Covid19 has everyone pretty freaked out right now, and there is reason to be concerned - it is contagious (although not as contagious as something like measles) and people are dying (mostly people in their 70's and 80's) - but I believe there is equally good reason to feel heartened and confident.
Why? Because there are things we can do to protect ourselves and to those that we love. Most people are not at risk of becoming critically ill or dying. In fact, it is possible many of us had this virus back in December or January (remember that really really bad cough that was going around?? Hmmm....). We will make it through!
If you want as little risk as possible, the best thing you can do is stay home. Don't expose yourself or others, stay in as long as you don't need to go out and avoid social gatherings. This is a reasonable recommendation until the virus naturally makes its way through more of the population.
The next best thing you can do is wash your hands. Yes. Washing your hands is still the #1 #1 #1 thing you can do to prevent spreading the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water, don't touch your face.
There is also a lot of misinformation out there about Coronavirus, how it spreads and what can or cannot kill it. The Who actually put together a great list of Mythbusters - I highly recommend you check it out!
Here in the US we are still in the early stages of our curve. Yes, it is still likely to get worse before it gets better, but please please realize that we have only just started widespread testing. That means that our numbers could be artificially high in the next 5-10 days. This will be a more accurate picture of what is actually going on, not necessarily representative of a terrible and immediate increase in cases. So please, breathe deep, don't panic, read the statistics and not just the media. The raw data is going to give you a better sense of what is going on compared to a journalists' opinion and synthesis of it.
Good places to get accurate information are the CDC, The WHO Situation Dashboard and your local Department of Health website for your specific county. They will have a Covid19 page at this time - I know Multnomah and Clark County both do.
But I digress - in addition to quarantine and social distancing, staying positive and taking small steps to improve your immunity can go a long way. Stress is also bad for the immune system, and panic itself can be like a virus - if you've seen those empty toilet paper shelves at the store I am sure you can attest to that! Don't be infected by panic - stay calm, stay safe, and do all the little things you can do to keep calm and carry on.
Here is an excellent hand out from Functional Nutrition Lab about some of the Immune SuperHeroes out there that we can mix into our daily routine. Stay focused on what you can do instead of what you can't do and together, we will make it through!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.