pneumonia: 10 things that can improve the outcome

So, things got awfully real lately, and we’re hearing about coronavirus everywhere. Many of us begin wondering, can anything be done to improve the outcome of this infection. Yes, there are ways to improve the course of this infection.

First of all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why we already discussed the supplements and health hacks that can help strengthen the immune system. In today’s post, we will focus on reducing the specific risks brought on by covid-19.

The main concern with the current virus is severe pneumonia, where the patient’s lungs begin to fill up with fluid in response to inflammation. That becomes a serious problem, if the patient’s organism has trouble clearing excess phlegm. The main goal in this case is to recover without the help of ventilators, which are in short supply at the hospital.

Severe cases of pneumonia mostly develop due to preexisting conditions, like asthma and COPD. Other risk factors include smoking/vaping, and poor self-care.
When it comes to self-care during an infection, most people tend to take a passive approach, rather than working to actively improve their condition.
So, what can one do to improve the outcome of a coronavirus infection, or any acute respiratory infection for that matter?

1. Hydrate

It is important to understand that with any inflammatory process, especially pneumonia, hydration is vital. This includes receiving adequate amounts of electrolytes (just water is not sufficient for proper hydration, especially during excessive sweating or digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting.) With proper hydration, any secretions in bronchi or lungs will be easier to expectorate (cough up.) This could mean a difference between needing a ventilator and not.

Make sure the fluids you consume are very warm and don’t contain caffeine. It’s important to sip your drinks every 15 minutes, instead of chugging down large amounts at once. If you are not used to consuming a lot of fluids, don’t overwhelm your body by suddenly flooding it with gallons of water. Begin adding more liquid gradually, 1-2 additional cups every day until you work up to the optimal level.

How much water do you need a day? According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, it’s 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11.5 – for women.

Steam inhalations are also a good way to support your respiratory system. I have to caution, however, that is it easy to receive burns to your skin or airways with excessive heat, so moderation is important. Make sure that you are not too close to the source of steam and if you feel too much heat, take breaks.

Another tool worth mentioning is a humidifier. We tend to exhale a lot of water, and if the air we breathe is dry, we will get increasingly dehydrated.


2. Sleep more

This suggestion is obvious. Our organism does its best work at repairing and restoring health during deep sleep. To that end, make sure you stop taking your fluids a couple hours before your bedtime.


3. Move it

Another important step is to encourage the circulation of the lymph. Our lymphatic system works relentlessly to carry toxins out of the organism. But, unlike our cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have its own heart to push it around: it entirely relies on the position and movement of the body.

That’s why, if you feel well enough, make sure to regularly get up and do some walking or gentle exercises, moving as many muscles as you can. If you don’t feel up to that, try to constantly alternate between sitting and laying down in various positions, including tilted and slightly inverted, as in Postural Drainage (see below.)


4. Eat right

One other way to help your lymphatic system is by avoiding foods that can clog it up with excess mucus: dairy, starchy foods, bananas, eggs and meat. By the same token, foods like lemon and apple cider vinegar cut mucus and help loosen the phlegm. You can find lists of foods to eat and avoid here.

Anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements like Omega3, turmeric, cayenne pepper, oil of oregano and others, can also help reduce the amount of secretions and streamline the work of the immune system.

To help your organism stay strong, avoid starving yourself or overeating. The latter may sound redundant, because typically pneumonia has an appetite-suppressing effect. But for what it’s worth, eat smaller, easy to digest meals, to reduce the load on your organism that is already strained by fighting off the infection.

One thing to take with caution are cough drugs. According to webmd.com, studies failed to prove that common OTC medications like dextromethorphan and guaifenesin, help with cough. Besides adding unnecessary chemical load to your body, these drugs can cause unwanted side effects.

Instead of drugs, consider taking natural remedies, like honey, ginger, turmeric, sage, licorice, peppermint, ivy leaf, chicken soup, cayenne pepper, garlic and others.


5. Breathe!

Yes, you are encouraged to learn how to breathe! That might be an odd suggestion, but you can really aid your lungs and bronchi by training your respiratory system. Using deep, diaphragmatic breathing techniques can help expand your lungs and receive more oxygen.
Another way to improve lung function is aerobic exercise, which is best done as prevention – before you get sick. If your health allows, increase the intensity of your workout, until you reach the level of exertion where your breathing is labored and you can’t comfortably maintain a conversation.

While dealing with inflammation, you can practice Active Cycle of Breathing technique, which is aimed to clear excess mucus from lungs.


