by Dr. Bill Rawls
Posted 3/4/20

The coronavirus or COVID-19 has now gained a foothold in the United States, and misinformation about the illness is rampant. In this video, Dr. Bill Rawls explains who’s really at risk, which includes those with a weakened immune system, and shares information on how to protect yourself and natural ways to boost your immunity. He also offers some welcome solace for keeping your fears in check. Learn more about how the immune system works here.

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Video Transcript

Hello everyone, this is Dr. Rawls here with what you need to know about coronavirus.

Three months ago, nobody was talking about coronavirus. Now everybody’s talking about coronavirus, and the whole world’s in a panic about it — enough to crash the stock market and cause worldwide disruption.

This fire started about two months ago in Wuhan, China. And what’s important to know is, you’ve had coronavirus before. Actually most everybody’s had a coronavirus: Coronavirus is one of the most common viruses that causes the common, ordinary cold.

What’s different about this one is it skipped over from animals. So this virus is different in animal populations that have a different immune system from the human immune system. So it’s far into the human immune system, and we just don’t have the level of immunity to it that we have with your everyday coronavirus that circulates through human populations.

Now this one is being called COVID-19. Again, it started about two months ago in Wuhan, China, and it’s been traced to a live animal market there. And it’s good to report that China has actually taken action to start closing down these markets.

There has been long-term concern that these markets — with crowding in the animals and association between domestic animals and wild animals and people — are really just a hotbed for creating these kinds of viruses. So it is something that the world is starting to take action on and it’s a bit overdue, so thank goodness it is happening.

So what’s important about coronavirus, and specifically COVID-19, is we do have some immunity to it. The mortality from this thing is 3%, not 30% like past influenza epidemics that have occurred, like the flu epidemic of 1918, which was quite a bit more serious than this. The SARS epidemic that didn’t get very far some years ago from China was not as serious as this. But it spreads very easily and you can spread it without having symptoms, so it’s really getting around.

It’s really important to note that for most people, the respiratory symptoms aren’t that bad. It can apparently be just like an ordinary common cold for about half of people. But we really don’t understand why some people, a significant number of people are getting hit pretty hard with it and are developing a significant pneumonia.

It has to do with how deeply the virus goes into the lungs. Cold viruses stay up in our upper respiratory tract. Influenza goes down into the lung. SARS went deeply, deeply into the lung.

So this virus is not going as deeply into the lung, except in certain people. The hardest hit are people that are elderly and people who have a weak immune system, not surprisingly. But it’s not affecting children like influenza does, which suggests that our immune system does have immunity to this thing and will take care of it unless our immune system functions are disrupted.

As far as it spreading easily, the highest incidence is occurring in areas where there’s a high population density and crowding is a real problem. So China is a very crowded place and other spots in the world are places where they’re crowded. Rome is very crowded, Italy is developing a problem. There’s a high population density in Italy, so I think it’s going to be a little less concerning where population densities aren’t quite so high.

But don’t be mistaken, this thing will come to you. It’s going to blow across the world like a fast-moving wildfire, and it’s eventually going to blow itself out. By this time next year, we’re probably not going to be talking about coronavirus very much, and there will be drugs and vaccines available for it. So right now what’s happening, the concern is more associated with the panic that it’s causing then the actual virus.

And because this thing is so remarkably contagious, even if people don’t get severely sick, they do get sick. So you’ve got a lot of people in areas that are getting sick at one time, and it’s basically just shutting the infrastructure of that society down at that location until enough of the population gets through this thing and works out of it and develops immunity, which is happening now in China.

They’re starting to open the stores back up. It was interesting a couple of days ago, they announced that all the Starbucks, which had been completely closed in China, were all opened back up again. So people are getting over this thing, and they’re moving back into the workplace. They are getting beyond it in China. But as it moves around the world, we’re going to see that same phenomenon for weeks to months, we’re going to see disruption.

So what can you do to protect yourself? First thing is, don’t panic. That’s what’s really driving a huge part of this whole thing, is people panicking. So there’s no reason to panic. But there are things that you can do to protect herself.

Stay away from crowds. You get this primarily from respiratory contact. The virus travels in air droplets that travel through the air. So when people sneeze and cough, they’re blowing out active virus particles that are infected.

There’s some evidence that you can get it from contaminated objects. And so it’s really important to wash your hands, especially when you’re exposed to other people. So when you go out to public places, wash your hands when you’re there, you can use little alcohol wipes and that sort of thing, and really wash your hands very thoroughly when you come back inside.

Be very careful about touching your face because it has to be, you have to get it through respiratory, so it’s got to get into your nose or your mouth. So be careful about touching that.

Masks, we don’t know yet. There’s some thought that some of the better masks that painters use are filtering out the virus. But hey, look, viruses are really small. Here’s a perspective, all right?

If you think about one of our human cells, you can fit 500 to 1,000 bacteria inside a cell — bacteria are really, really small compared to our cells. Well, you can fit that many viruses inside a bacterial cell, so viruses are that much smaller than bacteria.

