We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog posts to address our health crisis.
It’s quite natural for us to want to survive as individuals, so what can we do to maximize our chances of survival?
Much of the advice you’ve already heard is valid.
- Avoid unnecessary travel and gathering in groups.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Make and use some alcohol wipes.
- Use gloves.
- You may want to implement the “left hand dirty, right hand clean” rule (which already exists in many countries). That is, if you must touch a public surface without having the opportunity to immediately wash, or in case you forget, use your left hand. Use your right hand for eating, rubbing your eyes, etc. Better is to disinfect immediately, or even better avoid touching public surfaces without gloves.
- Don’t touch your face. I personally find this pretty much impossible, but I have cut down.
As someone that began life with many respiratory infections, I’ve devised a few additional things to help prevent myself from getting sick. I am not a medical doctor. I am not advising you to do these things, but I will report below on what works based mainly on my own experience. Your mileage may differ.
Eat healthy foods. Make sure you eat as healthily as you possibly can. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible. Include lots of fiber. A so-called Mediterranean diet is good. You may include fish, lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Typically, whole foods are better than vitamins. Garlic and shiitake mushrooms may be especially helpful for the immune system. When exposed to a cold, I typically cut cloves of garlic and inhale the fumes. It seems to help with a cold. I don’t know that it will help with COVID-19, but I’m going to keep doing it.
Exercise. I have found this greatly reduces my chances of getting a cold. You probably do not want to go to a gym, however, because it will greatly increase your exposure. Better would be walking or running in fresh air or doing yoga or dancing at home. If you’ve been sedentary for the past months or years, you don’t want to try to “make up for it” by suddenly running a marathon. Small steps. But even if you’re out of shape, at home watching TV, get up and stretch, pace, use your own body as resistance, find some free easy yoga or stretching tapes.
Stay positive. Your mental health impacts your physical health. Yes, we face a kind of crisis, but being depressed, angry, or anxious will not help you. You do want to be vigilant and concerned, but also calm, cool, and collected. Make sure you give love and get love. Enjoy some comedy. Engage in activities that you love but that are also safe in terms of avoiding crowds. Your body contains about 70 trillion cells! You’ve evolved over 4.5 billion years! Every one of your ancestors lived long enough to reproduce. I don’t just mean those folks who wore bear skins and sat around campfires. Way before that, every little critter on land, every fish in the sea, every microbe in the ocean — they all survived all sorts of attempts to kill them off — chances are good that you will too. And, in the unlikely chance you don’t, you may as well enjoy your own life and do good for others and for life on the planet, not just during this pandemic, but always.
Stay hydrated. Since you will be spending more time at home, this should be fairly easy.
Get some sunshine. Recent studies indicate that sunlight not only helps you make vitamin D; it also helps your body produce nitric oxide. Both help your immune system.
Salt showers. I noticed that I seldom got sick when I was near the seashore. Then, about 20 years ago, I ran across a very old book from John Harvey Kellogg about his sanitarium in Battle Creek. One of the things he recommended was salt showers. I routinely do this and I think it helps me avoid colds and sinus infections. Will it help with COVID-19? I have no idea. But I’m going to keep doing it. When I take a shower, I simply sprinkle the floor of the shower with iodized salt.
Find and enjoy beauty. I obviously don’t mean head to a museum. Look for beauty in your garden or in your house or on-line. Listen to music, especially music that is upbeat and energetic. If you can’t find any beauty, create some. Paint, draw, write, take photos.
Learn something. Most companies and individuals spend way too much resource trying to maximize productivity based on what they know now. If you have a forced pause in that, use the time to learn something new.
Make a contribution. Human beings are social animals. If you are making a contribution, you will tend to stay healthier. That contribution could be pretty much anything. It includes making others feel better; creating art; helping others by virtue of your work; giving a financial contribution; growing food; making a meal; washing clothes; loving your kids; staying positive.
Plan your path; practice pathogen paranoia. Treat every doorknob, handrail, light switch, car door, mobile phone, computer keyboard, ATM, shopping cart, etc. that you touch as being contaminated with COVID-19. It may not be true quite yet, but it will be soon. So, take precautions now and change your behavior now. It’s not so easy as you might think to avoid touching your face, doorknobs, etc. so start practicing now.
Fit in Bits suggests numerous ways to work more exercise into daily life. I wrote this way before the current pandemic. Be sure to avoid touching public surfaces.