Why haven’t I had Covid? A doctor explains the main 6 causes

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    If you google why haven’t I had Covid yet? You’re not alone.

    The search term has grown steadily over the past two years, and many are wondering why they’ve managed to avoid the virus — including new strains Deltacron and Stealth Omicron — so far. (Read about Omicron’s symptoms here).

    While the UK has just announced that it has become the first country to approve a brand new vaccine, ominously named Spikevax, which has been developed to be particularly effective against the new strain of the Coronavirus. According to the government’s website, it is an “updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna and targets two variants of the coronavirus.” It has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and should be rolled out in the autumn.

    But back to why you haven’t had Covid yet – or at least that you know of. A doctor named Ma Sang-hyuk went viral earlier this year after a post by him on Facebook claimed that if you’ve managed to avoid the contagious virus so far, it’s probably because you don’t have any friends.

    While this is seemingly unlikely (he has since deleted the post and taken back his somewhat controversial comments, sharing that they were meant “metaphorically,” the news site claims Daily)if you haven’t had the virus so far, you’re probably wondering why.

    That’s why we’ve asked two doctors for their answers instead. Do you have a super strong immune system? Have you really had the virus without realizing it? Or is it just pure luck? Keep scrolling for their expert opinion. Don’t miss our guides on how long vaccine side effects last, whether you should exercise after your Covid vaccine, and the link between the Covid vaccine and fertility, while you’re here.

    Why haven’t I had Covid yet? 6 reasons, according to 2 drs

    If you haven’t had Covid yet, below is what science shows may have helped you avoid it so far. Please note: these are the opinions of the doctors we asked, and although they are supported by medical research, do not definitively confirm why you may not have had it yet.

    1. Air pollution in your area

    According to Dr. Sam Watts, an evidence-based Ayurvedic consultant and founder of Mind Body Medical & Ayurvedic Mentor Membership, published evidence has observed a clinically significant association between Covid infectiousness and air pollution. “For example, evidence shows that Italian cities exceeding accepted air particle pollution rates for more than 80 days per year experienced a significantly higher rate of positive Covid infections than coastal cities with 60 or fewer days of high air pollution,” he shares.

    A research team from Yale Medical School and Italy’s National Research Council concluded in 2020 study that Covid is transmitted largely via human-to-human infection, but also due to the amount of air pollution in your area. “This would suggest that avoidance of Covid infection is potentially less to do with social contact and more to do with geographic and atmospheric variables,” Watts continues. Interesting.

    2. Your vitamin D levels

    You read our explanation of the link between vitamin D and the Coronavirus, and our guides to vitamin D, vitamin D foods and vitamin D recipes too. So, ask – can your vitamin levels really have an impact on whether or not you get Covid-19?

    Short answer: potentially. Vitamin D is an important compound in the body that plays an important synthesizing role in the immune response to infections, including Covid-19, the expert explains. “Early in the pandemic, it was thought that higher vitamin D levels could reduce your chances of getting Covid-19,” shares Watts.

    So what does the science say? Several clinical studies, including this one 2020 JAMA Network Open paper, have observed that the hypothesis is true, interestingly enough. “Research shows that if you are deficient in vitamin D, there is a significantly greater risk of you becoming infected than people with sufficient vitamin D levels. This evidence provides a compelling argument that blood vitamin D levels before and during the Covid-19 pandemic were protective against positive infections, underscoring the importance of adequate daily vitamin D supplementation.”

    Pete Williams, Medical Scientist, Functional Medicine Practitioner and Founder of Functional Medicine Associates agree that adding studies show that higher vitamin D levels not only provide better protection but also significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and serious adverse outcomes. “A recent meta-analysis showed that a minimum level of 125 nmol/l should be aimed for,” he shares.

    If I haven't had Covid 19 yet - socially distanced people

    3. Tree density near your home

    We touched on the environment being important in the air pollution point above – but is it important in other ways too? It could be. As Watts explained, a 2021 study published in Environmental chemistry observed a clinically significant reduction in the rate of Covid-19 infection in communities with higher areas of forest and green space.

    In short, anyone who lived with more than 0.3 hectares of forest per capita had a lower chance of catching Covid-19, the study concluded. Why? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the further away you are from people, the less likely you are to contract the virus.

    That said, Watts believes there’s another side to it, too. “Trees, especially those found in southern and western Europe, emit high levels of airborne chemicals called labile organic compounds (structurally similar to aromatherapy essential oils), he says. “These compounds have clinically proven immunomodulatory and antiviral activity, and it was hypothesized that those who breathe air containing higher levels of them may have a higher level of protection against airborne viral infections such as Covid-19.

    4. Maintain a healthy weight

    You’ve probably seen the reports about the link between Covid-19 and a higher BMI – but did you know that studies have shown obesity makes you about three times more likely to get the virus?

    “There is also evidence to suggest that diabetes or other comorbidities – e.g. having more than one chronic inflammatory disease or conditions such as COPD, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease – poses a higher risk of having Covid, Williams adds.

    If I haven't had Covid 19 yet: a woman in a mask

    5. Exercise regularly

    Likewise, consistent moderate exercise—that’s three or more workouts of 30 minutes or more each week—makes your immune system better at protecting you, the expert shares.

    “The Term”immune surveillance” explains it and means that the increased blood flow pumped around your body from exercise can more easily transport immune soldiers to places where it’s hard to fight,” explains Williams.

    “Exercise also directly stimulates the immune system to make more efficient immune cells than normal,” he shares.

    6. Herbal medicine

    Bear with us on this. While no, herbal remedies cannot outright prevent you from getting Covid-19, studies have shown that they can be a powerful tool to boost your immune system.

    A little background from Watts, first: herbal medicines have been used by humans for at least 50,000 years in both the prevention and treatment of disease and illness, he shares. “This is especially true when dealing with both bacterial and viral respiratory infections.”

    He shares that there is now convincing evidence to highlight the immunomodulatory and antiviral activity of several important herbal medicines, such as andrography, calotte, and flows against the Covid-19 virus.

    “Lots of research has been carried out in the use of herbal medicines as prophylaxis against Covid-19, indicating a clear protective benefit from certain herbs that can suppress the ability of Covid-19 to dock on human cells, he continues. “This is further supported by public health data that have observed lower rates of infection in communities using herbal prophylaxis in both China and India – meaning that evidence-based herbal medicines may have the capacity to reduce your risk of infection.”

    While none of the above is definitive, and there probably never will be a definitive reason why you didn’t catch Covid-19, they help paint a picture of how complex the virus is and how many factors are at play here. What do you think?

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