Each year there is a new strain of flu and the press says each year that "it's the worst flu season ever", stirring up a lot of fear and panic in everybody. There are some pointers that I wanted to share with you to help protect you and your family - to help keep you healthy in the first place. (These tips were written during the Coronavirus of 2020, although they apply to any virus, illness, or flu season. PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION BELOW FOR UP-DATED INFORMATION ON THE CORONAVIRUS.)
1) Your state of mind. Fear helps to attract to you whatever you're holding fear about. It makes you more vulnerable, open and susceptible to it. When people think of a thing, they take on the energy of the thing. My advice is to be aware of the situation, take all steps that you can take to avoid or prevent the situation, and then don't give it any more energy than that. Stay out of fear. Don't listen to the news telling us how bad it is, how many cases that are out there and how "horrible" it is. That really doesn't help keep us healthy to hear that - just the opposite actually, as it keeps us in fear and in greater danger of actually getting sick because we've energetically connected to it. Do all that you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy, take all of your "due-diligence" action steps to stay healthy, and then just KNOW that you and your family are fine, and don't give it any more energy than necessary.
2) The most important thing to keep yourselves healthy is frequent hand washing with soap and warm/hot water. (It does not have to be anti-bacterial soap and the water doesn't have to be so hot that it burns you.) Be sure to get the backs of your hands, inbetween your fingers, and under your nails. Think the "Happy Birthday to You" song in your head while you're washing and wash the entire length of the song, and you're good! <thumbs up!>
3) Stay out of public places as much as you can. Carry a face mask with you just in case you are around coughing people and you can't avoid them. (You can buy these at any drug store - usually!) This virus (as well as many others) is spread from person to person, so limit your exposure as much as you can. Avoid crowds, avoid hugging, kissing and handshaking. Wash your hands frequently! AN IMPORTANT NOTE: During this Coronoavirus pandemic, do not hoard masks. Leave them for the people who are actively sick and the medical professionals who are caring for the sick people so that they can stay healthy and protected. We need them!
4) Clean your cell phone. There are tons of cooties on them. Cell phones, computers, and other surfaces that you or others touch frequently can harbor bacteria and viruses for up to 48 hours. You can easily clean your phone with a disinfectant wipe or an antibacterial microfiber cloth and spray cleanser suited for your device. Avoid using someone else's devices too.
5) Use a hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands. Use it after touching menus, door handles, computer screens, touch screens and buttons at the ATM or grocery store (especially at a pharmacy where the sick people go!), the pen at the pharmacy where you have to sign for medication pick-up, or anything that another person might have touched. Stay hypervigilant with this - out of due-diligence, not out of fear. Your intention is important.
6) Do not touch your eyes, inside of your nose, or your mouth unless your hands are clean.
7) Keep your sinuses moist. Dry air can cause dry sinuses. Keeping your nasal passages moist can help prevent symptoms such as pain and nose bleeds, and can even help prevent colds and sinus infections. You can use a saline nasal spray or wash every day, or you can use a neti pot and make you own saline solution. THIS LINK will give you detailed instructions on how to use a neti pot and how to make your own saline solution. (I don't recommend using a neti pot every day as it can dry out your sinuses. You can rub a thin layer of Healing Salve in your nostrils or some coconut or olive oil to prevent dryness.) You can also use humidifiers to keep the air in your environment moist. Be sure they are cleaned well between seasons by running distilled vinegar and water through the system before using, otherwise you may just be spraying pathogens into the air. Fill the water tank with a cup of vinegar and a gallon of water. Plug it in outside and let the humidifier run for an hour. After an hour, pour out the remaining liquid from the tank, rinse it with clean water, then fill it with clean water and run the humidifier for another hour. You're good to go! I find using humidifiers especially helpful when the air is dry and cold, like at night.
8) Be sure to get as much sleep and rest as you can. A depleted body is more susceptible to illness than a strong body is. (That said though, there are plenty of sleep-deprived parents out there who stay healthy because they have to!) Adequate sleep, healthy foods, clean water and good hydration all go towards a healthy body and strong immune system. Here is information on Herbs for Sleep & Relaxation.
9) Stress also depletes the body. This is a tough one to get around sometimes, but things like taking a walk in nature, doing meditation daily (even 5 minutes a day makes a difference), deep breathing, or doing a very loud and unrestrained sigh lets a lot of stress out of the body. A big loud AHHHHHHH! Let yourself be as loud as you want. Try it now and see how it makes you feel! Feel free to do it as much as you like! You can think of your own ways of reducing stress that work for you and do those. Herbs can also help. See the link for the sleep and relaxation herbs in #8 above.
