Ebola: Stop it with Improved Immunity
Worried about Ebola? You’re certainly not alone.
The current Ebola outbreak is the most serious one since the virus was identified in 1976. There have been more than 4,500 fatalities in West Africa, with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia hardest hit.
While Ebola has turned up in Europe and the U.S., I don’t expect to see anywhere near those figures here, mainly because of our economic advantages and cultural differences.
For example, an African traditional burial often includes washing the body, a process that can expose healthy individuals to bodily fluids containing the active virus.
In addition, many people in these countries are malnourished, so their immune systems are already compromised, making them more susceptible to any virus.
Yes, there were missteps in the handling of the first Ebola patients in the U.S. early on.
But there’s no reason for the average American to panic about Ebola.
If Ebola remains a threat, it may become necessary to quarantine exposed individuals, a proven way to prevent spreading the disease.
In addition, I’d suggest avoiding public gatherings and hospitals, unless absolutely necessary. Why? Because that’s where the sick people are!
I don’t mean to be flip, but that’s the truth. This year, we health-care practitioners are likely to see not only patients with influenza and common colds, but also enterovirus D68—and possibly Ebola—all with somewhat similar symptoms.
Hospital staffs work hard to protect patients, but with so many different strains of bugs in the mix, things can go wrong.
For example, a new survey reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that one out of every 25 hospital patients developed at least one hospital based infection, including pneumonia and C. difficile, a bacteria that causes potentially fatal diarrhea.
Now with Ebola added to the picture, it’s important to be aware of specific symptoms involved in current health threats, so you can avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. Here’s what to look for:
FLU: Symptoms include a fever, usually of 100 degrees or more, sometimes accompanied by chills. Flu sufferers also experience body aches, coughing, sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.
ENTEROVIRUS D68: This particular bug has been infecting children more than adults this time around, often with disastrous results, including at least four deaths.
An ordinary, mild case of enterovirus D68 often looks like the flu or common cold, with coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and aches and pains. People with asthma are particularly hard hit by enterovirus D68, though, which can produce severe breathing problems.
EBOLA: It can take as long as three weeks—or as little as 2 days—for symptoms to appear after an individual is infected. Look for a high fever (over 103 degrees) that comes on fast.
Other possible symptoms include body aches and pain, headache, weakness, sore throat, bloodshot eyes, stomach aches, and lack of appetite. As the disease worsens, bleeding—external and internal—begins, along with easy bruising.
Although the initial symptoms of these illnesses are similar, note that sneezing and a runny nose are NOT typical Ebola symptoms.
As far as we know, the Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids (blood, vomit, diarrhea, and other secretions) from people who are ill. The disease can also be passed on via needles or medical equipment contaminated by these fluids.
But in spite of that, armed with some good, solid information, you can avoid these types of viral infections.
There are no remedies for flu, colds, or Ebola. But there things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming ill.
Start with careful, thorough hand washing, following this 3-step process:
- Using clean, running water, wet your hands and apply soap.
- Lather by rubbing your hands together, taking care to wash the backs of your hands, the underside of fingernails, and between fingers. Continue rubbing your soapy hands together for about 20 seconds.
- Rinse the soap from your hands with clean water and dry them, either on a clean towel or in the air.
If you’re not near soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative. But avoid those made with Triclosan, a chemical that weakens your immune system.
Meanwhile, avoid touching your face with your hands throughout the day. Studies have shown that the average person touches their eyes, nose, or mouth about 17 times each hour—and each touch is another opportunity for germs to enter your body.
The next step in preventing viral infections is to create a foundation for good health with a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, including lots of organic fruits and vegetables, and plenty of fresh, filtered water.
Supplement with 2,000 to 4,000 mg of vitamin C daily. This vitamin has been proven in animal studies to eliminate flu virus in the lungs and reduce lung inflammation.
I also recommend getting plenty of vitamin D3 this winter, starting with at least 1,500 IUs daily. Vitamin D3 fights inflammation, helps manage blood pressure, and keeps bones strong, all while supporting a healthy immune system.
Nearly everyone I see is deficient in vitamin D3, even though it’s crucial to good health. Now a new study shows that this nutrient protects against infections of all types, including flu, pneumonia, and much more.
Curcumin supplements fight off inflammation and viruses, too, while improving overall health. I recommend taking 500 mg of a product with enhanced bioavailability one to three times daily.
In addition, aim for at least seven to eight hours of deep, restful sleep each night. If you have sleep problems, melatonin supplements can help you get the sleep you need while strengthening your immunity with its antioxidant abilities.
Following these guidelines can help keep you healthy and out of the hospital—and that’s always a good goal to aim for.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: October 30, 2014