colds, flus, and COVID-19. (This is my educated opinion.)
Medication and How that Affects the Disorder
Of course, we all know that the various vaccinations and their boosters are being put forth as the best way (and it also is frequently stated that it is the only way) to treat COVID-19 and the delta and other variants. It is claimed that being vaccinated lowers rates of infection and reduces symptom load and severity although there are many vaccinated people who are re-infected. Outside of that, according to AI Healthnet, there is another medication within the conventional treatment realm that can help save your life, reduce the rates of hospitalizations, etc. It is a new antibody infusion treatment. No other information on this treatment approach was given other than to write that the two people highlighted who received this treatment were back at work within a couple of days. In spite of other conventional medical approaches, it is still recommended by conventional medicine to get vaccinated.
Acetaminophen (or Tylenol), ibuprofen (or Advil, and Motrin), and naproxen (or Aleve) can all be used for pain relief. They may be somewhat effective also for controlling or minimizing nausea, aches, fevers, chills, etc. These are all, of course, over-the-counter medications. They do not treat the disorder; they can help mediate the symptoms. It is very important not to overdose, as the effects of the virus and variants can be quite strong, you will not be feeling good, and you may take too much. Be vigilant. An extensive but not exhaustive internet search yielded no other information sources for other conventional medical treatment approaches.
How Holistic Interventions Affect the Disorder
The best and most preventative solution is to take care of yourself holistically and build and maintain as strong an immune response as you can. This is normally discussed in terms of diet, supplements, mindfulness, exercise, etc. In this way, you may never contract COVID-19 or its variants, or even if you do, your case may be mild and easily handled. Additionally, The Well for Health suggest you stay well hydrated (hopefully with healthy water), eat a healthy diet, make sure your Vitamin D levels are strong, take 30-50 mg daily of zinc, take steps to improve gut health, eat a variety of multi-colored fruits and vegetables, minimize intake of processed foods and especially refined sugar and refined wheat, reduce your stress load, make sure you get enough good quality sleep, and get out in nature.
I always recommend spring water. Alkaline water is very healthy for some, but some people have issues with their kidneys, so make sure you know what water is best for you. Please consult with a competent healthcare professional. If you are prone to dehydration, you might try adding some electrolytes to your water. Hydration helps your body circulate all your nutrients in reaching their destinations. It helps keep constipation at bay and reduces rates of urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and kidney stones. I also recommend eating not only fresh produce, but organic whenever possible. Choose ones with varying colors as they contain varying nutrients! Be cautious with your consumption of fresh fruits; while they are healthy for you, if you eat a lot, you will be eating lots of sugar and that is not healthy. However, they can aid in your hydration! If procuring organic proves to be difficult, always choose fresh first, flash frozen next, and canned as a last alternative. Your nutrient levels decrease a bit with each alternative. Try to eat foods which are fermented, like kimchi, pickles, miso soup, etc., as these build gut health, in addition to eating fresh produce which also aids in your gut health. Your entire body’s health is dependent upon your gut health. About 2/3 of your immunity is located within your gut. Remember there is a gut/brain barrier as well. Yes – gut health is that important! Remember, the healthier your body is, the better able you are to be able to fight off illness. We are all exposed to airborne and other pathogens, but the good news is that our bodies are able to fight them off, as long as we take good care of them!
It is difficult to choose the best supplements to support your overall health, and especially your gut and immune health, so it’s wise to work with practitioners who can assist you. Remember, we are unique individuals, so our bodies respond uniquely to varied supplements and even varied preparations of the same supplement. Muscle testing is a good way to discern which may be working best for you. It may be wise to choose a practitioner to muscle test you who is not selling supplements for the sake of objectivity. Some supplements considered healthy for your immune system are vitamins D, C, E, A, B, etc. Elderberries are considered very immunity friendly; they increase white blood cells and some studies showed it could shorten the duration of viral infections. Glutamine may be helpful during any inflammatory response and is critical for cell growth and immunity. Echinacea has also been studied clinically and may reduce your chances of getting viruses and their duration.
Choose mindfulness techniques which you like as they will help reduce stress and calm you down, so you are better able to focus. For some people, it can be walking in nature, and for others it can be a bubble bath or getting some quiet time to read. Meditation has been studied extensively, and it may calm anxiety and generally slow down your mind! It is helpful in lowering depression, increasing mental resilience, increase life satisfaction, decrease agitation, help you in your decision-making process, help with your learning and memory, increase energy, enhance your sleep, and increase your immune response.
Exercise is also important. There are just so many ways to get moderate exercise into your life, so choose what is comfortable and even fun for you! If you like to swim, do so as there are plenty of pools and water aerobics classes around. If you like bike riding, find yourself a nature trail or you can even exercise on a stationery bike. Dancing is a great way to get aerobic exercise. Even in slow dancing you are getting plenty of steps in. Be sensible – do not do too much or too little. There are many professionals who can give you advice on what is just the right amount of exercise for you, but you can also listen to your body. Exercise has been studied extensively and it is known to enhance academic achievement, improve cognitive skills, and improve academic behavior such as school attendance, conduct, being able to focus, and complete homework. In addition, there is a newer field called exercise immunology; we now know that moderate exercise enhances the ability of innate immune cells, which in turn increases their ability to kill pathogenic invaders more efficiently. It helps with circulation and cell mobilization. So, it is important also to stay hydrated when you exercise! Ongoing exercise helps sustain your immune response, largely through its anti-inflammatory effects. Remember, when we’re ill with anything, we are inflamed.
It is important to try to get closer to your healthy weight (but remember it is just one factor of many), as this and age are noted factors related to COVID-19 hospitalizations. Exercise and a great diet can help us both in staying healthy as we age, but also in getting to and/or maintaining a healthy weight.
Finally, being able to get a great night’s sleep can improve your immune response. Remember, too, that exercise can help improve your sleep quality and quantity. Extensive studies have been conducted on how important sleep is to our health. T cells can be bolstered by good quality sleep, and this is directly related to your immunity. As we know, if you’re overweight, this is associated with increased hospital stays. Your ability to get enough good quality sleep is also related to your weight! It is also involved in how your genes express themselves, so getting good sleep helps your body keep your adverse gene combination expressions down – right where you want them.
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