Tag Archives: immune system

Covid-19 & why fever is good

I’m linking to Dr John Campbell’s excellent video at the end of this post, but this information is so important, I want to provide a quick summary first.

When the immune system detects an invader – i.e. a virus or bacteria – it starts a cascade of important steps to fight that invader.

  1. It sends a signal to the brain to turn up the body’s thermostat. The reason for this is that all of the immune system’s ‘weapons’ work better and faster when the body temperature is higher. So we get a fever.
  2. At the same time, the immune system sends out all sorts of white blood cells to detect the invader, to warn other body cells that an invader is coming, to surround the invader and to ‘eat’ it.
  3. If we take drugs to reduce the fever, we’re hobbling our own immune systems and making them less efficient.
  4. So a temperature of about 39 degrees C or 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit is good. It will not do an adult any harm. [Children and fever will be covered in a later video].

What does all this mean in a practical sense?

First, it means we have to change our expectations. We will not be able to ‘soldier on’ because a good fever will probably make us feel lousy.

I say ‘probably’ because it’s been so long since I’ve had a fever, I can’t really remember what it feels like. And that brings me to the second point, the reason I can’t remember what a fever feels like is because I always took something to bring it down. That. Must. Change.

We must allow the fever to run its course because it’s actually helping us fight off the virus.

And this brings me to my final point. Modern technology will help us eventually. There will be a vaccine, eventually. There will be new anti-viral treatments, eventually. But for now we’re on our own.

The only weapon we have in the fight against Covid-19 is the immune system we were all born with. We have to help it help us. So if you’re an adult, and you get a fever, whether you think it’s Covid-19 or not, be brave and let the fever come. If you have access to things that help support the immune system, by all means, take them! But leave the fever reducing drugs in the cupboard.

“So suffer in silence, huh?”

No, drinking lots of fluids will help you feel better. Weak tea with lots of lemon and honey is delicious and good for you because the honey contains a mild antibiotic which may help stop secondary bacterial infections, and lemon juice contains vitamin C which is one of the things that help support the immune system.

Soup is good too. It’s easy to swallow, gentle on the stomach and contains nutrients that provide the energy the immune system needs to keep fighting.

Rest is also vital. While you’re sitting or lying in one place, your body isn’t wasting any precious energy that could be used by your immune system. Feel sick and exhausted? Don’t fight it. Your body actually knows what it’s doing.

And finally fresh air and sunshine. Just because you’re sick it doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up in a stuffy room with all the windows shut. Back in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic, health workers discovered that patients in well ventilated wards, or outside on cots in the sunshine, recovered better than patients in stuffy wards.

Bundle up, sit outside if you can, and let the sun shine on your face. That’s vitamin D you’re soaking up.

I know these are all old fashioned remedies. Some of you will think they’re rubbish, but right now, old fashioned is all we’ve got. Stay healthy.

Much love
Meeks


Covid-19: Dr John update

A couple of interesting videos from Dr John Campbell. The first is the most recent Covid-19 update, the second is a short video about what drugs not to use when/if you do get Covid-19.

An important take-home-fact from the second video is that paracetamol will bring down the fever, and it won’t make the disease worse. So even if the evidence is still largely anecdotal, it won’t hurt you to give the NSAIDs a miss. Why play Russian roulette with your life if you don’t have to?

On the prevention side of things, the Offspring and I started taking Olive Leaf Extract and Sellenium supplements last night. Also eating fresh capsicum [well washed] because it contains more vitamin C than an orange. Stood outside in the sun this morning for some vitamin D. Didn’t have much skin exposed as it was a bit chilly so I’ll put on a t-shirt and get a better dose once it warms up.

If there’s sun where you are, why not go outside and get some free vitamin D? You will need to expose some skin. Streaking, however, is not recommended. lol lol lol Ahem…

And finally, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we will cope in isolation for the next who-knows-how-many months. From there, I started wondering about the generational gap between those of us who cook, and those who don’t. If all these people are stuck at home, how are they going to eat if they don’t know how to cook?

In the next few days I’m going to search through my recipes for very simple meals that can be prepared by people who don’t normally do much cooking. As the availability of ingredients will be different in other countries, perhaps you could post simple recipes as well.

It’s not a big thing, but we’re fast reaching a point where every single one of us has to start thinking about the wider community. We have to support each other in whatever way we can.

Let’s use this pandemic as an opportunity to do good. There are so many ways we can help our communities. All we need to do is think outside the box.

Much love,

Meeks


Covid-19 & help for your Immune System

Covid-19 is a brand new virus, and as such, 99.999999% of us have no immunity to it. Because this virus is so completely new, we don’t have vaccines or medications against it either. That means the only weapon we have is the immune system all of us are born with.

Immune system

The immune system is mostly centred around the thyroid which produces cells that seek out viruses and bacteria, chop them up and teach other cells how to fight them. This is more or less how we become immune to new viruses and bacteria.

That explanation is at about kindergarten level, but it’s enough to explain why having the immune system working at peak efficiency is so important. It is always our first line of defence, and with the Covid-19 virus, it is also our only line of defence.

