I have remained relatively quiet over the last few weeks about the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and its ramifications have been developing. Finally, however, it’s time to share some information.
We don’t know yet how this medical scenario will play out. But, the best we can do is arm ourselves with knowledge, take the appropriate action steps to support and protect our immune system, and do our best to avoid mass hysteria.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME SCIENCE
COVID-19 is NOT the “flu.” Influenza, aka the flu, has been around for a long time, and some vaccines can help protect us. These vaccines are formulated by the best guess of how the strains will present each season and are limited by this process. This year the flu vaccine is only 45% effective in adults and 55% effective in children, but the immunization generally lessens the severity for those who come down with the flu.
However, at this time, there is NO vaccine for COVID-19. I’m sure, though, that there are probably quite a few pharmaceutical companies working hard to be the first to create one. Unfortunately, a vaccine will not be available anytime soon; however, as testing requires time, we have to do our best without one for now.
Some say, “It’s just like a cold.” It is not really “just a cold,” especially if immune-compromised. People with compromised immune systems have diseases that affect the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver. They may be cancer patients, those on chemotherapy, or those taking anti-autoimmune drugs.
The elderly are also at risk. How does one define “older”? I am more sensitive to this question with each passing year, so let’s say at least 65 years old. Additionally, smokers and those who are obese are at higher risk.
The main route for spreading this virus is through coughing, sneezing, and talking. The robust viral droplets can land on your skin, clothes, hands, and eyes or be inhaled into your mouth and nose.
- The symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild to severe, and, yes, for some, they have been fatal. The symptoms are:
- Cough (usually dry)
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
- May result in pneumonia
Reference of symptoms of Coronavirus vs. Influenza vs. Common cold
SO, WHAT PREVENTIVE MEASURES CAN WE (WE MEANING THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE COMMUNITY) TAKE?
- BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS. Stay at home if you are sick. Call your doctor instead of traveling to their office. Remember, others who are immune-compromised are at serious risk. Be respectful of others, including your doctor. Even if you don’t think you have COVID-19 (you may and not know), if you are sick, you should stay at home to adequately recuperate. Avoid crowded places, for the sake of others if you are ill and for your sake, if you are not!
- Let’s watch movies that make us laugh to help decrease our stress. Remember, our goal is to support our immune system, and one of the most fabulous action tips for accomplishing that is to reduce stress.
- Get some sleep!! Get extra sleep. Consider a natural sleeping aid such as melatonin or valerian root if you have problems sleeping.
- Exercise to the best of your ability. Don’t take on too much too soon if you are starting an exercise program. And if you are an exercise lover, consider taking a break, as not to overburden your immune system, either by lessening your workout intensity or adding in body movement exercises such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong instead of lifting heavy weights every day. I am not asking you to stop lifting before my weight lifters, Kettlebell lovers (of which I am one), and CrossFit enthusiasts go bonkers on me. However, if you are feeling tired at the start of your workout, I suggest that you lessen the intensity of the exercise.
- For now, let’s avoid the handshake—bump, or maybe the foot tap. I am good with a head nod as well.
- DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! Writing this makes me want to touch my face as I am typing on my keyboard. I want to scratch my face and rub my eyes. Seriously though, do your best to avoid this activity.
- Many restaurant managers have said, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” In other words, frequently clean surfaces that are touched, especially those touched often. Think about tabletops, keyboards, computer mice, computer screens, and remote controls.
- Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow or, better yet, into a tissue and then throw it away. Don’t keep used tissues in your pockets or up your sleeves.
- WASH your hands with soap and water. Rub vigorously (that’s what counts) for at least 20 seconds. Sing the alphabet; whistle the Sesame Street song — there are all kinds of suggestions for letting us easily determine how long 20 seconds is. Washing with soap and water is the gold standard; use hand sanitizer in situations where you cannot wash your hands. Soap outcompetes disinfectant and alcohol in many cases. This is because of the interactions between the virus and the skin surface, and the virus gets detached and falls apart like a house of cards.
- Go outside. Schedule outside time, preferably in the sun if the weather is cooperative. Go for a walk in the park and be amongst the trees! Absorb that Vitamin D.
- Now is the time to stop eating bad foods. Avoid sugar, refined and processed foods, and alcohol. According to experts, drinking water in small amounts every 15 minutes may cause the virus not to go to the lungs but to divert the stomach, and stomach acids will kill the virus.
- Home cooking should take on a new meaning. There is no lack of information on how to prepare homemade cooked food. Consider the power of making bone broth as it is immune-supporting and nutrient-dense. My kids have a small hot cup of bone broth before breakfast. You may be wondering if you should avoid eating at restaurants. My thought is to consider each restaurant on an individual basis, let alone social distancing.
- A frequently asked question is the need to purchase hand sanitizer, soap, a mask, a biohazard suit, and surgeon’s gloves. I am sure you know about the frenzy for buying these items. I wonder how many of these purchases were made so that they can “jack up the price” for resale in the setting of panic. In the case of masks, keep in mind that respirator masks need to be correctly fitted. Those who are sick are the ones who need the masks. The correct grade of a mask is also critical. The one I recommend if needed is www.metamasks.com. Hand sanitizer is challenging to find right now; however, good ole soap and water are incredible!
- Oral hygiene. Yep, indeed. Our mouths are filled with bacteria, good and bad. Our oral microbiome is essential to our immune system; therefore, don’t forget the importance of flossing and taking care of your teeth and gums. PLEASE wash your hands BEFORE you perform oral hygiene tasks. Doing saltwater mouth gargling is a good idea. If in public, a sip of water every 15 minutes will wash any airborne pathogens into the gut and not the lungs. Gut acids will kill it, according to experts.
What Can I Take To Boost My Immune Response?
A popular question I often receive in the office is, “What vitamins and supplements should I take to help support my immune system?” Boost your immunity naturally. It is well documented that acupuncture treatments boost immunity. Also, Custom Immunity Support Kit, based on your constitution/medical conditions, can be tailored here for you by me. This may include herbs, co-factors, botanicals, nutraceuticals, probiotics, supplements, but remember, herbs are herbal medicine, and just like medications, there are fundamental interactions that only a trained provider would recommend. Do not guess, just because someone you know takes it, because it may be highly problematic for you and your health conditions. Do not take the word from someone at the vitamin store. I recommend a custom Viral Support Kit as a prevention tool. Call me (714-962-5031).
Here is my current list:
- A Solid multi-vitamin with minerals and fish oil (ask me what I use!)
- Vitamin C (3000 mg)
- Zinc lozenges
- Vitamin D
- Trace Minerals
- Short-chain fatty acids
- Herbal throat spray
- Chinese herbs – different ones for different symptoms and concerns with considerations medication and conditions
For more details about some of these, click here.
And if I feel symptoms are brewing, I start on hot water with lemon juice, ginger, and honey.
Get acupuncture now to increase immune response. Acupuncture is time-tested and proven to improve body defenses! It is time for self-care for sure.
Call me with any questions!
Lastly, I eat dark chocolate because I like it and it’s good for you!
Please stay well. Although I injected some humor into this written piece, please take this event seriously. I don’t want you to panic; I want you to take action.
I hope this Coronavirus will lessen by May or June as viral bacteria droplets disintegrate faster in warmer weather (this is when we usually see a decrease in influenza). Still, we don’t know yet if that will happen.
Arm yourself with knowledge. Keep a sane mind and thought process. Purchase extra items such as canned foods, paper goods, and cleaning supplies when you can.
Consider avoiding the constant barrage of news.
MOST OF ALL, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND DON’T FORGET THE POWER OF THE WORDS OF LOVE.