Parents all over the world are worried about sending their kids back to school, and for good reason. We are in the midst of a pandemic that changed our world overnight, literally! Some people are fearful and some are not, but we all just want the unbiased science-backed data! We invited research microbiologist Kiran Krishnan to the podcast to give us an update on the situation. He shared five things you MUST know about COVID before school starts!
Listen in as Amanda gets all the details from Kiran!
Love reading? We’ve got you! We put together an overview of Amanda’s interview with Kiran. For full details, be sure to listen to the podcast!
Back-to-school time is typically filled with anticipation and excitement for parents as well as kids! We look forward to the routine and, if we’re being honest, a little quiet time. 😉
But this year is different. COVID has changed everything and instead of looking forward to a new school year, many parents feel anxiety over tough choices regarding their kids’ education. Whether you’re back to in-person school, distance learning, homeschool, or something else entirely, there are important things every parent should know about COVID.
5 Things You MUST Know About COVID Before School Starts
1. COVID doesn’t really affect kids
The epidemiological data shows that kids don’t really spread COVID. Even if they get it, the evidence suggests they don’t spread it.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
The coronavirus goes after a certain type of receptor in the cells that are associated with high degrees of inflammation. Inflammation and disease go hand in hand—that’s why people with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc., are at much higher risk for more serious infection. The virus goes after these vulnerabilities.
Kids have far fewer of these vulnerabilities, meaning they don’t have as many “target” cells. Even if kids DO get it, the virus can’t multiply as well in their cells, which means they don’t produce a lot of virus. Simply put, kids aren’t good spreaders.
A study out of China followed 371 family cases of COVID. They found that in 370 cases, the kids got it from the adults. In one case they suspected child to adult transmission.
According to this information, kids going back to school is low risk. In fact, other countries that have opened school back up have NOT seen a surge in COVID cases.
2. Not everyone who gets COVID can spread it—even adults
We know that kids are not good COVID spreaders, but even in adults, not everyone who gets it can spread it! Only about 20% of people who get the virus can spread it. The other 80% aren’t a big risk factor.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
Infection can occur in different parts of the body, so it really depends on WHERE in the body the virus is! If it’s in the upper respiratory tract (symptoms might include sniffles, sneezing, and coughing), and the virus is growing in the lungs, that person is likely to expel virus particles when they talk, cough, sneeze, etc.
If the virus is in the blood or the gut, the virus won’t be expelled the same way—which means it probably won’t be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, etc., in those people.
It’s important to note that the virus doesn’t replicate at the same rate in everyone. As it uses our cells to replicate, each person’s vulnerabilities will determine how well the virus replicates in them.
Low inflammation = low replication.
3. Nasal swab tests have an error rate of about 40%
You read that right—a 40% error rate! There are two reasons for this.
Timing. If you get tested too early you won’t have enough viral load in the nasal area to give a positive result. It usually takes a couple of days after symptoms develop to be testable.
If you have it, it might not be replicating in the area being tested. You could have COVID but not in your nasal cavity, but if that’s where the test sample is taken, it will show a negative result.
There is another testing option! The stool test can detect the virus in stool BEFORE it’s detected by the swab test. It’s actually detected in the stool two weeks LONGER than it can be detected by the swab! Find an at-home stool test here.
Please note: no test is 100% accurate.
4. Masks DO help
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is mainly spread through upper respiratory droplets and aerosol. Upper respiratory droplets come out of your mouth when you laugh, sneeze, talk, cough, etc. They are bigger and tend to fall to the ground quickly. Aerosols are much finer particles that can hang in the air much longer, up to three hours. When you wear a mask it will capture some of that as it leaves your mouth and nose.
Studies now show that if you’re wearing a mask and walk through a cloud of virus, it will reduce the amount of virus you breathe in.
It takes about 1,000 viral particles to make you sick. If you’re exposed to smaller amounts of the virus, it won’t be enough to allow the virus to replicate enough to make you sick BUT it may be enough to trigger your immune system to practice fighting the virus.
Interesting note I: 40% of the spread of the virus is from asymptomatic and presymptomatic people. This means it’s important to wear your mask indoors and when social distancing isn’t possible.
Interesting note II: Wearing a mask outside is typically NOT beneficial. Aerosol virus is not a concern outdoors because environmental factors such as UV, wind, humidity, etc. prevent clouds of virus from hanging in the air.
5. You can reduce your risk factors and increase your resilience
Inflammation is the key to the virus being able to replicate in the body, so reducing inflammation is critical to staying healthy during this pandemic. Improving our gut health is crucial to reducing inflammation, staying healthy, and fighting off any virus or bacteria we might pick up.
A healthy microbiome is essential to a strong immune system. The microbiome can actually be thought of as the “neighborhood watch” for your immune system!
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
You have about 3,000 square feet of surface area INSIDE your body. You have about 200 million immune cells to survey that area. You have 40 trillion microbes that live in that surface area. That’s a 200,000:1 ratio of immune cells to microbes in your system! The microbes signal to the immune system when a new bacteria enters the body—that signal is inflammation.
When there’s inflammation all over the body all the time, your immune system won’t see those signals when a new virus enters the body. It gets drowned out by all the other inflammation. That’s why people with inflammatory conditions are much more susceptible to a virus like this. The virus is given a lot more time to replicate and build higher and higher levels before the immune system ever detects it’s even there.
BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM TO STAY HEALTHY!
Take a probiotic, a prebiotic, and eat a diversity of whole foods
Keep up with micronutrients supplements including zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K2
You and your family can stay safe once the kids are back in school! Special thanks to Kiran Krishnan for joining us on the podcast to help us understand COVID and empower us to make the best decisions for our families!
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