Ebola is really scary, right? It is oftentimes fatal, and now it's in the US. Actually, it isn't as scary as the news would have you believe.
What is Ebola? (Wiki article)
Ebola is not like a cold, where you breath it in from the person standing beside you. It's not airborne. Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids, much like HIV, AIDS, or other STDs. The only way you can get Ebola is if an Ebola victim throws up on you, kisses you, has diarrhea on you, or... well, you get the picture. You can't get the virus simply by being on an airplane with an Ebola patient. Unless you come into contact with their bodily fluids.
If anyone contracts Ebola, it will be a family member or caretaker of an Ebola patient... think nurses and doctors. If you really want to avoid getting sick, stay away from hospitals and other places where people are throwing up and dealing with bodily fluids like blood.
Build Your Immune System
Another thing you can do to fight any kind of virus is to strengthen your immune system. Besides not eating sugar and getting enough sleep, it's important that you get enough, or even more than enough, vitamin C. An easy way to get vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) is to just take it in a tablet, chewable, or gel form.
Vitamin C packets
Unfortunately, good vitamin supplementation can get pricey. The packets I linked to above are over $1 each. If there are five people in your family and each person gets one packet per day, this would add up to $150 per month. There has got to be a better way, right? I found a list of foods high in vitamin C, which is a start.
Food sources of vitamin C
However, none of these foods come close to the 1000 mg of the vitamin C packets. You would have to eat six papayas to get as much calcium as one packet of vitamin C. And here in Michigan, six papayas cost way more than a dollar.
So fresh foods aren't as efficient... but this past week I learned about sauerkraut. Cabbage itself doesn't have a great amount of vitamin C, but fermentation heightens the vitamin C content. In days past, people would make a "medical crock" or sauerkraut, fermented longer for especially high vitamin levels. I'm sure this didn't make it tasty, but it's an interesting concept.
Sauerkraut and scurvy
My last and still enduring hope for a better source of vitamin C lies in foraging. What foods, here in Michigan in our own backyards, are just chock full of vitamins and we let the birds eat them? Think about elderberries. One serving size of elderberries (145 grams) has 52 mg of vitamin C. Now what would happen if we fermented those berries? Just a thought.
Do you take a vitamin C supplement? What have you found to be most helpful in warding off seasonal illness?
Next week we'll be talking about some new discoveries I've made, thanks to my brother-in-law the Mighty Hunter.