When our immune system is balanced and working well, it can usually take care of things!
“We don’t necessarily die by having the virus in us, we die by our immune response’s over-reaction to the virus.” A controlled inflammatory response towards infection is good. It is part of a healthy immune system. But an uncontrolled inflammatory response can cause complications, and COVID-19 poses a greater risk of triggering a systemic over-reaction. Complications include pulmonary edema (fluid, swelling), and the cytokine storm. It is these uncontrolled, over-reactions of the immune system and inflammatory response that have been associated with more severe disease states and higher mortality. Thus, lessening and suppressing the hyper-inflammatory response may be very beneficial in preventing immunopathology.
What that means: if you can build a strong immune system, and keep inflammation controlled, you may be able to help prevent getting sick, having such severe symptoms, and have a better chance for a longer, better quality life after all of this is over.
STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM,
AND MAKE YOURSELF FIRE-PROOF
(or, at least, Fire-Resistant)
In sticking to the war analogy that Gov. Mike DeWine and others have used, think of the Coronavirus like a soldier with a flame thrower trying to set your home on fire. First, he has to make it to your home… then he has to get inside your home… then, he has to be able to ignite something. If you already have small fires in place, it is easier to fan those flames into something devastating. If you have flame-retardant materials everywhere, though, it will be more difficult. And, if he does happen to get something lit, it’s good to have a fire extinguisher available to try to squelch the little fire before it catches on to one thing then another, and quickly spreads through your house, destroying everything it can. How you protect your house, and have back-up plans, determines how great a chance you have at preserving your precious home.
Likewise, how you protect your body, and what healing systems you have in place, may reduce your risk of a devastating “fire” in your body, as the coronavirus sweeps through the country.
- So, keep your “home” (your body) away from the coronavirus exposure as much as you can! Stay home, avoid crowds, keep your physical distancing
- Keep the outside of your “home” strong and sanitized. Wash your hands; wipe grocery cart handles; clean after touching door knobs, car handles, delivery packages, etc; sanitize your countertops; wash work clothes immediately if your job keeps you in higher-risk areas; and practice other good general hygiene.
- Put out current fires in your “home” as quickly as possible by reducing inflammatory foods and behaviors.
- Cut way down on (or eliminate completely) processed foods, sugar, white flour/bread/pasta, high amounts of caffeine or alcohol, fried foods, margarine
- Remove common food sensitivities such as gluten, wheat, dairy, soy. Find out your specific food sensitivities
- Reduce exposure to toxic chemicals (cigarette smoke, pollutants, pesticides, sprays, fumes, etc)
- Reduce stress and cortisol
- Repay “sleep debt” from too many nights of too little sleep
- Make your “home” as fire-proof as possible following the Foundations of Health Wheel:
- MINDSET: Stay informed, stay educated, stay on the offensive about your health
- GUT HEALTH: 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. So get it healed up.
- SUPPLEMENTS: Get on high quality supplements (multivitamin, probiotic, omega-3s) Consider working with a health care practitioner with advanced training in supplements to get a personalized supplement plan.
- FOOD: Eat nutrient-rich foods with good antioxidants: dark, colorful vegetables; berries and other fruits; omega-3 fatty fish; whole grains or whole starches; nuts and seeds. Drink more water
- Get off the couch, or out of the chair, and stretch every hour
- Get your heart rate up to a moderate intensity level at least 20-30 minutes a day
- If you are going to increase your intensity or duration of training, do so carefully and with guidance
- Quality: practice good sleep hygiene, on a routine schedule
- Quantity: get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night
- Get sunshine daily
- Breathe deeply, meditate, or do other things to lower cortisol levels
- Positive affirmations, gratitude lists, writing to others can all help
- Stay connected, have a community, show love to others
- Smile. Often.