COVID-19 has become a pandemic. It’s hard not to feel a sense of fear and panic around this new illness. But it’s important to remember that the coronavirus, similar to the influenza virus, does not affect everyone in the same way. In fact, many people may have or have had the coronavirus and think they just had the common cold. But unfortunately, for people who are elderly, immune compromised, on immunosuppressive drugs, and/or have underlying lung issues, this virus can be very dangerous.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
This is why social distancing and practicing good hygiene are vital in helping to prevent the spread of this disease and protecting public health. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person, and from touching contaminated surfaces. The virus is spread through droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This is why it is so important for everyone to practice good respiratory hygiene with covering their mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing to reduce the possibility of transmission. Social distancing has also been enforced to help reduce this mode of transmission, and it is recommended that if you do have to be around other people, that you maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet away from others.
Practicing good hygiene is essential for protecting yourself and others from infection. This virus can remain viable on surfaces for several hours up to days. So another high rate of transmission is via touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face. This virus has an affinity for mucus membranes, and can easily be transmitted via touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. The best thing you can do to help prevent this form of transmission is efficient hand washing and cleaning surfaces. Despite common belief, handwashing with soap and hot water is more effective than using alcohol based hand sanitizers. However, frequent hand washing with any type of cleanser will give you more protection than no washing at all. It is equally as important to frequently wash all surfaces as the virus can live on surfaces for extended periods of time.
Be careful and cautious, but you don’t need to panic. Be vigilant with hand washing and cleaning surfaces. Practice social distancing and self-quarantine if you do become sick. These are all practices that are put into place to help protect yourself, but more importantly to help protect those people who are more vulnerable to the bad effects of this illness.
As this is a new and emerging virus, there is no known “cure” for the coronavirus yet. Because of this, besides avoidance and hygiene, working to decrease your susceptibility to infection and strengthening weakened systems in the body are the best treatments you can do to help protect yourself against this and many other viruses.
Did you know that one of the best ways to improve your immune health is by improving your gut health?! Yep, most of your immune system is actually located in your GI system, so the healthier your gut is, the healthier your immune system will be. This includes eating a healthy whole foods diet full of organic, free-range and wild caught meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. You want to avoid processed foods, fast foods, sugar, alcohol, and pesticide covered produce as these all suppress immune function and can feed viruses and bacteria. Taking a good quality, multi-strain probiotic is also beneficial for boosting your gut microbiome health. You may even want to try colon hydrotherapy!
Getting good quality and sufficient sleep is also vital to supporting a healthy immune system. During sleep, your body produces immune cells that help to fight off infection. Studies have shown that people who don’t get quality or sufficient sleep are more susceptible to becoming sick after being exposed to an infection. Most adults need about 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you are sleeping less than this, or your sleep is disruptive, then your immune system might not be as strong as it could be.
Exercise and stress reduction are also vital to achieving optimal immune health. Stress negatively affects the immune system and lowers its ability to fight off infection. Working on removing excessive stressors in your life, daily meditation and other stress reduction exercises will greatly benefit your immune system and body as a whole. With the increased social isolation in an attempt to contain the virus, folks are feeling extra alone and scared.
Keep a positive outlook and be happy – it is scientifically proven to boost immune function! So go ahead and turn off the news, catch up with a good friend (through phone calls or facetime), and laugh away. After all, laughter is the best medicine!
Social isolation doesn’t mean you can’t spend time out in nature! Nature itself is highly therapeutic and during this time of social isolation, spending time out in nature may be the best thing you can do to keep your mind clear and sane. Don’t be afraid to take your dog for a walk, go on a hike, or garden. Continuing to do things you love to do (while maintaining social distancing) and spending time in nature will help to keep your body and mind healthy.
It’s also important to note that there are several naturopathic treatments that are effective at strengthening the immune system and fighting off viral infections should you happen to get sick. These include herbal formulas (for prevention and if you have onset of symptoms), vitamins and nutrients (Intravenous and/or oral), sauna and homeopathy (for both acute symptoms and constitutional treatment).
If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to call or make an appointment. We are here to keep you happy and healthy.