14 Tips for Surviving Covid-19: Corona Virus 2020
14 Natural Tips for
Surviving Cold/Flu/Corona Virus Season
The best protection is prevention.]
1. The single most important and simple way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes. Washing hands with soap and warm water is better than using hand sanitizer because soap does a better job at damaging bacterial /viral cell walls.
2. Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation will lower your natural immunity.
3. Eat plenty of dietary sources of Vitamin C: most fruits and veggies are high in Vit C. The fresher the produce the better: shop at your local farmers market. On days when you do not consume many fresh fruits & veg - take a Vit C supplement. Eat the rainbow - it really does keep you healthier!
4. Eat plenty of food sources of zinc, the highest sources are from shellfish, beef and and other animal proteins. Zinc in legumes, nuts and whole grains are less bioavailable. Vegetarians, vegans and those following a more plant based diet may consider supplementing with zinc 2-3 times week, particularly if noticing slow wound healing (as zinc play a significantly role in repairing the body). Keep zinc lozenges on hand. A lozenge coats the mouth and throat, a region where many viruses attack. Zinc prevents the replication of viruses while reducing inflammation (decreasing sore throats). Zinc will shorten the duration and severity of viruses. Zinc can stop the virus from migrating into the lungs. Note that many zinc lozenges come combined with Vitamin C and other anti-viral/anti-bacterial herbs: elderberry or echinacea. Warning: do not supplement zinc daily when not sick because zinc excess interferes with iron absorption. Coffee can interfere with absorption of zinc. Excessive sweating can lead to zinc deficiencies.
5. Gargle with warm salt water several times per day: add 1/4-1/2 tsp to warm water and gargle then spit. Salt inhibits the growth of viruses and bacteria but damaging them (one reason our skin is salty!). If you’ve recently been in a crowded area: schools, airports, hospitals, concerts etc. gargling afterward can help you prevent or lessen severity of a cold/flu.
6. Keep Oregano essential oil on hand. If you think you’ve exposed to a virus or start to get a sore that or sneezing a lot do an aroma steam. Boil water. Have a towel on hand. Pour hot water into a glass bowel. Use 1 drop of oregano oil (can also add other anti-varian oil such as thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree - only add one drop). Drape a towel of your head placed over the steaming bowl. Set this up at a table where you can comfortably rest for 1-3 minutes inhaling the essential oils. Breathe in through your nose AND mouth to allow those essential oils to coat mucus membranes and throat. Do not use these oils ALL the time. Doing so will decrease their effectiveness.
7. There is a connection with low vitamin D levels and increased risk of contracting Covid-19. Vit D deficiency puts you more at risk for all infections as well as slow wound healing. Many of us do not get enough sunshine: your body will make Vit D if you expose at least 1/3 of your skin to sun 3 times per week for 10-15 min (longer if you have darker skin).
The primary food sources of Vit D are fatty fish - but they must be wild (farm raised don't have as much Vit D). Egg yolks from pasture raised chickens (factory birds don't get exposed to sunlight). I have lots of patients who supplement high amounts of Vit D - and yet they don't seem to be absorbing enough of it. Vegans and vegetarians are especially at risk for Vit deficiency. If you take supplements but are still low, please sunbathe! Remember that Vit D is fat soluble: this means that you need to take Vit D with a healthy fat in order to absorb it.
8. Get some exercise. Even a walk around you block or a gentle home yoga or tai chi practice or dancing around your room is enough to increase white blood cells (immune cells) and helps flush viruses and bacteria out of your lungs.
9. Avoid excess sugar (this includes alcohol). Sugar is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation is an immune response. If you get sick when your immune system is already distracted (by producing inflammation against excess sugar) then your body might either be too depleted to fight the virus effectively OR become overly activated and cause excessive inflammation and overproduction of mucus.
10. In Eastern Medicine Herbal tradition we use different herbal formulas at different stages of illness: we check for drug-herb interaction before giving you any herbs for your safety. Special Note: all these herbs can be take in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. Studies show that when take in combination with medications recovery is more rapid. However, note that there are few anti-viral drugs - AND if your medical provider recommends you take one of these drugs (Tamiflu) - take it in combination with herbs for a quicker, healthier recovery. For more in depth info about herbs go to end of article.
11. Use humidifiers: studies indicate that viruses are less infectious in a humid environment. The humidity keeps viruses from floating in the air and lowers transmission.
12. Green and black tea contain natural polyphenols that have been found to inhibit SARS corona viruses. (Chen, C. N., Lin, C. P., Huang, K. K., Chen, W. C., Hsieh, H. P., Liang, P. H., & Hsu, J. T. (2005). Inhibition of SARS-CoV 3C-like Protease Activity by Theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF3). Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine)
13. Eat medicinal foods like garlic, shiitake mushrooms (see recipe below) and also cook with fresh thyme and oregano.
14. Get regular Acupuncture! Acupuncture regulates immunity. It boosts immunity for those with weak immune system and down regulates an overly active immunity in those with autoimmune syndromes. One acupuncture treatment generally does not cause this immune regulation: most people get an immune regulating effect after 2+ treatments. The strongest immune response sometimes occurs 72 hours post treatment (day 3).
Keep calm and carry on! Practice preventative measures and thrive during cold/flu season.
Immune Boosting Soup
Nutrition = Preventative Medicine!
Start with your favorite soup broth base*
Add liberal amounts of:
Garlic (1-1/2 head of garlic)
fresh grated Ginger root
Baby Bok Choi or Daikon radish or fav green veg
Shitake mushrooms boost immune cells while decreasing inflammation. Simmer these mushrooms for 3o-45 min to make them soft and silky.
Garlic is a well known anti-viral and anti-bacterial: when it is simmered in soup the pungency turns into a rich mellow warmth. Garlic is all great for cardiovascular health.
Ginger is another great anti-viral and anti-bacterial herb. It also reduced inflammation. Ginger is fantastic for soothing sore throats.
*If you choose to use chicken broth: the amino acids in broth help you build anti-bodies against viruses which helps your immune system fight and recover more quickly. Chicken broth also decrease inflammation.
FYI: Vegetarians and Vegans: make sure you are eating enough complete sources of protein or supplement Vit B-6 & B-12 to help your body get enough protein to build anti-bodies.
Bok Choi is high in Vit C. Increasing your Vit C during Cold/Flu season helps you body fight off viruses. Many fruits and veg are high in Vit C.
8. In Eastern Medicine Herbal tradition we use different herbal formulas at different stages of illness:
Herbal formula from traditional Eastern medicine
Jade Windscreen is a great cold/flu preventative formula (also very effective for decreasing allergies). Take this formula when you are NOT sick to boost immunity.
Yin Qiao is the herbal formula to take in the initial 3 days of any virus, especially one marked by heat: having a temperature or even just feeling hotter than normal.
If you feel more cold than hot: keep fresh Ginger root on hand. Make a tea by boiling a thumb size chunk of ginger (sliced) in a quart of water. Add scallions (if desired) at the end of 20 minute simmer. Add honey (anti-viral and anti-bacterial) and lemon (Vit C). Let it cool enough to gargle with it. Sip slowly, swishing it around you mouth as you drink.
If your symptoms last longer than 3 days - stop taking Yin Qiao: discuss your main symptoms with your licensed Acupuncture practitioner to get the best formula to hep you make a speedy recovery. Have you noticed how different people can exhibit very different symptoms to the same virus? This is because viruses exploit our weakest defenses. Taking herbs to help fortify your weakness is what will help you recover more quickly. One person may need something for headaches and sinus and another patient may need something for body aches and lingering fever and another person for chronic cough with mucus.
After your body has resolved the acute symptoms there may be lingering fatigue as your immune system works to repair the damage done by the virus. During this phase of illness we carry two great formulas: ‘Restore the Lung’ and Sheng Mai. Both of these formulas support your immune function and speed up recovery.
Sometimes a virus can linger in the body: you might feel fine one day and the next day feel worse again. You may feel more cold during this lingering phase. A great formula for this impaired response to virus is call Minor Bulpleurum: this formula has been found to prompt the release of Interferons, signaling cells that increase anti-viral defenses. This formula also activates the reals of more macrophages, an immune white blood cell that ‘eats’ or destroys bacteria and viruses.
Special Note: all these herbs can be take in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. Studies show that when take in combination with medications recovery is more rapid. However, note that there are few anti-viral drugs - AND if your medical provider recommends you take one of these drugs (Tamiflu) - take it in combination with herbs for a quicker, healthier recovery.