Sunday, 29 March 2020


Although there is a massive amount of information online about how to protect ourselves from catching the Coronavirus, there is very little about how to prepare our bodies to give us the best chances of surviving if we do catch it.  

This lack of information is no trivial matter, since it's estimated that 80% of us will eventually become infected.    If our bodies are even only marginally better prepared to deal with the virus, it could make the difference between the need for home-treatment and hospital treatment, between an ordinary ward and intensive care, and between intensive care and the morgue.  

If everybody were in better shape to fight the virus once they caught it, then the pressure on the Health Service would decrease.

In an attempt to plug this gap, the Centre for Perioperative Care is distributing advice encouraging people to take brisk exercise, stop smoking, maintain good nutrition and mental health and have alcohol free days to reduce their chances of becoming severely ill from the virus and over-burdening the NHS.

There may be additional actions we could take, based on what we know about vulnerable groups and those that aren't badly affected.

We know diabetics are badly affected, but what about all the undiagnosed and prediabetics in the population who have unhealthily high blood sugar ?   Might there be a case for giving advice to cut down generally on high-GI foods ?   .

Diabetics obviously need to take extra care to keep their blood glucose under control in this emergency  .  Type 2 diabetics might consider weight loss to get rid of the problem completely

Children don't usually get severe symptoms, but the elderly do. The difference is presumably due to the deterioration of the  immune system with age.

There's scientific evidence that stress impairs the immune system, and meditation techniques may counteract this problem...


The current pandemic is a once in a century bonanza for quacks, shysters, confidence tricksters, scammers etc.   Social media is full of adverts for magic elixirs which will boost/cleanse/purify/empower/rejuvenate the immune system. Most of these are useless, and some could be harmful.

In fact, only the following minerals and vitamins are known to be necessary for optimal immune function...

Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin A
Vitamin E
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
..and possibly dietary vegetable fiber.

Most of these will be present in a varied balanced diet, but Buddhists need to be aware that vegetarians and vegans may struggle to get enough B12 and zinc.  The elderly may need additional zinc and vitamin E.

Since cheap multivitamin and mineral supplements are available from supermarkets and pharmacies, there's no need for expensive snake oil.

However don't overdo supplements. Some of these vitamins and minerals are toxic in large quantities. More here..

It isn't just the scammers who are selling snake-oil.  The anti-vaxxers are particularly peeved by the Coronavirus pandemic, as it is giving a hard lesson to a public grown complacent,  on what happens when you can't vaccinate.  As a result, anti-vaccination activists and other cranks are distributing all kinds of disinformation, including useless and possibly harmful quack remedies.

Please do not circulate any advice about Coronavirus, no matter where it claims to come from, unless it links back to its source, which should be a legitimate government organisation, a respectable academic institution, a registered charity or a reliable news organisation such as The Guardian or BBC.  Beware of bogus 'medical' websites set up by anti-vaxxers, quacks and other scammers.


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