How Coronavirus Actually Behaves Inside Your Body
8The virus can still take advantage of you even if you aren’t immunocompromised
In severe cases the respiratory symptoms associated with this disease tend to occur as a result of your body trying to protect itself. The coronavirus usually infects the middle to the bottom of the lung, your body sends out cells to stop that. As Neuman explains- “Your body takes a scorched-earth policy- some cells go through your lungs and just try to wreck the place, destroying healthy tissue. If there are no living cells there, then the virus can’t get into them and it can’t do anything to you.”
9Your lung capacity diminishes in severe cases
The scorched-earth policy may be protecting you from an advancing invasion, but it also reduces your lung capacity. While your body may try to bring its capacity back, it won’t be an easy process.
Neuman says: “It’s like if you were doing repairs on a big medieval cathedral, they’d fill the entire inside with scaffolding to support everything. And then they start taking out bricks and you know, changing things around. So some of the places where the air should be inside the alveoli [the air sacs in your lungs] are taken up. Eventually, that will go away—the scaffolding will come down and you’ll be able to breathe again.”
“But that process takes a couple of months. And you need to breathe during that time. So a lot of people with the severe version would need some additional support by getting extra oxygen to the lungs. There are even people who have been immunocompromised and who have been just in terrible shape and they’ve managed to keep these people alive for months and months with SARS and MERS. It can be done. But it does take a lot of resources from a hospital.”
10How to keep your immune system functioning properly
You can boost your immune system but energizing it too much can cause the body to attack itself. If your immune system goes into overdrive it put you at the risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
According to Neuman, you can at least make sure that your immune system functions optimally by allowing your body the chance to relax, rest, and repair itself. “That’s exactly what they would do in a hospital—give you bed rest and fluids, just to be sure everything keeps running as well as it can. Then it’s just a matter of waiting out the virus,” Neuman explains.
Washing your hands with soap is indeed the best way to avoid getting the virus. Soap is best for inactivating the virus, while hand sanitizers perform the same function as well, just not instantly. The alcohol denatures the virus’ coating a bit although it only punches a hole in the virus and kills it when the alcohol starts evaporating. This is one reason why you must let hand sanitizer dry on its own, and avoid wiping off any extra before it has dried completely.