6. Gargle

Gargling helps remove any postnasal drip and sputum that causes irritation and additional coughing. For this purpose, you can use warm water with one of the following: lemon, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, a few drops of tea tree oil and or sage, chamomile and even olive oil, when your throat feels irritated.


7. Huff and puff

When trying to get rid of excess phlegm, remember that coughing can irritate airways and even cause damage to lungs. So, in essence, we need to be stingy with our coughs. What does that mean?

You can use special breathing and huffing techniques that help gradually move secretions from the bottom of the lungs upwards, and then expel them without excessive coughing. You can see a tutorial here.


8. Use good vibrations

Applying gentle percussion and vibration to the chest and back helps loosen and dislodge the sputum, making it easier to move it up and out. I will post more about this in the upcoming days.


9. Postural drainage

One of the oldies but goodies in pneumonia care is postural drainage. It is an easy practice of changing your body position to help the lungs to move phlegm upwards, from where it can be easily coughed up. Each posture needs to be held for a minimum of five minutes. You can find information about postural drainage on healthline.com, physiotherapy-treatment.com and other professional websites.


10. Accentuate the positive

This is not just a well-wish. Experienced physicians know that patient’s recovery rate is increased when they feel emotionally comfortable and supported. Watch silly and funny videos, listen to pleasant music or audio books. Nothing heavy or very emotional, even if it’s cathartic.
Reach out for emotional support over the phone or video chat. If you feel lonely, there is a variety of free services and online groups that offer support and encouragement to people in distress caused by the pandemic.

So, take care of yourself, stay informed and stay positive!

With all this said – I hope you will keep away from all bugs out there and end up not needing the above advice!

Much love!

Tamara Eristavi is a wellness coach, based in Irvine, Califorina.


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COVID advice from Chief Medical Officer

This is an important message from Chief Medical Officer, Assistant Clinical Professor in University of California, Irvine:

“…There are FOUR different bugs going around now plus the threat of Covid. Let’s look at each…
1. A bacterial infection is currently on the rise-sore throat, productive cough, fever, maybe sinus symptoms. If you are fit and healthy, it may wear itself out in 3-5 days. If you are very young or very old, frail, or sickly, it may lead to pneumonia or sepsis. An antibiotic is effective, and we may be able to swab for it, or do a blood test or xray to make an accurate diagnosis.
2. A viral syndrome with low grade fever, sneezing, cough, can be difficult to differentiate from a bacterial one at first. Even an experienced provider may need testing to tell the difference. It is usually less serious and runs its course over 2-3 days. Antibiotics do not work for a typical virus. We are seeing a fair number of these cases now, on par with this time of year.
3. NEITHER of these are the “flu”. Influenza is a totally separate animal. High fevers, aches, abdominal distress, dry cough, and feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck are common symptoms. It can be diagnosed via a swab in the office. There are special influenza antibiotics (eg Tamiflu) that help reduce the symptoms and duration. The “Flu” seems to have peaked and even gone in Orange County for 2020. In my personal practice we haven’t had a positive case since Feb 15th. The Health Department confirms we should see very few new flu cases in March.
4. Covid-19 begins as a typical viral illness- sneezing, coughing, low grade fever. But there are serious differences.
Fortunately, we have not had a lot of cases in Southern California–at least not officially diagnosed. But the virus can be spread for two weeks before symptoms appear. In that time, hundreds of people have been put at risk. It is spread by droplets, so simply being near an infected person can spread it if they cough or sneeze. And the 88,000 cases (as of this writing) is misleading since those are CONFIRMED cases. At least 10 times that number have occurred but just not tested for.
There is hope that as a cold weather bug, it will fade away with warmer weather. Yet it is still growing at over 1,000 cases a day being reported world wide; the same number as late January when it first appeared. If more kits were available, you can estimate how many new cases are actually occurring.
To hear an official say “we have this under control” is irresponsible. To hear people on social media say “There were more flu deaths, life goes on” is just idiotic. For one thing, the flu deaths were over an entire season. This pandemic has just begun.For another, would these same people take a vacation to beautiful downtown Baghdad? Stroll thru the streets of Sinaloa Mexico? Of course not because we know that is dangerous. Covid 19 should also be considered dangerous.
What is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? An epidemic refers to a condition spreading rapidly. A pandemic is an epidemic spreading throughout the world. We are now in a pandemic. The flu was not a pandemic.
As CMO, I am advising the following measures for our patients at least thru March:
1.If you are sick, don’t travel. In fact don’t leave the house if possible. Of course this is always common sense. But now you run the risk of being quarantined if it is considered possible you harbor Covid 19. Many countries are screening passengers for even low grade fever. Flight attendants are instructed to report anyone they feel is showing signs of infection. If you have a fever you will be detained. and not just sent home, but put in isolation.
2. If you are not sick, but very young, very old, frail, or sickly avoid ALL non-essential travel, or areas where crowds circulate. That means malls, theme parks, churches, even ball games. Going to a school or office may only expose you to dozens of close contacts. But a crowded day at Disney will expose you to THOUSANDS of people who may be incubating Covid.
If you are fit and relatively healthy, use common sense. Avoiding crowds and non essential travel may seem like overkill but it isn’t just about protecting you- its keeping an unknowing carrier from spreading the virus to thousands of uninfected people. We do not advise staying home from work or school, but if you can cancel that trip to Europe or postpone the day to Universal Studios, it will go a long way to stopping the spread and protecting yourself and your family.
3. If you do travel in March, realize there is a high chance of disrupted travel. You may be not allowed to leave your area or be house confined. Bring your own thermometer, your own cold meds, and an extra supply of your prescription meds in case you are stuck somewhere for weeks. Have documentation of your health insurance with you. Realize you may find tourist venues closed, events canceled, and long lines at areas where screening is going on.
4. Common sense dictates frequent hand washing. Remember the rule is to wash singing “Happy Birthday” to allow enough time to wash. If you are using hand sanitizers like Purell, five seconds is sufficient. Avoid touching other people if possible, maybe a thumbs up instead of shaking hands. Prepare your own meals as much as possible. If you must cough or sneeze in public, cover the face or turn away. Normal face masks are insufficient to block Covid–you’ll need to look for N 95 masks. But if your coughing enough to need the mask –STAY HOME! If you are wearing the mask to protect yourself its probably not necessary if you are fit and healthy.
5. If you feel you may have one of those three conditions at the beginning of this blog, DO NOT ignore it. Use house Calls or video visits to talk to your provider. If you feel you must come to the office, alert us so we can swab you or draw your blood in the comfort of your car. If you need to be seen in an exam room, you will be escorted thru the lobby if you alert us in advance. ALL respiratory type infections should be seen and worked up during this crucial time. Covid testing is done at the health dept.
IF World wide screening is effective
IF everyone follows these FIVE simple rules
IF Covid is a cold weather bug only
The pandemic will be history. Otherwise we may witness a pandemic unseen in our lifetimes.
Gregg DeNicola MD
Chief Medical Officer”