So these masks do a pretty pretty good job of filtering bacteria, not so much viruses. You might be able to cut it down a little bit. If you’re in a public place, you’re on an airplane, maybe it’s not a bad idea, it can’t hurt. So I think that’s okay.

The big thing is to keep your immune system strong, because it does look like if you’ve got a strong immune system and you’re healthy, you’re probably going to be able to get through this thing pretty easily if you get it.

Be really conscious about eating healthy. Now’s the time to really sharpen up your eating habits. Eat 50% vegetables, get away from the processed foods. All of these things, sugar disrupts your immune system, processed carbohydrates disrupt your immune system. So get beyond those things, it’s really important. Now is a great opportunity.

Get plenty of sleep. Best thing you can do for your immune system is get eight hours of sleep every night. Not six. Not seven. Eight, and restful sleep. Do the things in the evening that you can do to let your brain settle down so you can sleep well at night.

Exercise outside in natural places instead of indoor facilities. Now I go to yoga classes, I go to the gym and do these things, but I think we’re going to have to be more careful. I get outside every opportunity I get, because there are things in nature that heal. You’ve got negative ions and photons, and phytoncides that are produced in forests and open water, and these things are really good for us and they help our immune systems.

Get sunshine, or if you can’t get sunshine, take vitamin D, 5,000 to 10,000 units daily. Vitamin D is really important for your immune system.

And take herbs. Now herbs aren’t going to keep you from getting the virus, and they shouldn’t be considered a cure for the virus. But herbs can help keep your immune system strong. So taking herbs I think are really important. So I’ll get around in a minute to herbs that I think are important to take.

If you do get sick, lots of liquids, drink plenty, make sure you’re well-hydrated. Plenty of rest. Your body needs that downtime to help recover. And as far as good respiratory care, make sure you’re coughing it up, possibly using expectorants. You need to get that stuff moving so it doesn’t get seeded down into your lungs.

Things that can break up the mucus. Bromelain, which is a protein-digesting enzyme, breaks up mucus. So there’s certainly Guaifenesin and other things that break up mucus too, but Bromelain is one of my favorites. So take just a standard dose of Bromelain, I think it is really good.

Over the counter medicines, cough syrups, and that sort of thing can be helpful, especially just expectorants. Guaifenesin, I found, can have some pretty nasty side effects if you use it often, so be really careful about it.

Eating well. Simple, easy-to-digest foods like steamed vegetables and rice. I do buffered vitamin C in pretty high amounts, like 1,000 milligrams every hour or two for up to three or four times a day. I use the buffered form of vitamin C or Ester-C, because the regular vitamin C and those doses in that quantities can really mess up your stomach.

Zinc, from 20 to 40 milligrams a day, is really important.

And herbs. Top of my list is andrographis. Andrographis is a wonderful herb; tt has activity against influenza and a range of other viruses. I haven’t had a cold in probably 15 years because, or I would say, I’ve gotten the viruses, but I haven’t got sick with a cold, and I credit that to andrographis. I think it’s a wonderful herb.

Garlic extract. Now, not straight garlic, but the extract, so it doesn’t irritate your stomach. You want the allicin extract.

Reishi mushroom. All of your mushrooms, but especially reishi mushroom has antiviral properties, and it’s a great immune modulator, immune booster.

Chinese skullcap has some antiviral properties. So these are all some of my favorite herbs.

Other herbs out there that do stand worth mentioning: Isatis is very good. Cryptolepis has antiviral properties. Houttuynia has some antiviral properties. And then you hear a lot about and echinacea. Ecchinecia Augustafolia as opposed to the purpura has more, a stronger activity. And then ginger, I make ginger tea because it’s so soothing. It’s really nice.

And then essential oils. There are some really nice essential oils that have some good respiratory activity that reduce inflammation in the lungs. So you can use them as a steam bath and make steam machines, or you can put them in hot boiling water in a bowl and a wet towel over your head and breathe them in. Eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree oil are especially good.

So those are some things that you can do. Now they’re out there. There are a lot of people out there hoarding food. We don’t know how bad this is going to be. Again, if panic sets in and everybody’s hoarding from the grocery stores then yeah, then we may run out of some foods.

But I don’t see this in the United States as being the catastrophe that it has been in China. Maybe wrong on that one, but I don’t see it becoming quite as bad. I don’t think it’s going to really totally shut us down. I think it’s going to pass through more slowly.

And we’ve got spring coming, so as spring comes around and everybody’s getting outside more, these kinds of things tend to die out and burn out. Along the way, they’re probably going to be coming out with some antiviral drugs, and eventually they’ll have a vaccine against it. So I don’t foresee it. Again, you never know what the future’s going to bring, but I don’t foresee it as being quite the problem that influenza is. But definitely something to pay attention to right now.

I hope these tips have been helpful for you, and if I have any other updates, I’ll certainly bring them to you, but that’s all I have for today. Everybody take care, and stay well.

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.
You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.