Worried About the Coronavirus?

By Melanie L. Skelton, MH

March 12, 2020

Talk about the coronavirus has many people on edge. Travel and large gatherings are being restricted.

These are all good measures to keep us safe. But let’s take a step back and look at a couple of things that will calm your mind.

I hope.

First, we will examine some statistics and then I hope you will stick around for my suggestions on how to best prepare yourself and your family to remain healthy.

Just to put it in perspective…

Since September there have been 164 cases of the Coronavirus in the United States, with 11 deaths, according to the CDC. In contrast, the CDC reports that there have been at least 34 million cases of the flu reported, and linked to 20,000 deaths.

How about worldwide? In an article from the Los Angeles Times, Deborah Netborn compares worldwide statistics as reported by health officials. According to this article, written on March 5th, There had been a confirmed 97,876 cases of the coronavirus infection resulting in 3,347 deaths across the entire globe”. As we know, most of those have been in China. These worldwide numbers are still significantly less than the national numbers reported for cases of the flu.

So why are we all fussed up about the coronavirus? I believe it is a fear of what we don’t know. Many people are worried because there is no vaccine for this strain of the coronavirus. But there are other ways to be prepared. There are ways to boost your immunity that should help ease any panic you may be experiencing.

These suggestions are meant to support the other advice being given by the CDC and other health organizations. In fact, I believe our bodies have an incredible ability to protect us if we are willing to give them a little extra help.

One great thing you can do for your body is to avoid stress. This means stressing out about the coronavirus may not be as productive as applying some of these other tips. Stress can reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens. Learn more about this here.

Pay attention to what you are eating. It really does have an impact on your body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses that cause sickness of any kind. This means restricting sugar consumption because sugar can affect the immune function of phagocytes in our bodies. Phagocytes are cells that protect our bodies by engulfing foreign particles and bacterial waste. Sugar also contributes to inflammation and general gut health, which can also be associated with the immune system. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Besides the nutrients this gives your body, it also helps supply prebiotic fiber for your gut flora. Gut health has a lot to do with your immune system and keeping you healthy.

There are many herbs and nutrients that can help boost your immune system. Here are a few tips that include some of these herbs and nutrients along with information on how they work in your body.

  1. Echinacea –  When the immune receptor cells are exposed to the compounds in this herb they trigger the immune cells to respond through increased mobility and increased numbers. This and other stimulating compounds found in Echinacea work to boost the immune system. Read David Christopher’s detailed explanation about Echinacea.
  2. Elderberry – According to Dr. Josh Axe, elderberry is “known as one of the top antiviral herbs on the planet.” He lists the health benefits of the elder plant as “naturally improving sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, constipation and even cancer.” This is a great herb to use with children, especially if you are using it to keep them from getting sick. There are some great options that taste great like elderberry syrups and gummies (but watch out for gummies that are sweetened with sugar, instead look for ones that are naturally sweetened with fruit).
  3. Garlic – This herb has often been touted as nature’s antibiotic. It does a great job of boosting the immune system and is one of my personal favorite remedies. The important thing to realize about garlic is that you get the most benefit when the allicin is active. The allicin is released when you crush the garlic but only remains active for a short time. Cooking it or taking it in a dried form does not give you the benefit of the allicin, although there is still some benefit to the garlic. If you want to get the most out of your garlic in the form of a supplement, choose black garlic or an extract, since they are able to maintain the benefits of the allicin in these forms.
  4. Probiotics – Specific strains that have been studied in connection with supporting the immune system are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.
  5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Use this essential oil to help open up the respiratory system. Eucalyptus is a powerful disinfectant. It is a strong decongestant and helps the sinuses, bronchioles, lungs, and entire respiratory systems. Diffusing this and other antiviral essential oils is one more way to protect your family. Some of the brands have popular blends that are specifically focused on boosting the immune system and guarding against sickness.
  6. Excercise – Get outside and move around. Go for a walk. Then you are breathing some fresh air and it gets that circulation going. We talk about crowded gatherings being were these germs are going to be spread. So do that opposite. Get that body moving and spend some time in the outdoors, especially on the warm days.

This is one small part of a long list of possible ways to keep your immune system strong. Other suggestions can include yarrow, peppermint, vitamin c, zinc and so much more.

My main message is to calm down. It’s easy to feel tense about what is happening around us. Instead, I encourage you find ways to keep calm and boost your immune system.

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