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Going viral: How germs spread

Going viral: How germs spread

, by Melissa McGinnis, 9 min reading time

In "Combating Coronavirus: Are you prepared for the flu this season?", we provided five preventative actions for Coronavirus.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day.
  2. Cover your cough with a tissue or the crook in your arm to prevent the spread of disease.
  3. Avoid touching your face to transfer germs to enter your body via your mouth, eyes, or nose.
  4. Disinfect commonly touched items including your keys, cell phone, computer keyboard, purse straps, door handles, and surfaces with either rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant spray.
  5. Avoid highly congregated areas and choose fist bumps or elbow touches to greet others instead of handshakes.

You should do your best to follow the steps listed above, however, this is often easier said than done. For example, try counting the number of times you touch your face in an hour—you'll likely be shocked. Even if you're proactively washing your hands and refraining from touching your face, it's difficult to completely avoid other people. Furthermore, you cannot trust that other people are following the guidelines. The upshot is that avoiding the pathogens is virtually unavoidable.

We've all seen it—someone coughs or sneezes and doesn't bother to cover their mouth and nose. Perhaps this person was standing right next to you. Serving as the direct recipient of someone's cough or sneeze is obviously bad (and disgusting), however, you don't have to be standing next to someone in order to breathe in their germs.

Did you know that the average sneeze or cough can send around 100,000 contagious germs (including influenza and respiratory viruses) into the air at speeds up to 100 miles per hour?

These respiratory droplets travel far and wide—as much as 26 ft away (University Health News)—and can stay suspended in the air for 10 minutes! That's enough for respiratory droplets to make it into the ventilation systems (MIT News).

Even if a person manages to fully cover their mouth and nose, they typically do so with their hands. Unless they wash their hand immediately afterward, they will undoubtedly pass on their germs to everything that they touch, including handrails, door handles, elevator buttons, and other people via the customary handshake or hug.

Despairingly, one study found that roughly 30 to 40% of people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, and a paltry 30-40% wash their hands after sneezing or coughing into them (American Society For Microbiology, 2000). Given this, we must depend on our internal immune system to rescue us from a contaminated world.

Your immune system takes care of you...help take care of it

Danger lurks outside our bodies. Our immune system is the frontline defense against the nasty viral and bacterial invaders that cause illness. Make sure to support your internal troops by supplying your body with the nutrients and probiotics it needs to perform at its best.

Your immune system is a complex conglomerate of cells, tissues, and friendly bacteria that requires a range of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Eating a clean and varied diet (full of whole foods, vegetables, and fruits), getting enough sleep, and reducing stress are keys to sustaining a healthy immune system. Too often, however, we consume excess sugar, stay up far too late, and feel stressed, which compromises our ability to combat the bad bugs and viruses.

Individuals with suppressed immune systems are significantly more likely to get sick and have more severe symptoms compared to those with robust and responsive immune systems. Older individuals or those who are currently sick also need extra care and support.

Don't disregard your health by neglecting your immune system.

Immune Boosters

Here's how you can give your immune system a much-needed boost.


Having a nutrient deficiency in your diet may limit your immune system's ability to fight infections. We don't always eat as well as we should. A complete multivitamin can help fill any gaps in your diet.

Optim Nutrition Essential One-Only Multivitamin

A mega-potency whole foods-based multivitamin designed to support health and nutrition as well as energy, digestion, immunity, and more. This complete, daily multivitamin offers 52 beneficial nutrients, as well as 18 amino acids and 15 trace minerals.

Optim Nutrition Supreme Liquid Multivitamin

This is a unique whole food fruit and vegetable antioxidant blend that promotes optimal body health and performance. It contains 25 extracts like Mangosteen, Grape Seed, Noni, and Blueberry, 71 trace minerals, including iron, copper, zinc and selenium, plus 23 amino acids.

Jubilee Multivitamin + Vitamin C for Kids

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Immune Nutrition

Several natural herbs and extracts, such as Elderberry and Oil of Oregano, may further bolster your immune system. Elderberry (also called Sambucus) is a natural remedy that has antiviral properties, particularly against different strains of influenza virus (NIH: Smbucol). Oil of Oregano has traditionally been used to help support immune system response and to maintain healthy intestinal flora.

The mineral Zinc is also important for immune functioning. Zinc ions are involved in regulating intracellular signaling pathways in innate and adaptive immune cells (NIH: Zinc).

Ultra Plan Immune Nutrition Supreme for Kids

This is a powerful—and berry tasty—blend of immune-enhancing nutrients: Vitamin C, Elderberry, Echinacea, and Propolis that will support your child's health.

Zhou Elderberry Syrup

This potent formula features immune-strengthening heavy hitters and superior antioxidants to help you maintain a strong defense.

Solaray Oil of Oregano

Native to the Mediterranean region, the oregano plant has been used in folk medicine and a spice for thousands of years. Oil of Oregano contains many volatile plant compounds that give it unique properties, including Carvacrol, Thymol, Terpenes, Rosmarinic Acid, Naringin and Beta-Caryophyllin.

Zand Herbal Lozenge with Echinacea Zinc

Formulated to help reduce discomfort associated with coughs and sore throats, each powerful lozenge is packed with 5 mg of Zinc which may provide support for healthy immune function.

Vitamin C

There's a reason people reach for the Vitamin C during the cold and flu season. Vitamin C, which is also a potent antioxidant, contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Notably, a deficiency in Vitamin C can impair immunity, making people more susceptible to infections. In turn, infections significantly impact Vitamin C levels due to enhanced inflammation and metabolic requirements (Nutrients, 2017). Vitamin C cannot be produced by the body, thus it must come from a balanced diet. Taking a supplement will ensure that you're meeting your daily requirements.

Ultra Plan Optim-C™

This is our advanced formula of Vitamin C that delivers a potent 600 mg of buffered, long-lasting Vitamin C with Alpha Lipoic Acid per serving. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a potent antioxidant that helps regenerate Vitamin C.

Jubilee Vitamin C Gummies

Treat yourself and your immune system to these delicious citrus-flavored, vegan-friendly gummies that provide 250 mg of Vitamin C.

Vitamin D3

Your bones crave Vitamin D3, but so does your immune system! Several epidemiological studies have linked inadequate vitamin D chronic infections and autoimmune diseases (Pharmacology). Unfortunately, Vitamin D can be difficult to obtain naturally. It requires spending time in the sun (which isn't exactly healthy for your skin) or eating foods rich in Vitamin D, which are few. Considering this, it's recommended to supplement your diet with Vitamin D3 in order to ensure proper immune functioning. Added bonus, your bones and lean muscle will thank you too.

Ultra Plan Vitamin D3 5000 IU

Each soft gel contains a surplus (1250%) of the Vitamin D3 (the body’s preferred form of Vitamin D) you need to support a healthy immune system.

Jubilee Vitamin D3 Gummies

This delicious peach flavor gummy is like eating pure sunshine. It contains 50 mcg (2000 IU) of Vitamin D3 (the body’s preferred form of Vitamin D).


Do you often feel bloated, constipated, or more generally uncomfortable after eating or as the day progresses? This is a sign that your digestive system may be depleted of beneficial bacteria. Without these friendly microbes, your body struggles to absorb essential nutrients and, importantly, it can impair the immune system. Current research suggests that the flora in our guts may play an important role in the immunoregulatory response. Its benefits may also extend to protection from viral infection (NIH: Probiotics).

Optim Nutrition Chime Probiotics Shelf Stable Essential Formula 10 Strains

Each serving of Chime Probiotics contains 50 billion live active cultures that work to restore digestive balance and relieve that uncomfortable feeling as well as support a healthy immune system. This formula uses patented packaging technology to keep the probiotics fresh and dry at room temperature. No refrigeration needed.

Optim Nutrition Chime Women's Formula 17 Strains

Uniquely designed to support the health needs of women. Inside each capsule, there are 17 beneficial strains of probiotics, including Lactobacillus reuteri– a strain of good bacteria shown to support vaginal health.

Optim Nutrition Chime Men's Formula 17 Strains

Designed to support men's health, shelf-stable and includes over 90 billion CFU, encapsulated in delayed-release veggie capsules, including Lactobacillus fermentum– a strain of good bacteria shown to support immune health during exercise and physical activity.


MIT News: http://news.mit.edu/2014/coughs-and-sneezes-float-farther-you-think

NIH: Echinacea: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea/ataglance.htm

NIH: Probiotics: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006993/

NIH: Sambucol (Black Elderberry): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

NIH: Zinc: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/

Nutrients (2017): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763

Pharmacology: DOI : 10.1016/j.coph.2010.04.001

University Health News. https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/eyes-ears-nose-throat/how-far-does-a-sneeze-travel/

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