June 1, 2020

Getting Victory Over the Virus

It seems the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). Here are a few simple and practical ways we can gain victory over viruses, whether influenza or corona. 

An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, and since the only way to get infected is from someone else, avoid physical contact and maintain a six-foot distance around others. The virus can survive for days on surfaces, so wash your hands after touching any surface where others might have left it behind. The virus does not infect our hands, but our hands can infect us when we touch or rub our face, eyes, nose or mouth. Use disposable gloves when in contact with potentially infected people, places or things. Wash your hands after discarding the gloves, and always before touching your face.  

If the virus does catch us, it will be up to our immune system to fight it off, so let's do all we can to keep it strong and healthy. This includes a good diet with plenty of whole (unprocessed) plant foods, and without refined products like sodas, sugar, oils, animal fats (bacon, cheese), candies and pastries. 

Get plenty of sleep, going to bed well before midnight. Take time for a stress-reducing daily devotional and a brisk walk in the fresh air and sunshine. Eat a hearty, whole-grain breakfast with plenty of fresh fruit and a serving of delicious beans to "top off your tank" and keep you going all morning. Take a generous lunch but little or no supper to give your body optimal rest and keep it “lean and mean.”  

The COVID-19 virus attacks the delicate cells lining the tiny air sacks in the lungs (alveoli). Let’s keep our lungs strong and healthy with regular outdoor exercise in the fresh air and sunshine. In general, aim for 10,000 steps per day (~4 miles), but work up to it gently. If you have health issues that make such a level unwise, keep your activity levels reasonable (check with your doctor when in doubt). 

Keep essential nutrients at peak levels by ensuring adequate levels of vitamins D and C. Many individuals need ~2000 IU vitamin D per day during the winter months. Strict vegetarians and older adults should consider taking a daily Vitamin B-12 supplement (1000 mcg is a typical dosage). Raw Brazil nuts provide important selenium and healthy fats. Ensure adequate, immune-enhancing zinc with a liberal intake of nuts and seeds (or no more than 25 mg of zinc supplementation daily). Zinc lozenges can help  shorten cold symptoms.  

The last pandemic similar to the present one was the Flu in 1918‒1919. That pandemic killed millions around the globe. We’ve learned a lot since then, but we must be careful to apply it if we want to do any better. Seventh-day Adventists were known as champions of natural remedies, including the use of hydrotherapy, to fight disease. Records suggest that using abstemious diet, bed rest and diligent hydrotherapy (fomentations) was far more effective than what Army hospitals used, as well as other well-respected hospitals.1  

The Hutchinson Leader of December 13, 1919, reported on the amazing experience with the Spanish flu at what was then the Hutchinson Adventist Seminary located in Hutchinson, Minnesota: “On the authority of the Hutchinson city health officer, Dr. Fred Sheppard, it may be stated that no public institution in the State of Minnesota has up to date made a record in handling influenza . . . like that [of the seminary].” With 120 students and faculty under one roof, 90 developed symptoms and were treated carefully with hygienic medicine, including hydrotherapy, by Dr. H.E. Larson and his staff. “As a result of this system of handling a disease that is scoring thousands of victims every day, there has not been one case that could have been called serious, or a single death in the Seminary, although there were more than 90 persons affected. The record is remarkable. It makes the ordinary methods of dealing with flu appear irrational.”2 (We could not agree more!)  

One simple hydrotherapy treatment is a daily hot-and-cold shower. By mobilizing white blood cells, experts believe it makes them more available to fight disease. After showering, before turning off the water, increase the water temperature to "hot" (~104–112°F) for 2 to 3 minutes and then turn it down to "cold" (<55°F) for 30-45 seconds. Repeat this 3 to 4 times and end with a brief cold. Dry off briskly and dress warmly to avoid any chill. (Those with impaired sensation due to diabetes or other conditions should keep the “hot” temperature ≤ 104°F.)  

Last, but certainly not least, it’s always best to eat right from our own garden. Present circumstances suggest it may be wise to have an abundant garden this year so as to not only enjoy the freshest and most local produce, but also to help assure that we do not experience a food shortage. Inspired counsel encourages us to have a garden where we can grow our own fruits and vegetables (AH 139.6).  

Check out the following online content for more practical ideas for getting victory over the virus:  

Fomentations #2 (Uchee Pines)  

Corona virus (Bachelor & Nedley)  

Corona virus information (3ABN)  

1Life & Health, May 1919, Vol. 34, No. 5. Review and Herald Publishing Assn., Takoma Park, Washington D.C.  

2Northern Union Reaper, Dec, 17, 2018, Vol. 13, Issue 39, pg. 2. Northern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Northern Union, Minneapolis, Minn., USA.  

John Kelly, MD, MPH, LM Specialist  Oak Haven Health, Pullman, Mich.   Adjunct Faculty, Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University