Are you scared yet?
According to hysterical media reports, the coronavirus has been one of the biggest health threats in history, even though it has only been in the news for a few weeks. The international markets are collapsing under the threat, governments around the globe are taking drastic measures to contain it, and the public is getting bounced around by conflicting stories coming from the professional medical community and the politicians in charge who seem more concerned with the election than public safety.
I call it as I see it.
So, are we at risk of catching this new coronavirus?
Sure, just like the annual flu or a common cold, coronavirus 19 (the number lets you know the year it was discovered) is quite contagious.
Is it inevitable that this new virus will spread?
Sure, viruses spread, that’s just a fact of life.
Will we all be infected and die as a result?
Nope, not by a long shot.
We don’t know if that person in line at the store two weeks ago was coughing because of a cold, a virus or because of their smoking habit. Did someone sneeze on the elevator panel shortly before we pushed the button for our floor? Did we open a door that someone contaminated had touched?
These are daily possibilities we have always faced, and while most of the time it is a non-issue for us, the recent news makes us more aware of the possibility of viral threats and how to avoid them.
Since there is a fairly long gestation period for this particular virus (now known as COVID-19), taking weeks to show itself in its victims, the only people who are completely worry-free from having the coronavirus (or the flu or any other virus really) already are those who have been in solitary confinement for the last month, completely isolated from all other humans and infected animals–the likely origin of this virus.
Still, the odds of anyone being infected today are quite small, and there are easy steps we can all take to protect ourselves, so let’s focus on what we do know and limit the fears from what we don’t.
While information about this new coronavirus is still coming in, we already know that it can be transmitted the same way other viruses are, by close human contact and airborne particles from coughing and sneezing.
Touching a contaminated surface and then touching our face, nose, eyes can transmit the virus, especially since we do such actions over 90 times a day on average.
- Washing our hands regularly with hot, soapy water throughout the day will be a huge deterrent. Wash them for 20 seconds, sing the birthday song twice.
- Limit your activities outside of your home. Avoid public assemblies, public restrooms, airplanes, public transport, etc. While some of these are unavoidable, limit them when you can.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes to protect others around you in case you are infected, even if it is just a common cold. If you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow to cover your sneeze, not your hand.
- Clean all of your “high-touch” surfaces in the home, including door knobs, keyboards, counter-tops, bathroom faucets, etc. with a rubbing alcohol. That’s the active ingredient in hand sanitizer by the way–hard to find these days (plus it has issues of it’s own and disrupts the microbiome with a carcinogenic ingredient, triclosan. Research says that regular soap and water is just as a effective, FYI)
- If you have a fever, cough, or breathing problem, call your doctor immediately.
- If you are feeling sick, for heaven’s sake, stay home!
The Best Defense is a Strong Immune System
Taking steps to protect yourself and to limit the spread of any virus is simple. And the best defense of course is to have a strong immune system.
The most at-risk victims of most viruses are those with compromised immune systems and with prior issues and chronic conditions.
BUT there is plenty you can do to give your immune system a boost:
- Get Plenty of Sleep – We are a sleep deprived nation with too many distractions, screens, and pressures of work and life in general bombarding us daily. 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep goes a long way to keeping your body strong and healthy.
- Don’t smoke – COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Now is a good time to quit!
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. An apple a day and all that… also, blueberries, dark chocolate, turmeric, broccoli, ginger, sweet potatoes, garlic, green tea (our Wise Women’s Tea is fabulous), eggs, bell peppers, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and oily fish. Eat the best quality stuff you can–organic, pastured, grass fed, wild fish, etc.
- If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation if at all. Take milk thistle (for your liver) if you drink.
- Exercise – Regular exercise mobilizes the T cells, a type of white blood cell which guards the body against infection.
- Get out in the sun! 10-15 minutes of walking in the sun will boost your Vitamin D levels and reduce the risk of respiratory problems.
- Wash your hands regularly (see above) and cook your meats thoroughly to avoid pathogens.
- Take vitamin supplements if your diet is lacking. Vitamins A, B’s, C, D and E really boost your immune system and are readily available in many of the foods listed above. Learn your ABC’s! (and D-E)
- Herbs – AHCC, echinacea, elderberry, andrographis and astragalus can help reduce the duration and severity of illness and provide nutrients for a strong immune system.
- Stay hydrated – an ounce of water for every 2 pounds you weigh is a good measure to help your body eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. (Example, if you weigh 170 pounds, you should drink 85 ounces of water.)
- Reduce Stress – Easier said than done for a lot of people, but try yoga, meditation, or just positive thoughts throughout the day. Taking an afternoon break for a cup of hot Wise Women’s Tea is a great antioxidant and immune booster.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands are not clean. Washing your hands regularly goes a long way in reducing the spread of all viruses.
When all is said and done, this new coronavirus will no doubt spread and infect a lot of people, but that doesn’t need to include you if you take proactive steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Oh, and here’s a recipe for homemade hand sanitizer:
Combine in a bowl:
⅔-cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol)
⅓-cup aloe vera gel
Stir well with a wire whisk. Decant into a clean soap or pump bottle. You can buy little pump bottles on Amazon.