Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources | Chris Kresser
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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused widespread disruption in our daily lives—and it will likely continue to do so. But even in the face of such uncertainty, it is possible to support your immune system, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and find opportunities to cultivate joy and resilience. Here’s the information and resources you need to prepare yourself and your family for COVID-19.

What Is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019, more commonly abbreviated as COVID-19, is a novel strain of coronavirus—a family of viruses that cause anything from the common cold to Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and spread worldwide. As of July 2020, more than 18.6 million cases have been confirmed globally (Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports that number has topped 19.1 million). More than 4.8 million cases have been reported in the United States, and global data suggest that number will continue to grow.

COVID-19 can be fatal, especially for those who:

  • Are 65 and older
  • Live in a long-term care facility or nursing home
  • Have another chronic illness like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, renal failure, chronic lung disease, or asthma

COVID-19 spreads easily through person-to-person contact and airborne respiratory droplets that are produced with a cough or sneeze. It’s also possible that the illness can spread by touching a surface where the virus is present (one study showed that COVID-19 can remain infectious on various surfaces for several hours to several days after exposure).

Additional Resources

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19, and How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

According to the CDC, symptoms can show up two to 14 days after exposure and may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

The CDC warns that emergency symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent chest pain or pressure
  • Confusion or the inability to arouse
  • A bluish tint to the lips or face

Since we’re dealing with a novel coronavirus (one that hasn’t been seen before), it’s difficult to identify a full list of symptoms. Other possible signs of COVID-19 are a runny nose or nasal congestion, aches and pain, tiredness or fatigue, or a sore throat. Digestive symptoms like diarrhea are also a possibility—one study suggests that almost half of people diagnosed with COVID-19 experienced digestive problems like loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Even a lost sense of smell has been identified as a possible sign of infection.

Notably, symptoms may be quite mild or may be missing altogether—but even those who are asymptomatic can still spread COVID-19.

Diagnosis can be done only through testing—and those tests are difficult to come by. Testing is done at the discretion of the healthcare provider, so if you think you may have COVID-19 and your symptoms are mild, it’s likely that your doctor will skip testing and direct you to self-quarantine and recover at home. Test results usually take a few days to come back, though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a rapid test for COVID-19 that can return results within an hour. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 (or who is sheltering in place on direction from their doctor) should remain isolated until they meet CDC guidelines.

There are no FDA-approved drugs available for COVID-19. For those with mild symptoms, treatment generally involves self-care at home, while people with more serious symptoms may need hospitalization and respiratory support.

Additional Resources

How to Protect Yourself against COVID-19 and Slow the Spread

To protect yourself against COVID-19, follow these tips provided by the CDC:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are currently sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily—that includes things like doorknobs, faucets, toilets, your computer keyboard and mouse, your phone, countertops, and anything else you touch frequently.

When it comes to slowing the spread of this pandemic, the best options we have are to:

  • Stay home as much as possible. Only leave your home for essential activities, to purchase needed supplies, etc.
  • Always practice good hygiene. If you do need to leave your home, wash your hands immediately after you return and follow the hygiene tips above.
  • Practice social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from others in public.
  • Avoid crowds. Many municipalities are placing formal restrictions on crowd size. If your city hasn’t yet taken that step, take it yourself and avoid large gatherings with others.

The steps above won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 entirely. Instead, they’re intended to flatten the curve, or reduce the quantity of cases we’re faced with up front so our healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Flattening the curve is something we can all do to help ease the burden on our healthcare workers and protect those who are most vulnerable to serious illness: the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

Find out more about preventing the spread of coronavirus and the steps you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection. 

