My Ongoing Thoughts on the COVID-19 Virus, which still includes Don’t Panic!
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the scope and variation of advice offered through the news and Internet outlets. Because of my profession, I typically have anywhere from 20 to 30 emails about Covid-19 in my inbox at any given time. A clear picture is still emerging. This uncertainty can amplify apprehension. My primary advice continues to be Don’t Panic!
A strong factor in being susceptible to the virus appears to be an individual’s pre-existing health status and the presence of comorbidities. Comorbidities are chronic underlying health conditions that appear simultaneously in a patient.
In New York, which is currently experiencing very high numbers of cases and deaths from Covid-19, the two most common comorbidities presenting in Covid-19 cases have been hypertension and diabetes .
Sadly, both high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes are preventable conditions that are well managed with naturopathic approaches to nutrition and lifestyle.
This strong correlation between infection rates and susceptibility due to underlying health issues is why I will continue to emphasize the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle that supports the immune system instead of hindering it.
Continue Washing Your Hands Frequently!
If you choose to wear gloves, do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Remember that they are simply an additional barrier of protection for you. But they only work well when used correctly. Keep in mind that your gloves will still transfer germs from one surface to another. So don’t touch your face while wearing them and change those gloves frequently. When removing them, grasp each glove by the wrist and peel it off so that it ends up inside out when you toss it into the garbage. Then wash your hands thoroughly.
Use Hand Sanitizer or Hand Wipes.
As I shared before, if you can’t wash your hands, then use hand sanitizer or a sanitizing hand wipe until you can get to the soap and water. Markets in my area now have an employee sanitizing/ wiping down carts for customers at the door. That’s great and I hope they continue this practice during future yearly flu seasons because it really does help slow the spread of viruses.
Keep Cleaning Your House.
Surfaces like door handles, counter tops, your mobile phone, or your computer keyboard will continue to be problematic if not regularly maintained. Wipe these surfaces down daily, if possible, because they are prime locations for collecting germs.
In addition, if you have central heating and cooling, when was the last time you changed the air filters? This is an airborne virus. I recommend changing the filters bi-monthly right now.
Clean Up Your Diet Too!
Now is the best possible time to adopt better eating habits. Start by drinking at least 64 ounces or 2 liters of water every days. Your blood, lymphatic system, and kidneys will thank you because they will all be able to function better. In addition, eliminate soda pop and alcohol completely.
Try new healthy recipes (there are plenty of them online if you need help). Eat fresh and freshly prepared food with a good balance of complex carbohydrates and protein. Limit processed foods, especially if they are high in sodium, added sugars, and fat. Exercise portion control because if your activity level decreases, the number of calories you consume also needs to be adjusted. Chew your food (it helps with digestion). Eat at the table with your family. Brush your teeth after every meal.
By the way, when was the last time you changed your toothbrush? I make a habit of tossing my old toothbrush at least quarterly. And I always replace it after I’ve been sick. Now might be a good time to think about replacing your old toothbrush.
Enjoy Some Fresh Air.
Being inside all day isn’t that great for your health. Just because you are observing strict shelter-in-place guidelines doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh air and physical activity. If your neighborhood is teaming with pedestrians, you can try doing calisthenics in front of an open window or tai chi on the patio, weather permitting. Otherwise, take a walk or bike ride and observe the minimum distance of 6 feet.
Get More Rest
Imagine being able to get caught up on your sleep. This is your chance! Adequate rest is crucial for the daily process of cellular detoxification and repair. By adequate, I mean at least 7 to 7.5 hours per day. So go to bed early. Dedicate your morning commute time to a few extra minutes of sleep. And schedule in an afternoon nap if your work-from-home arrangement will allow it.
This may be the most elusive thing to do because uncertainty and fear increase cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for the flight or fight response. A good place to start in terms of stress reduction would be to limit television news viewing. Check out a comedy instead. Laughter really is good medicine because it increases serotonin, which is a happiness hormone.
Or consider laying the foundation for a regular mindfulness, prayer, or meditation practice. All of these can help balance stress. Deep breathing exercises or yoga can also be calming.
And remember that sheltering-in-place does not entirely prohibit social interaction. Take advantage of the telephone, Facetime, Skype, and Zoom to stay connected to friends and loved ones.