I know A LOT is going around about the Coronavirus. My home county of LA just declared a public health emergency, although they said it’s just as a precaution. While we may not know exactly how it’s going to play out, there are still concrete steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared no matter what happens. And if it’s all over-hyped and just blows over (hopefully!), then at the worst you’ll have a stronger immune system to fight off the cold and flu, and a better-stocked earthquake/blizzard/hurricane supply kit. Win/win!
The CDC promotes hand washing and social isolation as the only actions you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy. But in fact, those are only two of several easy steps you can take to boost your immunity and ward off disease. Here are my top 10!
As a board certified holistic health & wellness coach, every winter there are certain things I do for myself and my family to keep us healthy during cold & flu season. It’s the same protocols I would recommend for any respiratory virus. I hope you find it helpful too!
1. Firstly, basic cold/flu hygiene is essential
WASH YOUR HANDS! I can’t believe this has to be mentioned at all but we’ve all seen or know people who don’t do this much.
Wash your hands when coming home, after touching your kids dirty backpack, your dirty shoes, before eating or touching your face/mouth, and frequently throughout the day. (The virus can linger on surfaces for hours or days after a sneeze or cough, and we unconsciously touch our faces far more than most people realize.) I’ve always had my girls sing the alphabet while washing hands (its only effective if you use soap, hot, water and wash/scrub for at least 20 seconds) but the CDC recommends singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice (when I told that to my 3 year old yesterday she asked who we were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to so I said ‘me!’ since my birthday is Sunday, lol!) 🙂 Use your knuckle for elevator buttons. Use a fist-bump, bow or verbal greeting instead of shaking hands.
2. Don’t go to school/work/out when you’re sick
This should be a no-brainer, but many people don’t have many sick days at work, or can’t use them to care for a sick child. But try pointing out the public health emergency declaration I mentioned above. Please make the effort to avoid spreading a cold/flu or the coronavirus if you do come down with something. You don’t know who you meet that might have a compromised immune system (like my older daughter!) or be a newborn (like my son!) or an older person (like my parents!) and could be in serious danger.
3. Get enough rest
Your body will have a harder time warding off disease when it’s depleted. You also heal when you are sleeping, so make sure you are getting enough sleep. (As you can imagine, this is a hard one for me with a newborn!)
4. Stay hydrated
One of the easiest ways to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses is healthy nasal passages, so make sure you stay hydrated. You can also use a humidifier indoors; virus transmission is reduced significantly when humidity is between 40-60%.
5. Use Essential Oils
I’m a big fan of Young Living essential oils, as you may know. The Thieves line is amazing for cold and flu season, and I keep Thieves sanitizer sprays in every purse, car, diaper bag and coat pocket I own. (You can also make your own hand sanitizer with the Thieves oil!) I also use Thieves household cleaner on every surface, room in the home and even toys! I diffuse Thieves essential oil constantly. There are a number of essential oils with antiviral properties, and Young Living has a whole range of oil blends and products that support immunity and overall wellbeing. Drop me a line if you want to know more!
6. Eat for Immunity
A healthy gut goes a long way towards warding off all kinds of colds and illnesses. Probiotic foods with live cultures, like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha keep your gut flora humming along. Avoid sugar and processed foods, since they can depress your immune system. Raw garlic is beneficial too!
7. Add in MORE fresh veggies and fruit
Green, leafy veggies like kale, chard, spinach and more are packed with vitamins and minerals. Eating a rainbow of your fruits and veggies, especially colorful ones like blueberries, raspberries, cherries, kiwis and strawberries, etc, means you get amazing antioxidant phytochemicals that support your body and immune system.
8. Supplement and support your immune system
There are some supplements that can assist in helping to keep you healthy throughout cold and flu season. As always, check with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your supplement regimen.
- Black Elderberry syrup is great for supporting immunity. You can make it at home in an Instant Pot, too!
- We all know that Vitamin C supports immunity. Lypo-spheric Vitamin C is a great way to get it in a readily absorbable form. (Doctors in China are even experimenting with very high levels of Vitamin C as a treatment for coronavirus, although I wouldn’t recommend anything quite that high as a preventative measure.)
- Getting enough Vitamin D is also important for immunity. You produce this naturally if you’re out in the direct sunshine, but not if you’re covered up or wearing sunscreen (which you should!) so supplementing Vitamin D is strongly encouraged.
- Taking Zinc within the first day or two of cold/flu symptoms has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of the disease.
9. Reduce Stress
Your body’s stress response includes producing adrenaline and other hormones which have many affects on your physiology. One of the side effects of chronic stress is a weakened immune system. So if you want to be able to more effectively ward off unwanted viruses, consider meditation, yoga, a walk in nature, exercise, a warm bath or a trip to the spa! I like to diffuse Peace & Calming (a Young Living essential oil blend) to help me unwind after a particularly stressful time (actually I did this with the girls last night! No one was able to relax!). I also put Stress Away on my wrists before going out every day!
10. Stock Up
Having a well-stocked pantry adds some peace of mind, and you’ll be better prepared for any emergency, not just potential #costcopanicshopping outages (seriously… WHY is Costco sold out of water?! Do people actually think their water will be shut off or the Coronavirus will develop a drought? What am I missing here?!).
You don’t even need to leave your home! Thrive Market delivers healthy food straight to your door! Haven’t tried it yet? Here’s my discount code!
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If you know someone who can benefit from this, please share and pass it along! Thank you!