Last week was hand washing awareness week and this week is National Influenza Week so we wanted to come alongside of the information shared on social media and in the news with additional steps to take to continue to stay safe and protect your loved ones.

With both influenza (the flu) and also Coronavirus here are some steps you should be taking…

Coronavirus & Immunity – How To Protect Yourself

The Coronavirus… is this a serious virus? Absolutely! Should you be cautious and take precautions to remain safe, definitely! There is a lot of misinformation going around and with cold and flu season here we wanted to help you by providing information that is directly from The Center for Disease Control and The World Health Organization to ensure that you have the facts. There are also some effective preventative measures that you can take to additionally protect yourself and your family that we have also included. 

What we know about the Coronavirus –

‘CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S.’. – The Center for Disease Control (CDC)

How is it spread?

1. Person-to-person
2. Contact with infected surfaces or objects
*Read more HERE

What this means is that it is absolutely important to take mindful precautions and also, that those precautions can reduce risks. I will go into this more later and give you the top 6 ways to protect yourself.

How deadly is it???

Though the Coronavirus can lead to death in some cases and it has, the majority of strong, healthy adults are able to fight it off and experience a severe flu at most. Those with compromised or fragile immune systems such as those with another serious illness or disease, those who are elderly and those who are immune compromised are more prone to contracting the virus and well as experiencing more severe symptoms and a higher risk.

‘Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, study out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.’ – The CDC

*Read more HERE and HERE

Let’s take a deeper look at how deadly and dangerous this virus is in comparison to other epidemics and infectious viruses and illnesses so that you can get a better sense of the situation as a whole and to what level you or your loved ones may be at risk –

As of early March, the coronavirus outbreak had infected more than 90,000 people and killed more than 3,000 people globally, the majority of whom live in China, where the illness was first detected in December. More than 100 people in the United States have been diagnosed, including at least nine people who have died. By comparison, influenza — known as the common flu — has infected as many as 45 million Americans since October and killed as many as 46,000. Both the coronavirus and influenza are respiratory illnesses. Both have similar symptoms. Both are contagious. Both can be deadly according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, What Do We Do?

Now that we have covered details about the virus itself, let’s talk solutions!

Each one of us is able to protect ourselves, our family and our community by taking safety precautions and also by boost our immune system to its optimal capacity, each person’s optimal capacity is different, but no matter where your immune function lays (low or high) you can support it in being its best and most effective. Having your immune system operating at the most optimal level is an incredibly important aspect of protecting yourself from the Coronavirus in addition to taking other critical preventative measures.

Here are our top 6 tips for protecting yourself against the Coronavirus. We have then provided even more details as to how you can protect yourself from both contracting the Coronavirus as well as better positioning yourself for a positive outcome if you do contract it:

Since Coronavirus is spread not only person-to-person but also through surfaces and objects, be sure to both practice social distancing (6-foot rule), wear protective gear such as a mask and gloves as well as wash your hands immediately after touching something. Avoid touching anything else before washing your hands, especially your face or even worse, rubbing your eyes or sticking your finger in your nose.  You must wash your hands WITH SOAP for 20-30 seconds in order to get germs off.

Our bodies are up to 60% water! Most Americans are operating at low levels of dehydration. When we are dehydrated the body is not able to flush out germs, viruses and bacteria as easily as when it is properly hydrated. This means you should be drinking a minimum of ½ your body weight in ounces of pure filtered water each day (and a maximum of your full body weight in ounces – be sure to take electrolytes if you are drinking your full weight in ounces).

This might be the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself! The top immune system drainers are; mental emotional and physical stress, not enough sleep, processed foods, toxins and chemicals, allergens, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dehydration, overworking and not resting.

Here are a few specific things additional that you can do to increase your immune function in addition to the steps above:

1. Supplements
Taking Supplements such as Vitamin D, Ashwagandha (to decrease impact of stress on the body), Vitamin C, B Vitamins & Zinc

2. Sleep for 8 hours per night
Make sure to schedule a day of rest and recuperation each week! Relax and have fun!
Process and release negative emotions. Try finding a safe loving person to talk to or write in a journal
Practice mindfulness and meditation, it has been scientifically proven to reduce stress!!

3. Stay hydrated

4. Rest & reduce stress
Give yourself permission to do less and also to say no when you need to

You may have heard the saying ‘Food is medicine’, and I agree with this wholeheartedly. I would also add to that that FOOD CAN ALSO BE YOUR ILLNESS. The wrong foods can make you sick and most definitely deplete your immune system. Processed foods filled with chemicals and preservatives, fast food, chemically treated foods, refined sugar, animal products treated with antibiotics and hormones, excess high glycemic index carbohydrates and dairy products put un-necessary pressure on your immune system. Wouldn’t you rather have the little invisible soldiers that make up your immune system battle to conquer viral or bacterial intruders versus to battle to process the junk in your food?

But most importantly practice proper hygiene, wash hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing!

‘We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.’ To read the full report click HERE

In regards to influenza viral transmission they had previously released a guide for effective use which included the following, ‘A surgical mask or fit-tested respirator should be worn by healthcare personnel who are within 6 feet of a suspected or laboratory-confirmed influenza patient’ and further described their use in non-health care settings as, ‘Adults can shed influenza virus 1 day before symptoms appear and up to approximately 5 to 7 days after onset of illness; thus, the selective use of masks (e.g., in proximity to a known symptomatic person) may not effectively limit transmission in the community. Young children, immunocompromised persons of any age, and critically ill patients with influenza can shed influenza viruses in the respiratory tract for prolonged periods. Moreover, because no single intervention can provide complete protection against influenza virus transmission, emphasis should be placed on multiple strategies’. The full guide can be read HERE

Fearing the virus can increase your stress and put strain on your mental health, but taking consistent precautions can help not only ease your concerns but also decrease the risk to you and your loved ones! That means that anytime you are out and about be mindful and safe, but STAY HOME as much as possible. There are wonderful grocery delivery services through Instacart & Amazon Fresh, also direct delivery from CSA’s or local farms such as Farm Fresh To You.

Since stress is at the root of over 85% of all illness and disease, you can make yourself HIGHLY susceptible by worrying about this! Stress and anxiety break down the immune system and increases your chances of picking up a virus when exposed to one. So, take a deep breath and try to approach the whole Coronavirus issue from a responsible and preventative way while also being VERY intentional not to get on the negative-thought-hamster wheel of worry and despair – it definitely will not help and in fact, it can hurt.

For those who are highly susceptible to the Coronavirus (elderly, immune compromised or those with other underlying health conditions) limiting exposure means staying home and self-isolating whenever possible.

May you be healthy, and may you take action to create your own health!