Tips on Combating Respiratory Viruses
There are simple everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
● Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-90% alcohol if soap and water are not available. COVID-19 can transmit through both respiratory droplets and via stool, so careful hand washing is critical.
● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hand if you do not have a tissue available. If you contaminate your hand and then touch other objects, you will spread the virus.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
● Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to the COVID-19 related virus.
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Other actions you can take that can meaningfully support your health and ability to fight illness:
● Get good sleep, and prioritize your self-care. Sleep is critical to optimal immune function. If you are sleep-deprived, you are not at your peak immunity.
● Eat nutrient-rich foods, and prioritize a healthy diet. Your diet provides building blocks used by your immune system to fight illness. Without those resources, your immune system will be weaker.
● Incorporate Chinese Herbs to enhance your immunity; here are a few examples of herbs and exemplary formulas:
Huang Qi, (Rx. Astragalus) has been shown to help in prevention of colds and influenza by increasing white blood cell count (i.e., B-Cells & T-Cells) an exemplary formula is Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Wind Screen).
Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicera) which is used to treat bronchitis and pneumonia an exemplary formula is Yin Qiao San (Lonicera Flower and Forsythia powder).
Da Qing Ye (Folium Isatidis) which has been shown to treat colds and influenza, an exemplary formula is Gan Mao Ling.
● Talk to your doctor about optimizing your vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin C levels. These nutrients are particularly important for optimal immune function and may be depleted in the typical diet, and in the winter depending on location.
● Stay hydrated. Water is at the foundation of our health. Clean/filtered water consumed regularly helps keep our whole system functioning optimally, including our immune systems.
● Don’t panic! An outbreak is scary, but most people will experience COVID-19 as a mild illness. Prolonged, toxic stress inhibits immune function, so whether it is fear about the virus or excess stress at home or work, do what you can to give your system a break and restore. Exercise, acupuncture, nutritional and herbal supplements recommended by your healthcare practitioner, qigong/tai chi, yoga, meditation, or whatever your “go-to” to unwind must take priority now. These are not luxuries! Take care of yourself.