More on Coronavirus and How to Protect Yourself

Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

RHR: An Update on COVID 19 and Gluten Intolerance, with Dr. Ramzi Asfour

In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I welcome back Dr. Ramzi Asfour on the podcast to discuss an update on COVID-19 before delving into celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and when it makes sense to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

RHR: COVID-19: My Thoughts on Where We Are Now, and Where We’re Headed

In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I’m joined by health coach Will Welch in a discussion about COVID-19. We talk about the challenges we’re facing as a culture, whether we succeeded in flattening the curve, what the end of the pandemic may look like, and much more.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

RHR: Everything You Need to Know about Coronavirus, with Dr. Ramzi Asfour

With its rapid spread, the coronavirus is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I talk with infectious disease specialist Dr. Ramzi Asfour about the coronavirus: what it is and how you can protect yourself against it.

Webinar Recap: How to Be Prepared for COVID-19

As COVID-19 rapidly spreads, it’s becoming more critical that you take protective action as early as possible. To that end, I held a live webinar on March 14, 2020, to discuss what we know about COVID-19, share information on what you can do to slow its spread, and answer your questions about the current situation. We’ve transcribed that webinar so you can use this information to keep yourself and your family as prepared and as healthy as possible.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

RHR: Updates on COVID-19 and Answers to Your Questions

As our understanding of COVID-19 develops, it becomes even more critical that you have access to the most up-to-date information. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I answer a variety of reader questions on COVID-19, covering everything from government response to the outbreak, to virus incubation periods, to Paleo-friendly pantry stocking options, and much more.
COVID-19 Prep

COVID-19 Prep: How to Stock up Your Paleo-Friendly Pantry and Freezer

How can you maintain a healthy Paleo diet without easy access to fresh foods? In this article, I discuss your options for COVID-19 prep and the best shelf-stable and frozen foods out there.
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How to Support Your Immune System and Maintain Your Health with Diet, Exercise, and Sleep

Taking steps to support your immune system may help you retain your health and, together with the hygiene and lifestyle tips above, prevent infection from COVID-19. Some functional foods and vitamins that may help support your immune system include:

It’s important to note that this novel coronavirus is not the same viral strain that causes the common cold (nor is it the same as flu-causing influenza). For that reason, we don’t know how even tried-and-true cold and flu treatments may work with COVID-19. For example, while propolis and high doses of vitamins A and D are often beneficial for your immune system and may help protect you against the common cold, some research suggests that may not be a good idea for COVID-19 prevention. It’s best to check with your doctor before supplementing, especially in current circumstances.

Overall, the best way to support your immune system is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That means ensuring that you’re:

  • Following a nutrient-dense diet
  • Getting enough restful sleep each night
  • Engaging in regular physical activity

If you’re already following a healthy, ancestral lifestyle, it’s important to continue. As the disruptions to your day-to-day life go on, you can use your existing healthy habits as a source of strength, resilience, and joy even in uncertain circumstances. If there is one aspect of your health that isn’t quite dialed in yet, we’ve collected resources for you below to help you along.

Here are the steps you can take to boost your immunity and enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise routine, and sleep pattern. 

How to Support Your Immunity

How to Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle

ancestral diet

What Is an Ancestral Diet and How Does It Help You?

What did our Paleolithic ancestors eat? While there was no “one” ancestral diet, they all shared common features. Find out what an ancestral diet looks like and how it can fight chronic disease.
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What Is Nutrient Density and Why Is It Important?

You’ve probably heard the term “nutrient density,” but do you know what it means? I’ll explain the concept of nutrient density and you can use it to choose the right foods for your nutrient needs.
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The Bountiful Benefits of Bone Broth: A Comprehensive Guide

Meat bones are used as a base for delicious stock. It is the secret to cooking great recipes. Learn more about bone broth and why you should make it a staple in your diet.
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The Nutrivore Diet: What a Healthy Diet Looks Like

A healthy diet should be nourishing and meet the individual needs of the person eating it, and the nutrivore diet checks those boxes. Find out more about what the nutrivore diet is in this article.
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Why You Need to Move Every Day to Get the Benefits of Exercise