So what affects the efficiency of our immune system?

For people with no underlying diseases, the immune system gets most of what it needs from good food, adequate rest and a bit of healthy exercise. This is why about 80% of those who catch Covid-19 will experience very little in terms of ‘disease’.

Nevertheless, even young, healthy people can reduce the length and severity of their infection by supporting their immune systems while they are sick. This involves eating healthy food instead of junk food, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of fluids [NOT alcoholic fluids!], and taking some of the natural boosters you’ll find here.

I’m no nutritionist so I’m only going to talk about two things that I know something about – Vitamin D and Iodine.

Iodine

The following quotes are all taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

  • ‘Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions,’
  • ‘They [thyroid hormones] are also required for proper skeletal and central nervous system development in fetuses and infants [1].’
  • ‘Iodine may have other physiological functions in the body as well. For example, it appears to play a role in immune response’.

In Australia, our old, mineral depleted soils do not contain much iodine which is why we are encouraged to used iodised table salt – i.e. salt that has had iodine added to it. It is also why our bread now has added iodine.

This lack of naturally occurring iodine means that many of us could be slightly deficient in iodine. If that’s the case, then our immune systems are not going to be performing at peak efficiency during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Where do you find Iodine?

As I mentioned before, in Australia, iodine is added to iodised table salt and bread. It also occurs naturally in fish, seafood and seaweed. So in theory, if you use iodised table salt, eat lots of bread and also eat fish, seafood and seaweed, your iodine levels should be fine.

But…

Unused iodine is peed out:

‘Iodine in food and iodized salt is present in several chemical forms including sodium and potassium salts, inorganic iodine (I2), iodate, and iodide, the reduced form of iodine [4]. Iodine rarely occurs as the element, but rather as a salt; for this reason, it is referred to as iodide and not iodine. Iodide is quickly and almost completely absorbed in the stomach and duodenum. Iodate is reduced in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed as iodide [2,5]. When iodide enters the circulation, the thyroid gland concentrates it in appropriate amounts for thyroid hormone synthesis and most of the remaining amount is excreted in the urine [2].’

Quote taken from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

Now ask yourself, do you eat fish, seafood and seaweed every day? If the answer is no, then you may be a little or a lot deficient in iodine.

So how do you make sure you’re getting enough iodine every day, especially when you’re sick?

There are iodine supplements that you swallow but I don’t recommend them because too much iodine can actually do you harm.

Instead, I recommend painting iodine onto your skin.

The skin absorbs the iodine and releases it into the blood stream from which it is carried to the thyroid. You do not need to ingest iodine.

In Australia, BETADINE is a well known, family antiseptic. It comes in a small bottle and you paint it onto cuts and abrasions with a cotton bud:

Image sourced from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

The following quote is taken from the same Wikipedia article:

Povidone-iodine (PVP-I), also known as iodopovidone, is an antiseptic used for skin disinfection before and after surgery.[1][2] It may be used both to disinfect the hands of healthcare providers and the skin of the person they are caring for.[2] It may also be used for minor wounds.[2] It may be applied to the skin as a liquid or a powder.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Povidone-iodine

You can also buy pure iodine online under the brand name of ‘Lugols’. I have no idea whether one is better than the other, but I’ve used Lugols for almost ten years.

How much iodine do you need?

The amount of iodine is going to be different for each person because we don’t come in a standard size. I’m 5’3″ and 65 kgs. As a rule of thumb, I paint about a fifty cent coin size area of skin when I’m feeling fine. When I’m coming down with a cold, or trying to prevent one, I increase that to about 3 inches by 3 inches. That’s quite a bit of skin.

How much you use will depend upon your body size and how quickly the distinctive iodine stain is absorbed by your body. If the stain takes 24 hours to disappear from your skin, your thyroid is using a ‘normal’ amount of iodine for you. If the stain disappears in 8 hours or less, however, it means your thyroid is working harder than usual and using more iodine than usual. In that case, you may want to apply a bit more to your skin.

If you’ve never used either pure iodine or Betadine before, be careful because it will stain your clothing while it’s wet.

Vitamin D

Both the Offspring and I were found to be vitamin D deficient some years ago when we were tested. I was truly surprised at my result because I spend a lot of time out in the garden. Surely I had absorbed enough vitamin D just from the sunshine on my skin?

Apparently not. So what does vitamin D actually do, and why should you care?

According to Dr John Campbell, vitamin D reduces the ‘probabilty of contracting respiratory tract infections’. Covid-19 causes fever and a dry cough – i.e. a respiratory tract infection.

I strongly recommend that you watch this video in its entirety:

Other important nutrients for your immune system

I stumbled across this post by accident whilst researching iodine and vitamin D:

10 simple nutrients to boost your immune system for maximum protection and immunity.’

The ten nutrients include:

  • Elderberry syrup
  • Echinacea
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Monolaurin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Sellenium

You can find a detailed description of each of these nutrients by following the link above. I don’t know enough about magnesium and sellenium etc to comment on their efficacy, but I’m definitely going to explore them further myself, and I recommend that you do too.

Stay healthy
Meeks


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