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6 supplements that help fight viral infections

With COVID-19 being on the front pages, I would like to share about supplements that can help you protect yourself by boosting your immune system. This is just an abbreviated information sheet and is not intended to replace medical advice.
As always, you are encouraged to check with your physician and do your research to see how compatible these supplements are with your specific organism. Stay healthy!

1. VITAMIN C (Ascorbic acid)

Surely, the virtues of Vitamin C are familiar to most. It participates in a long list of vital functions of human organism. Its ability to fight free radicals prevent viral infections and inactivate viruses.
During an active infection, or inflammatory processes, Vitamin C is quickly depleted and the demand for it raises sharply. A daily dose of 1,000mg can be taken short-term, to help your body fight the infection. In a long run, too much Vitamin C may cause kidney stones.

2. QUERCETIN

Quercetin is a dietary flavonoid and more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta carotene. Benefits: reduces inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Beneficial in promoting brain health, protecting against allergies, and cancer. Fights the harmful free radicals (the environmental factors.)
Please note that Quercetin should not be taken for more than 3 months in a row, otherwise its accumulation can have a negative effect on your health.

Food sources: capers, red onions, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, apples, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, grapes, black tea, green tea, red wine, and some fruit juices.

SUPPLEMENTAL QUERCETINE: Most healthy individuals will benefit from taking 500mg of Quercetin daily to reduce environmental effects. The most bioavailable form is Quercetin dihydrate, however it’s still not very easy to metabolize. Niacin (vitamin B3, availabie in most multi-vitamins) has been known to improve the absorption of Quercetin.


3. VITAMIN D3 (Cholecalciferol)

A steroid hormone, essential to survival. Most people, even in California, are deficient. Benefits: reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, depression, as well as flu, viral infections and pneumonia. It also promotes weight loss and reduces appetite.

