March 12, 2020 Update: For up-to-date local, national, and international information regarding the COVID19 pandemic, see the respective websites below.

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It is all over the news and social media.

There is talk of preparing for major disruption to regular life, school and work.

Some grocery store aisles were shockingly bare over this past weekend.

As expected, the coronavirus is now in the United States, and it is possibly just a matter of days before it is identified in Colorado.

Is it overblown? Time will tell, but I can tell you that the hype does not serve anyone’s nervous system well, and managing your stress will be key if the virus heads our way. One way I manage my stress is by being informed.

While the virus thankfully does not seem to be so challenging for healthy individuals and children, it can be more severe in those over 65 years of age and those with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. It spreads rather easily, which is the main concern for public health. Additionally it is so new that we don’t know as much about it as we would like to.

Regardless of risk factors, nobody wants to be sick or spread illness to others who are potentially at a higher risk for an adverse event. As the days and weeks progress, it is likely that a person coughing or sneezing out in public will make others feel increasingly uneasy.

What can you do?

  • As always, if you are sick stay at home, or wear a mask to minimize the chance of passing your illness on to someone else if you have to go out. Importantly, public health does not recommend that healthy individuals wear a mask and research suggests that a healthy individual wearing a mask likely increases their chances of contracting an illness due to accidental contamination.
  • Support overall well-being: get plenty of sleep, exercise, fresh air and sunshine when available; practice mindfulness; eat a fruit and vegetable-rich whole foods diet; and do whatever else you employ for stress management.
  • HYDRATION – don’t get caught without your water bottle. I cannot overstate this. My experience is that even a short errand without my water bottle can leave me a little dehydrated, and there have been times where that tipped the scale for me and I succumbed to whatever was going around. Don’t let that be you and stay hydrated all day long.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze in your elbow and make sure everyone in your household/workplace does too.
  • Don’t touch your face throughout your day.
  • Wash your hands frequently and every time you come home.
  • I am not a huge fan of hand sanitizers (research shows soap and water work just as well) but consider keeping some hand sanitizing wipes in your bag and car for when soap and water are not available.
  • Open the windows in your home once every day or so, briefly, especially if someone in your household is sick, and if you haven’t changed your air filter recently now is a good time.

In addition to the above, there are specific supplements that may help. I don’t suggest any old “immune-boosting” supplements, as one of the difficult aspects of the virus is that it can cause an over-reaction of the immune system leading to more severe illnesses and outcomes. See Update below. Rather, I am focusing on anti-viral nutrients and herbs that can be taken daily and increased during any acute viral infection:

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Garlic
  • Elderberry
  • Anti-viral formulas:
    • ImmunoberryÔ by Designs for Health
    • ViraCon by Vital Nutrients

Update: Heather Zwickey PhD, immunologist and researcher at the Helfgott Research Institute, says immune supporting herbs, even those that increase cytokine production, will act more as immuno-modulators than immune stimulants and will not cause or contribute to the cytokine storm that is seen in the late stages of this infection.

If you would like guidance on strengthening your health and immunity further against the COVID19 coronavirus or any other wintertime illness, please call my office to schedule an appointment. 720-340-0193