There is no treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) just yet, and we know prevention, mainly hand washing, is our best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, the fear has created a panic that has rippled throughout the world resulting in xenophobia, hoarding, and toilet paper shortages!
What can you do during times like these? If you are older and/or have pre-existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues such as asthma, or diabetes, you are at higher risk of having complications and death by coronavirus. This is a great time to address these issues and start taking care of your health. This can be as simple as staying hydrated, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Even in times like these, you can work towards optimal health and strengthening your immune defenses.
Here are my thoughts and recommendations for well-being during these unpredictable times. And while some of these specific recommendations are not studied against coronavirus (COVID-19), they have minimal to no risk in incorporating them and can still support your overall immune system and well-being.
1. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH A POSITIVE SPIN
We know that washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds dramatically decreases the transmission of the coronavirus. This is a great time for a positive mantra or song. One study found women who are living with HIV with high positive affect had more viral suppression. So, instead of singing “Happy Birthday” to measure the length of time you need to wash your hands, why not try this positive and catchy tune:
2. CLEAN YOUR SMARTPHONE
Don’t forget your beloved but overlooked smartphone! Nowadays, smartphones are just another appendage to the hand. On average, we pick up our phones an astounding 58 times per day! So, whether you are washing your hands thoroughly, don’t forget to wipe down your smartphone too!
3. EAT PINEAPPLE
Pineapple is high in vitamin C, which can support the immune system. It has also been used by many people like the Amish and in India to treat coughs. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-viral capability of bromelain is by causing damage to the viral structure, thereby destroying its’ outer layer and decreasing its ability to reproduce. It is the start of fresh pineapple season, and given the health benefits, there is little harm in adding some pineapple to your diet.
4. EAT BRAZIL NUTS
Selenium is a mineral found in grains, fish, meat, and poultry. However, Brazil nuts contain by far the highest amounts of selenium. Dietary supplementation with selenium can strengthen the immune system of patients with viral diseases, especially infections by RNA viruses, the type of virus that coronavirus (COVID-19) is categorized. Selenium-depleted soil and therefore, selenium deficiency is common in parts of China and Italy, areas that currently have the highest number of coronavirus outbreaks. One study showed that deficiency of selenium can cause mutations in the viral RNA, which can potentially cause symptoms to be more severe. Eating food that has selenium, therefore, can potentially impede the harmful effects of viral infections.
5. BREATHE IN SOME ESSENTIAL OILS
Several studies have shown that essential oils have an anti-viral effect. One study showed that marjoram, clary sage and anise essential oils were the most effective at decreasing viral effects of influenza, another RNA virus. This is not a cure for coronavirus (COVID-19) since as of yet there is not one, however, essential oils may be a simple preventative measure and can give symptomatic relief. Eucalyptus oil is often used as a steam inhalation to help open the lungs and clear the sinuses, and menthol found in cough drops are the main component of peppermint oil. If you feel like the uncertainty is causing some fear and unease, breathing in essential oils like lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass can also help to calm nerves and induce relaxation. If you enjoy breathing in essential oils, this may be a great time to pull out your bottles and carry them with you.
Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.
Health Psychol. 2017 January ; 36(1): 91-100. doi:10.1037/hea0000382. Positive Affect and its Association with Viral Control among Women with HIV Infection
Journal of Engineering and Applied SciencesYear: 2018 | Volume: 13 | Issue: 3 SI | Page No.: 3125-3130. DOI: 10.36478/jeasci.2018.3125.3130 Bromelain Enzyme from Pineapple Fruit as an Antiviral Agent Against HIV, Hepatitis C and Human Papiloma Virus