Natural sources: sunlight.
Food sources are few: salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, milk (fortified), cereal (fortified), yogurt (fortified), orange juice (fortified)

SUPPLEMENTAL VITAMIN D3: the FDA recommends 600-800IU. A typically prescribed daily dose is 25mcg (1,000IU.)
(!) However, please note that vitamin D increases demand for vitamin K2. Otherwise, calcium will be leached out of bones and eventually deposited on the artery walls threatening with strokes and heart attacks.
K2 has to be taken along with D3, at a ratio of about 1/4-1/8 (for every 25mcg of Vit D3 take 100-200mcg Vit K2.)

4. OREGANO OIL

Oil of Oregano is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant, analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. Oregano oil has been shown to inhibit viruses and bacteria in vitro. May reduce pain and LDL cholesterol levels.

Food sources: oregano is a flavorful herb that can enhance the taste and add variety to your meals. However, small amounts we typically use in cooking, will not make a big difference in your health.

SUPPLEMENTAL OREGANO OIL: is available in tincture, essential oil or capsules. I recommend capsules, since this oil itself is very spicy and can burning your esophagus. Optimal dosage is not determined. A dose of 1,500mg a day is considered generaly safe. However, it is counter-indicated to pregnant and lactating women.
When taking Oregano oil, make sure to take at least a 7 day break after every three weeks of use.

You can also use this oil for inhalations, to treat upper respiratory illnesses.

5. VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine can reduce duration and severity of viral infections. It lowers triglycerides and balances LDL and HDL cholesterol. May prevent heart disease, boosts brain function, improves skin function, reduces arthritis.

Food sources: beef, liver, dried milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast. The following foods can be fortified with B1: rice, pasta, breads, cereals and wheat flour.

SUPPLEMENTAL: available in most multivitamins

Tamara Eristavi is a wellness coach, based in Irvine, Califorina.

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fight viruses naturally

I would like to share some tips that can help you you stay happy and healthy during this flu season. Whereas these suggestions will not guarantee protection from getting sick, they will help improve your health and strengthen your immune system.

– wash or sanitize your hands often and don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands
– breathe only through your nose
– do your best to reduce stress and stay positive 😊
– get PLENTY OF SLEEP on a regular basis
– gargle your throat a few times a day (you can add tea tree oil or echinacea)
– exercise moderately on a daily basis (heavy workouts lower your immunity) and make sure you break a sweat
– take hot showers daily (raising body temp kills viruses) with a contrast shower in the end (contrast shower boosts immune system)
– you can try coating the inside of your nose with coconut oil to prevent virus from landing on the mucous membrane

NUTRITION:
– stay hydrated
– try intermittent fasting (it resets the immune system)
– avoid sugars and processed foods
– lots of fresh foods, including ginger, onions, lemons
– lots of garlic (it’s effective raw and cooked, but not over 140F)
– honey, especially Manuka
– bee pollen (begin with very small amounts, to avoid an allergic reaction)
– Natural immunomodulators like Lauricidin, Rhodiola Rosea and Ginseng
– vitamins, especially C and D
– probiotics
– teas: green, ginger, echinacea, herbal immune support and detoxing combinations

Stay healthy! Protect yourself and those around you ❤

Tamara Eristavi is a wellness coach, based in Irvine, Califorina.

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foods that can affect the course of inflammatory diseases

Normally, production of mucus is part of a healthy inflammatory response. Our body uses mucus to envelop and isolate harmful particles, which then get ushered out via the elimination system or coughing.

In acute cases, where time is of essence, and the patient’s organism needs help with elimination, it is smart to avoid the following foods:

  1. Meat
  2. Dairy
  3. Butter
  4. Margarine
  5. All grain products
  6. Avocados (I know, unexpected!)
  7. Bananas
  8. Cabbage
  9. Potatoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Soy products
  13. Tree nuts and peanuts
  14. Foods, containing added sugars
  15. Soft beverages
  16. Liquor
  17. ANY PROCESSED FOOD (including smoked products)

The good news is, certain foods tend to help cut mucus and phlegm, and it would be a great idea to add them to your diet while fighting inflammation. Here they are, listed in no particular order:

  1. Ginger
  2. Lemon
  3. Apple cider vinegar
  4. Broth
  5. Fish
  6. Vegetables (except the above)
  7. Leafy greens
  8. Citrus
  9. Onion
  10. Garlic
  11. Honey (Manuka is superior)
  12. Cayenne pepper
  13. Chamomile
  14. Olive oil
  15. Walnuts
  16. Pumpkin seeds

Tamara Eristavi is a wellness coach, based in Irvine, Califorina.

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