To get the full benefits of exercise, you need to move every day. Find out how to swap your sedentary lifestyle for an active one and start moving like our active hunter–gatherer ancestors did.
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8 Tips for Beating Insomnia and Improving Your Sleep

Do you have trouble sleeping? Make sleep a priority by following these eight tips that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
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Why We Need Sleep, with Dr. Matthew Walker

We need adequate sleep, but it hasn’t always been clear why—and there’s still a lot we don’t understand about how our bodies rest. Dr. Matthew Walker has devoted his career to studying the subject of sleep and is now one of the foremost sleep experts in the world. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, Dr. Walker talks about why we need sleep, what it does for our health, what happens if we miss our shuteye, and more.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

Yes, You Still Need 7-8 Hours of Sleep—with Dan Pardi

In today's episode, Dan Pardi and I interpret the recent UCLA sleep study and discuss how it impacts those of us living in the industrialized world.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

RHR: The Benefits of Optimizing Your Sleep, with Dr. Kirk Parsley

I can’t emphasize it enough: sleep is crucial for your health. Lack of sleep impacts your cognitive function, performance, mood, memory, and much, much more. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I talk with sleep optimization expert and former Navy SEAL Dr. Kirk Parsley about the importance of sleep and the effect that optimized rest has on your life and your performance.
Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

How Sleep Temperature Improves Your Rest, with Tara Youngblood

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health, and optimizing your sleep temperature can have a major impact on the quality of your rest. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I talk with Tara Youngblood about the science of temperature regulation as a means of improving your sleep.
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Ancestral Health: What It Is and How It Can Help You

We’re living in a time of innovation, yet we’re sicker than ever before. Find out how ancestral health can halt or even reverse the chronic disease epidemic.
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How to Manage Stress and Build Your Resilience in Challenging Times

While we don’t yet know the full impact that COVID-19 will have on our daily lives, it’s safe to say that we will continue to feel the effects of this pandemic for some time, and we’re going to have to learn how to adapt to challenging circumstances. As public tensions rise, it has become more important than ever that we learn how to manage our stress levels, find time for pleasure and play, and build up our mental resilience to adversity.

Learning to manage your stress has far-reaching benefits, besides building up your mental resilience. High levels of chronic stress are linked to a number of chronic health conditions and can have adverse effects throughout the body, including the potential to weaken your immune system.

Mindfulness is one effective way to manage your stress. Regular mindfulness practice trains your mind to stay present without feeling consumed by thoughts and feelings. It builds your ability to take yourself out of autopilot and respond thoughtfully and deliberately to the world around you. Making time to experience joy—through taking part in an activity you find pleasurable, connecting with loved ones (even virtually, if needed), and engaging in play—can also help you feel less stressed.

For help managing your stress levels, taking a mindful approach, and cultivating joy and happiness, check out the resources below. Even if you’re new to these practices, keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and small, incremental progress will add up to greater change.

Here’s how to stay sane and cultivate joy, even in the most challenging moments. 

How to Build Resilience in Spite of Uncertainty

ADAPTing: Creating Health and Joy in the Face of Uncertainty and Challenge

The ability to cultivate joy and be resilient are important life skills at any time, but they are vitally important during times of crisis. I held a live webinar on March 24, 2020, to focus on tools and resources we all can use to build these skills and manage stress in difficult times. Join me as we focus on mindfulness, exercise, pleasure, connection, and being of service to others.
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RHR: Using Positive Psychology to Build Resilience, with Robert Biswas-Diener

The world is reeling from a number of intense events and, in these times of uncertainty, stress, and pain, it can seem gratuitous to talk about positive psychology. However, by recognizing the positive things that are happening in the face of great hardship, we can cultivate more resilience and joy. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I talk with Robert Biswas-Diener about why now is the right time to embrace positive psychology and how doing so can improve your well-being.
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RHR: Can We Be Improved by the COVID-19 Crisis? with Ryan Holiday

