It’s been all over the news. Lots of you have been asking questions. So let’s dive into the coronavirus. In this post, we’ll look at the facts to help you avoid unnecessary fear, we’ll make suggestions for keeping your immune system strong, and we’ll share some ways that we at Flourish are preparing to keep you (and ourselves!) healthy and safe in the coming months.
Don’t Panic! Learn the Facts
Let us start this conversation by acknowledging that COVID-19 is a new virus, so lots of new info is being released literally everyday. Here are some basic pieces of information about the virus:
- The virus is gaining so much attention and concern because it is highly contagious. For those individuals below the age of 60 with a normal immune system, rates of severe illness or death are very low.
- As of March 3, only one Sonoma County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The only people currently at risk of infection are those who have recently travelled to countries of concern (China, S Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran), or individuals that have had close contact with someone clinically diagnosed with COVID-19.
- The county has declared a “state of emergency”. This does not mean that things are dire! It is simply a status that enables the county to act more quickly in taking certain actions than it might otherwise be able to, and to receive funding from the state or federal governments for efforts related to the virus.
- From early numbers reported on COVID-19, pregnant women don’t seem to be more vulnerable than others. However, public health officials are encouraging pregnant women to practice an abundance of caution, because not enough data has been collected to draw a solid conclusion.
- Children seem to be avoiding severe illness from COVID-19 (also yay!). No deaths have been reported for infected children ages 0-9 years old.
Keeping Yourself and Your Community Safe
In order to keep yourself, your loved ones, and the vulnerable individuals in your community safe, the most important thing is to implement common sense public health practices. Even though the virus is not yet present in our community, we want to get ahead of it with prevention:
- If you think you may be sick with the early symptoms of a respiratory disease, stay home! This includes avoiding coming in to the Flourish clinic when you’re sick. While we sometimes encourage patients to come in for care even when under the weather, this illness presents a different situation. We will waive the late cancellation fee for those patients cancelling due to illness.
- Wash! Your! Hands! Just do it! Many times a day, especially after you’ve been out of the house, or before eating. Soap, warm water, for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol has been proven effective against COVID-19.
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose entirely with a tissue (that immediately goes into the trash can), with your upper arm, or with the crook of your elbow. Wash / sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- Avoid unnecessary close contact with any sick individuals.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Use your elbow or shoulder to open doors when possible. If using a shared touch screen or keypad, use the back of the knuckle on one of your fingers rather than your fingertip.
- Please don’t buy disposable face masks – they are becoming a hot commodity, and aren’t a great solution for protecting yourself against this virus. Leave the face masks for the health professionals working with tuberculosis patients and kids with leukemia!!!
Optimizing Your Immune System and Lung Health
- Get your lungs in tip-top shape! This is a respiratory illness… so turn on your air filters, do your breathing exercises, and definitely put down the smokes or vape pen.
- Let go of things! In Chinese medicine, the Lung is associated with material possessions as well as grief. So now is a great time to let go of anything that you’ve been holding on to that is cluttering your physical space, or that is bringing you sadness. Make some space for yourself to breathe, and your lungs will be stronger for it.
- Take your vitamins and herbs! Vitamins D and C, and zinc are important components of a healthy immune system. A few of our favorite general immune boosting herbs include elderberry, astragalus, cordyceps and reishi. Come in to chat with one of our acupuncturists or Dr. Jen, ND, to see if there’s a formula or dosage that would be best for you.
- Eat well! Avoid stressing your body with inflammatory foods like alcohol, white flour, sugar, and dairy, or any food that you might be sensitive to. Our favorite foods to boost your immune system are garlic and mushrooms (shiitake & reishi). Eat a colorful variety of nutrient-rich produce.
- Stay hydrated! Your mucus membranes (nose, eyes, mouth) are your first line of defense, and it’s critical that they have the moisture they need to do their job. You can also consider nasal irrigation.
- Get lots of sleep! Sleep helps stave off inflammation and keeps your white blood cells ready to fight any pathogens.
- Manage your stress! