I’m a naturopathic physician. So to understand the current pandemic, I look to the experts in research, medicine, public health, virology and immunology as well as those on the front lines of clinical work. With a focus on actionable steps, here is what I have learned so far:
We must work together to get to the other side of the coronavirus situation. It appears to take somewhere from 5 to 10 days before most people notice symptoms of illness; that’s a lot of days to be exposing others – and to be unknowingly exposed yourself – before knowing you’re sick. Most common symptoms include respiratory distress and often, but not always, fever. (See my March newsletter for more basic info.) The sooner we choose to be proactive about the pandemic, the better for everyone.
Below is a long list of supportive means – I’ve tried to be comprehensive and concise.
Please read + share:
Practice social distancing: Start now. Don’t wait until the number of people impacted skyrockets. Stay home, work from home if you can, get fresh air near your home. Go out only to restock food or for urgent medical appointments. The rest of your errands, appointments, social visits, etc. can wait – but your health can’t, not if you get really sick.
Stay clean: We keep getting reminders of this, and it’s because it’s so essential. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap (make sure to get between your fingers, fingertips, wrists, all over) – following any social interaction, if you touch something others have touched (doorknobs, etc.) and anytime you return home. Use hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol) if you can’t wash. Wear gloves for pumping gas. Wash clothes regularly with laundry detergent, don’t re-wear clothing without washing.
Eat a balanced diet: Lots of veggies, fruit, sufficient protein and healthy fats. Soups and broths are excellent choices. Skip refined sugary foods, like pastries and candies, right now.
Consume antioxidants: Berries and deeply pigmented veggies are the best sources. Consider a supplement if it makes sense for you.
Hydrate: 60+ ounces of water daily, including herbal tea. This does not include sugary drinks, coffee, black tea, seltzer/soda water, those sugar-free drinks, etc. Water, water, water.
Supplement: Follow your doctor’s advice. Consider taking immune support like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, selenium, elderberry and so on.
Rest: Get at least 8 hours of rest nightly; stay in bed even if you are awake, don’t use electronics in bed, don’t watch TV in bed – your body needs the rest for optimal immune function. If you’re still tired, rest more.
Minimize stress: Stress impairs immunity, plain and simple. Your neurological system and your immune system are inherently linked. Use the current situation as an impetus for bringing more mindfulness practices into your life: try deep breathing exercises, chair grounding exercises, meditation, at-home yoga, and so on – you can find a wealth of free online videos to walk you through any of these. Another fun option: coloring books – find free print outs online and do it, research has shown this is a meditative activity for adults.
Stay connected: Phone calls and the internet make it easier than ever for us to keep in touch with loved ones in this country. Check in with those you care about.
Exercise: Yes. Stay physically active, outdoors in the fresh air when possible. Go for a walk or a hike or do some porch pilates. Keep at least 10 feet between you and others unless they live with you.
If you feel sick: Call your primary care doctor’s office. Practice self-care at home, resting and staying hydrated.
If you feel you have an emergency or have severe difficulty breathing, call 911.
Follow health authority guidelines (click on each for their site):
Don’t underestimate the power of the “simple” shifts (like hand-washing) – these are often the more challenging things.
Remember: We never know the things that don’t hit us. Make coronavirus one of them.
May you and your loved ones be well.
This information is based on currently available research and information provided by multiple naturopathic, healthcare and virology experts. The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.