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Common Sense Approaches to Virus Prevention & Immune Support

This is a very unsettling time right now. All one needs to do is go to the local grocery store, observing carts piled high, mile-long lines of people with worried faces, and shelves empty of basic necessities and the very things we were hoping to purchase to protect ourselves and our families. Those of us who remember other crises such as H1N1 back in 2009, may be scratching our heads wondering if things were this chaotic then. I honestly can’t recall what the shelves looked like at Target, but I do know that I was pregnant with my daughter during that pandemic and remember being extremely fearful for my baby. Thankfully COVID-19 seems to be largely leaving children alone or only mildly affected[1]. As a parent, I know that is the number one concern on all moms and dads minds. This is a moving target, with new numbers and information coming out practically by the minute, but taking proactive steps and precautions will remain important in more ways than one, which I discuss below. As the weather warms, we should see less spread as the droplets by which the virus is spread evaporate more quickly. I have been researching, as I’m sure you have as well, and here I hope to provide you with a succinct, no BS list of steps to take in preventing illness, not only through hand-washing and other such important actions, but also through naturally supporting your immune system so it can do its miraculous work for you. Some of this information may be familiar to you, some not, but I hope you will find it to be helpful. Prevention

  • Only wear a mask if you are sick; It is more useful to maintain a 3 to 6 feet distance from others whenever possible. And of course, we are not shaking hands – this is a good excuse to use a Japanese greeting with hands in prayer position, just below the chin, and a slight bow. Handwashing – 20 seconds minimum, or 2 Happy Birthdays – wet hands, apply soap and rub between fingers, top and bottom, under fingernails. The friction is what’s most important here. Rinse with warm water. Dry thoroughly. If in a public restroom, remember not to touch door handle on way out. Use a paper towel or if towels are not available, use your clothing (but remember the virus can live on clothing, so this is not ideal) or keep tissues or napkins on you in case of such a need. This applies to all public surfaces – doors, elevators, gas pumps, atms.

  • Hand Sanitizer – the same method as hand washing applies – 20 seconds all over – using a 60% alcohol solution. Again, noting the importance of friction. It’s not enough to just apply it like we would a hand cream. (I make my own using alcohol, aloe vera gel, Vitamin E and essential oils, which may be the only option in the shortages many areas are experiencing – recipe below)

  • Avoid touching your face. Of course we’ve all realized we touch our faces way more than we ever noticed, but let's try to be mindful of this mindless habit

  • At home, clean frequently-touched surfaces more often than usual – make sure what you use is appropriate to kill viruses, but be mindful it is not toxic to humans. (You can make an alcohol spray with essential oils if you choose as well). That includes kitchen surfaces, bathrooms, door knobs, and don’t forget keyboards and phone/tablet screens!! Immune Support

  • Reduce stress in any way possible. When stressed, the body releases hormones that actually signal the immune system to shut down. This is part of being in a sympathetic-dominant state in the nervous system. The body is amazing and prioritizes functions based on the feedback you give it from your environment (this includes your emotional response to that environment) so it doesn’t care about things like viral invaders or digestion when it is getting ready to run for your life from the now-proverbial saber tooth tiger. If you don’t already have a meditation or yoga practice, of course I recommend trying them out (there are plenty of free resources I am happy to share). Other options are breathing exercises, such as the 4-7-8 breath[2] or alternate nostril breathing[3], time in nature, or a hot bath. If you have access to a Reiki Practitioner, this is a fantastic tool to bring into the mix, and the great news is that Reiki does not have to be performed in person to be effective. (You can find more information about Reiki and how to book a session here). Deep relaxation occurs when we quiet the mind, while observing thoughts in a detached way, so I do not recommend watching TV shows, movies, or playing video games, as these temporarily numb the mind while also fostering additional stressors that bubble up once the numbing agent is removed. (Sorry wine, this goes for you too)

  • Sleep. Sleep is when our body cleans house so to speak. Getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep is vital, especially in times of exposure and stress. Stay away from screens for at least an hour before bed (preferably 3), or at the very least, invest in some blue-blocking glasses. If you would like more information about best sleep practices and tips, contact me and I am happy to send it to you.

  • Physical Activity. Moving your body is key to keeping things flowing – movement flushes bacteria out of the lungs and airways. Exercise is also beneficial in affecting antibodies and white blood cells (the body's immune system cells that fight disease). Exercise cause these guys to circulate more rapidly, putting your body in a better position to detect invaders early and kill them off before they can multiply. Plus, raising the body temperature through exercise makes your body a less-comfortable place for unwelcome guests. One caveat: do not perform overly stressful workouts at this time – some power or other yoga or a brisk walk is great to get the heart rate up sufficiently to enjoy the benefits. Too much or too stressful a workout will actually be detrimental.

  • Eat nutrient dense whole foods that are anti-inflammatory. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Food is the information of our bodies. Feeding it processed, sugary foods puts stress on the body and causes the immune system to be on alert every time you eat something that is highly processed. Why? Because many of these things are not made with actual food, but rather with edible food-like substances, and the immune system has the job of figuring out whether what is coming in is safe or not. Some important foods to include are: liver (or try a dessicated liver supplement) which is packed with vitamin A and zinc; garlic & ginger which have anti-microbial and anti-viral effects; citrus foods; and unpasteurized fermented foods (like refrigerated pickles, kimchi, sauerkrau; I recommend staying clear of dairy products as they are phlegm promoting) for gut support (30 to 60% of the immune system resides in the gut)

  • Consider herbal remedies and/or supplements to cover gaps you may have in your diet: Cod Live Oil D/K2 blend, zinc lozenges or elderberry syrup (I like Gaia brand as many others out there don’t contain enough of the active ingredients to be effective). Propolis spray is also a little-known but great option! At Home Hand Sanitizer Recipe: 5 T Aloe Vera gel +/-4 T purified water ¼ t Vitamin E Oil 8-10 drops doTerra On Guard (or other bacteria/virus- fighting oil)* 2/3 cup alcohol 4 oz container with push cap Optional: funnel Instructions: combine Aloe Gel and Vitamin E in a bowl, add essential oil and mix well. Add alcohol and mix again. You can add more or less water to your desired consistency. Using a funnel if you have one, pour into bottle. For best results, always shake well prior to dispensing. At Home Sanitizing Spray: 1 T aloe vera gel 20 drops On Guard (or other bacteria/virus-fighting oil)* 5 oz Rubbing Alcohol ~3 oz purified water 8oz spray bottle Optional: funnel Combine aloe and oil in bottle, add alcohol and then water, using funnel if you have one. Replace nozzle and shake well. For best results, shake well before each use. *Essential oils are a great added punch, but if they are not accessible to you, these recipes can be made with confidence without them. I hope these tips leave you feeling empowered and less anxious. Please see the following links for further reading:

If you have any existing health conditions, please take extra care. If you do not, please think of others and remember it's not just about protecting yourself from exposure from others, but also about protecting others from exposure to you! Please reach out to any elders in your circle or community and see if you can deliver anything to them to help minimize their exposure to public places. Of course this email is not wholly comprehensive, so if you would like more information from me, you may email me or fill out the contact form here. I’m more than happy to answer any questions and perhaps help allay many concerns! Wishing you health, peace, and love, Meredith [1] [2] [3]

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