In early 2020 the World Health Organization declared coronavirus, also referred to as Covid 19, a pandemic. Now a pandemic by definition is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region including multiple continents or world-wide. As this is written there are daily updates with the virus consuming a large portion of our media which is leading to stress and fear. Did you know that chronic stress and fear are two of the largest stressors on our immune system.
As we currently practice social distancing to protect the most vulnerable, much of the fear comes from the unknown and when the progression of the virus will stop.
Lets take a moment to look at the symptoms of the coronavirus and how our immune system is impacted. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is an airborne virus. The primary symptoms are
- shortness of breath
- some have Gastrointestinal symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Individuals who have a mild case will experience minimal to no symptoms, those who have the virus that progresses to a critical level it causes pneumonia and uncontrolled inflammation in the lungs. This leads to swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs which affects the body to transport oxygen properly, causing respiratory distress syndrome. Once this occurs the lungs are not able to deliver air to the rest of the bodies vital organs depriving them of the oxygen they need.
So what steps can we take to support our immune system and stay as healthy as possible.
1. Continue diet of whole foods fresh vegetables and fruits, good sources of protein from beans, nuts and seeds. Purchasing organic non GMO products. Refer to the Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org for the clean 15 dirty dozen
2. Get out in nature. This is a time when children are home from school to take walks play outside. Humans heal best when in nature. During the influenza pandemic in the early 1900’s there was the concept of open-air hospitals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504358/ as humans we are meant to be in nature, air and sunlight.
3. Practice calmness and meditate/ pray daily. When we activate our parasympathetic system it exerts a positive effect on the immune system.
4. Continue to exercise/ move daily. Even though many of the health clubs have closed temporarily they are offering online video work-outs to do in the comfort of your home. There are numerous free you tube work-outs for the type of movement you enjoy.
5. Certain supplements can help to support your immune system including having adequate amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Omega 3’s, zinc echinacea and medicinal mushrooms. These do not treat or cure the virus but are helpful in general immune system support
6.Continue to focus on the positive and have gratitude. Possibly at the end of each day write down a couple of items that you were grateful for in that day.
So is there a positive during this pandemic with all the unknown?
With all the cancellations, there is no cancellation for family, for laughter, for smiles, for the birth of a baby, for nature and for hope. Amidst all the growing concerns in the news there is still so much to be grateful for. This pandemic is affecting each and every one of us on the planet. We all can use this experience productively to show peace and kindness to each other.
Lastly I would like to share with you a highlight from Abraham Lincoln’s 1885 inaugral address as I find it relevant to the current times.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nations wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which my achieve a charity and just, and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations”