Dr Pradip Bhaumik.

April 3, 2020, 12:33:39   

COVID -19, Corona virus disease-19  is a latest disease included in our list of diseases, in our new terminology,  only on 11th February 2020, caused by SARS-COV-2 virus or popularly known as corona virus.

The disease is new but  in this short duration of about three months the disease crossed all geographical and political boundaries and reached to all countries of the world including most of the states of India. Fortunately the disease is not reported from Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim till now.

Basic scientists, researchers and clinicians across the globe are trying hard, day in and day out to combat this pandemic situation. The basis of all scientific activity, administrative and political approach is based on our earlier experience of containing rapidly spreading infectious diseases.

Basically COVID -19 starts as a Influenza like illness (ILI) leading ultimately to Severe acute respiratory illness.(SARI) which is responsible for rapid spread, increase morbidity and mortality.

It should be  clear in our mind that  the three  basics of occurrence of  any disease are: AGENT, HOST and ENVIRONMENT.

Here the agent is deadly Corona Virus, Only host is human being and transmission is only human to human. But why environment has suddenly become so friendly to this absolutely new Novel Corona virus is a million dollar question to be answered by future. 

One thing is very clear that to get the disease there should be a direct contact between agent to host, virus affected person to a healthy person. How to prevent this contact? Containment of the diseased person if you know him.  But do you know everyone? No, Never.  Then keep distance and maintain personal and social hygiene.

 We were practicing it for centuries after centuries. But now we have to  practice it once again in the name of SOCIAL DISTANCING and COMPLETE LOCK DOWN to break the chain of this virus who has got an unprecedented speed of spreading from one to other..

Does it mean everyone who is coming in contact with a corona  virus affected person will get the disease ? No. One COVID 19 patient can spread the disease to less than four person only.

It means contact with the disease person is not equal to getting the disease. There are many other host factors. This is the grey area which is being used by many people in the name of their credibility and this is the source of many myths regarding many disease particularly self limiting viral disease. Fortunately COVID 19 is not causing death always, rather most of the uncomplicated person recovers completely without any sequels. Mortality is less than 3% in most of reports. It is is less than many of the diseases.

What are the factors responsible for prevention from disease or who helps us  to get rid of it even if one  get the disease?
We do have some drugs being used globally to reduce the viral load or their virulence.

Every individual has got a wonderful system in their body to fight against any infection. This inherent system is IMMUNE SYSTEM. A group of cells in the body are in relentless war against these organisms,  every minute  and  every second.
But this time as the Corona virus is new, the immune system could not recognise it  as enemy and preparedness is incomplete. So as the scientific community of the world.

Now our job is to boost up our immune system. This immune system is multi factorial. Hence boosting up of immunity is very difficult.

It has been found, observed and proved that some modality do exist which truly modify our body Immune System If we practice they can help in preventing the disease occurrence or probably can modify the course of the disease.

These all are  beneficial practices for every individual and not harmful.. To  protect our body from illness, every component of immune system needs to perform exactly according to plan. The best is to ensure to practice the good behaviours every day. Here are some of them ;

1.  Diet:
The nutrients we get from food — in particular, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices — are essential to keep our immune system functioning properly. It has been observed  that spices like clove, oregano, thyme and cumin contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Furthermore, the zinc, folate, iron, Vitamin D3, selenium, copper, and vitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12   are the nutrients required for proper function of  immune system Probably  Vitamin C deficiency may increase the likelihood of infection.

Proteins also critical for immune system. The amino acids in protein help to  build and maintain immune cells, Additional sources of protein and zinc include seafood, lean meat,  poultry , egg and dairy products.
Add fruits and veggies to diet.. Carrots, broccoli, spinach,  peppers, apricots, citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapes), and strawberries are all great sources of vitamins A and C, while seeds and nuts will provide protein, vitamin E, and zinc

2. Reduce Stress :

Long-term stress  leads to chronically elevated levels of  steroid . The body relies on steroids  during short-term bouts of stress Steroid  has a beneficial effect of actually preventing the immune system from responding before the stressful event is over . But when steroid  levels are constantly high, it essentially blocks the immune system from kicking into gear and doing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria.
There are many effective stress reduction techniques, meditation may be one of them during this period being inside. Drawing, reading, writing  can be practiced as stress-reducing activity every day. 

3. Good Sleep:
Our  body heals and regenerates while you sleep adequate sleep critical for a healthy immune response. More specifically, sleep is a time when our body produces and distributes key immune cells like cytokines (a type of protein that can either fight or promote inflammation), T cells (a type of white blood cell that regulates immune response), and interleukin 12 (a pro-inflammatory cytokine).If we do not get enough sleep our  immune system may not do these things as well, making it less able to defend your body against harmful invaders and making us  more likely to get sick. Sleep deprivation also elevates steroid levels, which of course is also not good for immune function,  It is recommended that all adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night to optimize health. To ensure to get quality sleep, prioritize good sleep hygiene: Turn off the electronics at least two to three hours before bed, and avoid violent or stressful books or conversations.  

4. Regular Exercise (Now Indoor):
Regular exercise lowers  risk of developing chronic diseases (like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease), as well as viral and bacterial infections, Exercise also increases the release of endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) making it a great way to manage stress .Since stress negatively impacts our immune system, this is another way exercise can improve immune response,..

 There is a wealth of epidemiological evidence showing that people who are more active overall tend to have lower incidences of both acute illnesses (like infections) and chronic ones (like cancer and type 2 diabetes). Studies that have looked at how exercise affects the body on a cellular level suggest that bouts of physical activity may make our immune system more vigilant by distributing immune cells throughout  body to repair injuries . Spending time in nature has been shown to support mood, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and support immune system health. So, one can spend some time in the roof of house.
5. Alcohol Reduces Immunity:
Drinking high amounts of alcohol is associated with a range of negative health effects, including lowered immune function. while high amounts of alcohol drinking  body is too busy  to detoxify  to bother with normal immune system function,  High levels of alcohol consumption can weaken  body's ability to fight infection and slow down  recovery time. As a result, people who drink high amounts of alcohol face a greater likelihood of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease leads to cirrhosis which causes CAIDS( Cirrhosis associated immune deficiency state ) which is more immune compromised condition than AIDS. So during this crisis period alcohol consumption to be stopped.

6. Stop Smoking:
Like alcohol, cigarette smoking can also affect immune health. "Anything that's a toxin can compromise immune system," In particular, the chemicals released by cigarette smoke — carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium — can interfere with growth and function of immune cells, .Passive smoking is in fact more dangerous than active smoking. Distancing can reduce this affectively. 

Smoking also worsens viral and bacterial infections (especially those of the lungs, like pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis ), post-surgical infections, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

7.   Chronic Diseases:
Chronic conditions like Diabetes ,Asthma, Kidney disease and heart disease can affect the immune system and increase risk of infections. It is being observed world wide that Diabetes, asthma, heart disease or chronic kidney disease are common cause of morbidity and mortality among COVID 19 patients. Hence appropriate control of these s are very important.
Finally boosting immunity can help us to fight many diseases and probably COVID 19 too. It can be one of the many modalities  which can push the reset button of the body to fight all odds. This will help us to fight against many diseases today, tomorrow and day after,


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