10) Keep in mind that the thoughts that you think also play a part in how strong or weak that you feel, and in turn - are. Think positive thoughts - feel strong and healthy. Think fearful or negative thoughts - feel weak and beat down. This is an over-simplification, but you get the general point. This is probably one of the most important factors in staying healthy though. Think you'll get sick and you will. You can literally talk yourself into being sick. Think you'll stay healthy and you will there too!
11) If you have to fly, do these things:
- All of the above.
- Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and wipe down any surfaces that you may need to touch, including hand rails, latches for the overhead bin, seat backs, the tray table, the latch to release the tray table, the air vent, the arms of the chair, the button to recline, the seat belt latch, the magazines and information leaflets - anything. Either wipe those things down before you touch them, or use a hand sanitizer afterwards. Or both. There is not enough time between flights for the crew to wipe down and disinfect anything on a plane, so be prepared to take care of this yourself.
- Bring your own pillow and blanket for longer flights. You don't know who has been coughing or sneezing into them. They are not able wash them or change pillow covers inbetween.
- Bring your own water on the flight. Stay hydrated. You can buy bottled water once you're through TSA or fill your own water personal bottle at filling stations that are in most airports these days.
- Bring a face mask with you if there is no shortage. Use them, especially if you hear anyone in the plane coughing or sneezing or sniffing up a runny nose. Many countries around the world commonly do this - do not feel awkward for wearing one.
12) Keep your diet clean. Drink plenty of clean water. Limit or eliminate sugar as this further stresses the body. It's easy to eat crappy when we're busy or stressed, but the quality of what you put into your body will lead to how healthy (or not) your body will be. Do your best! 80% of our immune system lives in our digestive system! (More on this below....)
13) Exercise. Keeping your body moving is not only good for your physical body and health, but is also good for your mental outlook as well. It doesn't have to be extreme - a simple walk or taking a bike ride will do, and you'll be amazed at how good you feel! Around 30 minutes five days a week is what a lot of experts recommend. Find something that you enjoy and do it! It is recommended to stay out of public gyms during the Coronavirus as 1) it's a public space where other people are, and 2) it can be a dirty space with lots of germs, bacteria and viruses on the equipment.
14) Sunshine. If you can and if your climate allows, getting out in the sunshine and fresh air always makes one feel better and stronger! Not only that, just 20 minutes a day of sunshine (no sunscreen) provides Vitamin D which works to strengthen the immune system, keeping people well. I suspect that one reason why people tend to get sick more in the winter is because of lack of sunshine and low Vitamin D reserves. (This is my theory - nothing proven - but it does make a lot of sense!) . Another factor of being out in the sun is the UV rays. They are a natural disinfectant and sterilizer. Exposure to UV rays and sunshine can kill viruses on your skin and clothing.
15) The following vitamins and supplements are very helpful at strengthening the immune system. As they are nutritives, they do need to be taken on a daily basis in order for them to work and be active in your system. (This is not an all-encompassing list, but these are some of the more important ones.)
- Antioxidants - this is a combination of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
- Vitamin B Complex. Take in the morning as they tend to provide energy and may keep you awake if taken at night.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is best when taken in smaller amounts throughout the day if you can. Suggested - 500mg every 2 hours. I personally can't remember to do that, so I take larger amounts morning and night instead. If you take "too much", it can result in diarrhea. Just cut back until you find the right amount for you.
- Vitamin D. As mentioned above, around twenty minutes of sunshine a day (without sunscreen) helps provide adequate amounts, BUT if you're not outside that much or are in a climate with little sunshine, you may need to supplement. It's recommended that adults take no more than 4000iu a day, including pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
- Zinc. Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
- Probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are helpful and beneficial to keeping the gut bacteria balanced and helping keep the digestive system healthy. When your gut is healthy and balanced, it goes a long way to keeping the rest of your body healthy as well. After all, 80% of your immune system is in your gut microbiome! That's why keeping your diet clean and healthy and taking probiotics is so important! Ask your local health food store personnel for their recommendations on the best and most effective brand to buy. (For our All-Access Members, Birthworker Practitioners, Birthworker Students and Military/Veteran families, there is more information on Probiotics in our Reflux article in the Premium Articles area of our website.)
All of these things can be taken together, along with the herbs mentioned below.
16) Herbs that help build and strengthen the immune system:
- Astragalus. This is one of the most highly-respected and effective herbs for strengthening and building the immune system. It is safe to use for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for little ones as well. It also is a nutritive, so takes a bit of time to kick in. Take it on a daily basis when you are well, like you would a vitamin supplement. As it is a warming, stimulating herb, it should be discontinued when sick so that it doesn't add more heat to an already-heated illness condition which could make it worse. (Adding heat to heat makes more heat.) We have this herb in tincture form which is fast and easy to take. Be sure to get the non-alcohol version for toddlers and kids. For one adult, a 2oz bottle will last for 2 weeks, and a 4oz bottle will last one month. We have a Children's Dosage Guide, located under the Information page or drop-down menu, and then Articles & Information. Also located in Articles & Information is an article on Herbs for the Cold & Flu Season which will give you information on what to use should you become sick and how to get better faster. There is also a more in-depth article in our membership area called Premium Articles. (One of my favorite stories was from one of our clients - a kindergarten teacher. She said that before she discovered Astragalus, she would get pnemonia every. single. year. Once she began using Astragalus on a daily basis, she hasn't had a bout since!)
- Garlic. Helps to prevent colds & flu and helps to keep people healthy in the first place, as well as reducing how long you stay sick should you get sick. It can be taken in a variety of ways - some more socially acceptable than others! Eating it raw and fresh is best (you can mix it in a little honey to make it more palatable! Note: do not give honey to babies under 1 year of age) You can use it in cooking, adding it at the last minute so that it's not over-cooked, losing some of it's potency; or by taking a odor-free tablet or capsule, such as Kyolic. This brand is known for retaining the medicinal properties even though it's been deodorized. (Herb Lore carries a Garlic Ear Oil specifically for ear pain and infection, but this can be used in foods and salad dressings if desired as well.) Garlic is also a great anti-bacterial herb.
- Reishi mushroom - I don't know much about these mushrooms and I've always used Astragalus with great results, but they are also good at building and strengthening the immune system. Both Reishi and Shiitake are listed as being safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
- Shitiake mushroom - see above.
- Essential oils - these are also helpful, but I am not an expert in this area and do not know enough about them to guide you here, especially when it comes to the safety of use with pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Please find an expert to guide you should you wish to use essential oils, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding.
17) Breastfeeding mamas - your breastmilk will contain all of the wonderful nutrients that you've taken for your own health, PLUS your body will make antibodies that will pass to your breastfeedng baby that will help him or her stay healthy, and will keep your baby hydrated, nourished, and to help him or her recover quickly should he or she become ill. Breastmilk is magic stuff, and can even be used in the eyes to help clear up conjunctivitis (eye infection).
So there are some good pointers for you to keep you and your families healthy throughout this time. My biggest suggestion is to NOT buy into the fear and panic. Normally I would recommend to use your DVR to help you fast-forward through stories about the current year's flu and "how bad it is", but right now, during this Coronavirus pandemic, it IS important for us to be informed of what's going on out there and what the officials are recomending that we do. (We don't have to over-do it though - many stories now are about how many people are infected or have died - that only leads to fear and is nothing that helps us stay healthy.) This one is nothing to mess around with so we DO have to do what's being asked of us. Keeping one as healthy as possible is critically important, as is hand washing, keeping your hands and fingers out of your face, and keeping what you touch sanitized. Social distancing is a critical factor. If we can cut down on our exposure to one another, especially since we don't know who is infected and who is not as many people have no symptoms, if we can cut down on our exposure to one another for a while, the infection rate between people will drop. It makes good common sense. And remember, it's not forever.
Stay out of fear as much as you can. Limit the amount of news and TV that you're watching about it. The fear and stress will lower your resistance, and that's counterproductive. Take all of your "due diligence" action steps as described above, focus on how well you feel and how lucky you are (there's always something to be grateful for - focus on and feel what that feels like!), and know that you will be fine! We will all be fine! We just have to take some unusual measures during this time that might be uncomfortable but it isn't forever. We will all get through this together! It's literally bringing the world together. We all have to cooperate and work together. Health and illness are the great equalizer - it does not discriminate. Watching the quarantined Italians all in their own apartments, on their balconies or in their windows all singing and making music together - that is just absolutely beautiful!! They are an inspiration and a perfect example of resilience and getting through a very difficult situation separately but together! We will all be learning new ways of being, new ways of working and making money, people will be reaching out and taking care of one another, new systems will be developed... it's really the birth of a whole new world!