It’s a weird time my friends. The Coronavirus pandemic is in full effect and we don’t know when it’s going to end. At first I played it off and I thought people were way over the top, overreacting. Then I would have bouts of anxiety and panic as more places started closing, more warnings, precautions, state of the union addresses, and state emergencies continued. Hockey canceled, St. Patty’s Day canceled, March Madness canceled, stores are closed, gyms closing, restaurants are closed – carry-out only, etc. Everybody is clearing out the grocery stores – nonperishables, eggs, toilet paper, paper towel, etc.
I’ve been hibernating. I’ve canceled on dinner plans, a wedding, a trip to Miami, and get togethers. I have a slightly lowered immune system due to my medical history. I also don’t want to be galivanting around town, potentially become a carrier and pass it on to somebody who isn’t well enough to fight it. So, home is where it’s at for the next…. Who knows?? I’m hoping this will calm down once the warmer weather emerges. I’m hoping the coronavirus mimics the flu and will die out come springtime. It’s just too early to tell. I’m so grateful for all of the healthcare workers that continue helps others during this time. My heart aches for small businesses, retail, the service industry, musicians, artists, so many more affected…
It’s important to remember, in times of uncertainty, to maintain peace and composure. I know this sounds easier said than done. I was very anxious for a couple days and then I consciously realigned. Worry and stress do not help the immune system. When stress hormones run on overdrive, the body’ immune response weakens (reduced NK cell activity, lymphocyte populations, lymphocyte proliferation, antibody production and reactivation, reactivation of latent viral infections, etc.).
So, what are you doing to keep busy? How are you protecting your body? Your immune system?
I have some helpful tips to keep you and family healthy. I’ve gathered this information from well-respected doctors, Terry Wahls and David Brownstein.
- Move your body: at least 30 min./day
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (frozen is ok too!)
- Increase intake of Vitamins C, A, and D. Here are food sources. If you choose to supplement instead, please refer to your doctor’s recommendation.
Vit D: fatty fish, salmon, trout, fish oil, whole milk, yogurt, portabella mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks in small amounts.
Vit C: Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes
Vit A: liver, fish oils, milk, eggs, leafy green vegetables, orange, yellow vegetables, tomato products, fruits
- Stay hydrated – drink lots of water – half your body weight in ounces (ex: 150lbs = 75ounces of water daily). Your water intake is the best way to flush out toxins and allow your immune system to stay optimal.
- Practice breathing exercises and/or meditation to help calm the body. Having a calming practice is very beneficial for your health. Here is a great breathing exercise by Dr. Weil that only takes a minute!
- Avoid all non-essential travel and non-essential meetings.
- Improve the quality of your diet by removing added sugars, white flours, and pastas. A high–glycemic index diet dumps a lot of glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream, which decreases your immune cells’ effectiveness at protecting you from illness. Avoid paleo-approved treats, which still have too many high-glycemic ingredients. Focus on vegetables and meat (legumes and gluten-free grains for vegetarians and vegans) and get rid of sweet desserts.
- Get enough sleep, preferably 7 to 9 hours. Sleep is vital to keeping immune cells ready to fight viral infections. Sleep deprivation suppresses your immune system’s innate ability to act as the first line of defense.
- Wash your hands with soap and water vigorously for 20 seconds and avoid shaking hands to minimize the spread of the virus. I recently saw a great infographic that said, “Wash your hands like you have just chopped hot peppers and are about to put in your contacts.”
- Wash your nose and sinuses twice a day with a Netipot®. This cleans your nasal tissue and reduces the virus’s ability to take hold.
- Monitor your temperature. If it is above 100 degrees F. (37.7 Celsius) self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Stay home if you become ill. If you develop a cough, sore throat, and runny nose, do not go to work or frequent public places, which will spread the disease, perhaps to an at-risk individual for whom an infection could be deadly.
- Check your vitamin D level. If your vitamin D level is below 20 ng/ml, you are at increased risk for infection. Even at levels below 40 ng/ml, the risk for a wide variety of poor health outcomes goes up. If your levels are low, work with your personal medical team to increase your vitamin D level to get to the optimal range (top half of the lab’s reference range).
- If you do become ill with coronavirus, do not take Motrin or Elderberry syrup as these can exacerbate the symptoms.
Other than these healthy tips and tricks, take this time to reflect, to meditate, to get outside, develop a new hobby, do the thing that you’ve always wanted to do but never had time, organize your pantry, closet or workspace, connect with your family, play games, watch silly TV shows, rent movies, walk your dog more, have a bonfire, go for a walk, go to the park, start a journal, reconnect with an old friend, make a deeper connection with your spouse or your children, learn to play an instrument, support local businesses that are still open, volunteer, catch up on the overdue laundry, watch the sunset, try a new recipe, bake, do home workouts (so many instructors are posting online videos), etc. Panic isn’t helping anybody so do the best you can with what you have control over.
Just remember, this too shall pass. Until then…