Can the principles of stoicism help us learn to adjust to the new normal presented by COVID-19? In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I’m joined by Ryan Holiday, writer, media strategist, and one of the world’s foremost thinkers on ancient philosophy. We talk about how to take a stoic approach to this crisis and even find opportunities to thrive.
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RHR: Finding Happiness and Joy in Any Circumstances, with Dr. Rick Hanson

COVID-19 has created a crisis for all of us, but we have the freedom to choose how we respond to it. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, Dr. Rick Hanson returns to discuss three practical steps that will help you get through adversity while finding ways to experience joy and happiness.
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RHR: Using Mindfulness to Manage Stress and Uncertainty, with Forest Fein

We are all experiencing increased stress, uncertainty, and fear in these difficult times. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, mindfulness teacher and Kresser Institute faculty member Forest Fein and I discuss how mindfulness can serve us to reduce anxiety and improve our well-being.
Taking a moment to complete a journaling exercise, like this woman is doing, is an easy way to use positive psychology to improve your mood.

How to Use Positive Psychology to Improve Your Health

Your emotions impact your health. The good news is that through positive psychology, you can retrain your brain to follow healthier, more beneficial emotional patterns and learn to let go of negative ways of thinking.
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How to “Hardwire Happiness,” with Dr. Rick Hanson

How do we build happiness, resilience, and gratitude? In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, Dr. Rick Hanson explains how the relationship between traditional Eastern wisdom, psychology, and neuroplasticity impacts our well-being and how embracing all three ways of understanding ourselves can lead to greater happiness.
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Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic State: How Stress Affects Your Health

If you’re chronically stressed, your body is spending too much time in the sympathetic state, rather than the parasympathetic. Find out the difference between these two states and the impact long-term sympathetic activity has on your health.
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We can't always avoid stress, but we can influence how it affects us. Learn the tools for changing how you experience it.
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My Top 5 Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief

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10 Benefits of Play

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How Relationships Affect Health—and How to Feel More Connected

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The Top Health Benefits of Green Space

Spending time outside can reduce your stress and bolster your mood, improve your cognition, lower your risks for chronic diseases, and help you live longer. Find out more of the health benefits of green space.
Book Recommendations to Help You Weather the Storm
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The Importance of Preventive Medicine

The CDC has identified some chronic illnesses as risk factors for serious complications from COVID-19. That is worrisome on its own, but it becomes even more serious when you consider that six in 10 American adults have a chronic disease, while four in 10 have two or more. Some of the specific illnesses the CDC called out are particularly prevalent:

  • Nearly 43 percent of American adults are obese. One report predicts that number will climb to one in two by 2030, while one in four people will be “severely obese.”
  • Around 12 percent of American adults, or more than 30 million people, have been diagnosed with heart disease.
  • More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and one in four don’t know they have it.

If ever there was a time to embrace a preventive medicine approach to public health, this is it

Functional Medicine and health coaching are centered on prevention and true healing. Functional Medicine is all about identifying the reasons why a person is experiencing a chronic illness—like a nutrient-poor diet, lack of sleep, or a sedentary lifestyle—and then addressing that root cause to promote real health. Health coaching is a model of care that’s focused on behavior change. Health coaches support people who are making lifestyle shifts and empower them to achieve their health goals. Taken together, Functional Medicine and health coaching provide a collaborative network of care for people who want to reverse a chronic illness—or prevent one from developing.

Learn more about how Functional Medicine and health coaching can prevent and reverse chronic disease and improve public health. 

How We Can Fight Back against Chronic Disease

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The Latest Updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019

As you know, this situation is rapidly changing. We want to keep our readers informed, so we’ve compiled a list of news articles and resources to help you stay up-to-date with the latest information about COVID-19. We’re updating this list regularly, so check back often.

Here are the latest developments and resources available on COVID-19. 

Resources, How-Tos, and Guides for COVID-19

Developing News about COVID-19

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