During this pandemic, day in and day out, our frontline healthcare professionals are exposed to this new invader known as Covid-19. Although we call them Health Care Heroes, not one has a superpower against this virus. What are they doing to avoid infection when cases are soaring?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is their uniform to avoid contact with the virus. Yet, we all are likely to come into contact with this virus either on or off the job at some point in time. It is the personal habits of each individual that will likely determine the course of illness. Those embracing a healthy lifestyle are less at risk for complications.
There has never been a better time to move towards a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle consists of four areas in daily living:
- Eating plan—Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans will give your body the fuel needed to put up the best defense. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
- Exercise—Raising body temperature during intense activity helps kill off viruses. Make an effort every day to work up a sweat for an hour.
- Stress Management—Learn to control what you can control and then give up the rest. Get into nature by hiking or just walking around the block so you get sunshine and this will help your mood too.
- Sleep—Sleeping well will allow for rest and rejuvenation. The body can put all effort into searching for the virus and destroying it.
Do these four areas in life well and you will reduce the impact of viruses, not just covid-19. It reduces infection rate and sets you up for faster recovery.
A lot of smart physicians have come up with their own “cocktail” to stay well during the pandemic. This is taken from Eastern Virginia Medical School with the disclaimer:
“Disclaimer: The information provided in this protocol is primarily to provide information to physicians on a protocol that we found to be highly effective in damping down the hyperinflammatory cytokine “storm” that is the cause of mortality and morbidity in COVID-19. Our guidance should only be used by medical professionals in formulating their approach to COVID-19. Patients should always consult with their physician before starting any medical treatment.”
To aid in prevention, they suggest taking these supplements and over-the-counter medications and again, they suggest you consult with your physician:
- Vitamin C 500 mg twice a day
- Quercetin 250 mg once a day
- Zinc 75-100 mg once a day
- Melatonin (slow release) beginning with 0.3 mg increasing to 2 mg at night
- Vitamin D3 1000-3000 iu per day
- Famotidine (Pepcid) 20 – 40 mg once a day (This helps prevent what they call the “cytokine storm” which is the body starting to attack itself and not the virus.)
And when this does not work and the Health Professional becomes infected what do they do? They immediately get tested and quarantine until results are known. They notify those that they have been in contact working with their local health department, so those people can take precautions as well. They focus on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, maintaining an easier exercise routine and sleeping to the best of their ability. They learn to sleep on their belly so that their lungs can expand better. They continue their “cocktail” of supplements and over-the-counter medicine, possibly increasing some dosages and add aspirin unless contraindicated. (Always consult your physician!) Every two hours while awake they take 5 deep breaths—breathing in through their nose and blowing out through their mouth as if blowing into a straw. After 5 deep breaths then they cough hard as long as they are isolated. This helps prevent pneumonia. If they experience shortness of breath symptoms or chest pain, they call their doctor and/or go to the emergency room.
This is how many health professionals practice self-care during this pandemic.
The last topic to discuss is the importance of achieving your optimal weight. Being overweight—not even obese—increases the complications of Covid-19. Those joking about gaining the “Covid-10, 20, 30 or 50” have put themselves at higher risk during this pandemic and that is no joking matter. Fat cells have Ace2 receptors which increases your chances for a severe case of Covid-19 infection. This may explain why some populations are affected more than others with poor outcomes. We still have much to learn about this virus.
Now is the time to set up your home environment to avoid further weight gain and create habits to reduce your weight if needed. Keep all junk food and highly processed foods out of your house! Enforce kitchen rules—eat only in one place and only during mealtimes. “Only eat when you eat” meaning no television or electronics during meals. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Always drink a glass of water before eating anything. End your day of eating once you have finished dinner by brushing your teeth.
Small choices can end up with big results. Let’s stay healthy together!