Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic

These are certainly interesting times that we are in right now. My other sidegigs are in the urgent care and telemedicine, both of which have been slammed during this COVID-19 outbreak. At this point, most everything has been shut down – all NC schools, most college campuses, gyms… Really any gathering type place. Restaurants are starting to offer takeout and contact-free delivery services. The economy is tanking. 

Parents are learning to work from home in the midst of developing some kind of homeschool routine. Some are self quarantining waiting for the four day test to come back. Many are worried about their elderly parents and grandparents.

Fear of the unknown overshadows everything. Healthcare workers are excited to show up but are getting burned out too. I have to say I haven’t slept so well and dreamt so much in years.

So let me ask you this —  

How are you coping with this overnight change of routine? Have you instituted some healthy habits, though new to you, into your routine at home? Or are you just trying to keep your head over water here and managing day by day and putting out fires….

Here is more information from the CDC about the COVID-19 virus and those at increased risk (those with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, and smokers). Because many are not tested, there are likely many cases that are not diagnosed, inflating the numbers of positives and deaths from disease. 

Here are a few things you can do now: 

Boost your immune system
– Though you might want to grab that glass (or two or three) of wine, abstaining at this time or keeping it to 1/day will help keep your body strong against picking up (and of course spreading) germs.
– Get your sleep. Getting good zzz’s are crucial to a strong defense system. Aim for at least 6 hours a night (8 is better), and bed by 10pm. 
– Take herbs/supplements – some of these are in foods! My favorites are elderberry, garlic, apple cider vinegar, Vit C and high dose (5-10,000 IU/day) of Vit D. Drinking a packet of Emergen-C a day is great too and an easy way to get younger kids to get their vit’s in. 
– Stay moving. Although your gym may be closed, get some fresh air or do an online workout. Many gyms are offering online memberships and resources to keep your exercise routine on during this pandemic.

Decrease your exposure
– Social distancing. In our attempt to “flatten the curve” it remains very important to not just protect yourself, but those that are several degree separated from you. The CDC is now requesting that any gatherings greater than 10 people be limited.
– Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20  seconds, especially after being in a public place.
– Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Many stores are out at this point. See this recipe if you feel ambitious and want a homeschool activity for a DIY recipe.
– Sanitize surfaces. The virus can live on surfaces for several days. 
– Avoid touching your face.
– Avoid close contact with those that are sick.

If you feel like you have symptoms, this might be a good time to utilize telehealth services offered by your provider or insurance company. I can tell you though, be ready for longer wait times as the health system is getting overloaded.

Also, most public health departments are fielding calls 24/7 for those at risk with symptoms. They can help direct you to testing if warranted. There is a shortage of tests, so they may be reserved for only those at highest risk. 

Above, all, try to remain positive. This is hard for many people for many reasons, but stress does decrease the immune response. Keep practicing gratitude and hold your loved ones close (but not if they are sick). The future is unclear on what this will look like for us, but how rare is it to have this special time with our loved ones. Try to embrace it. Hopefully soon we will be looking back on this and look at it as an opportunity to improve our healthcare system and preventative measures as a whole. 

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veena somani md

integrative  lifestyle  coach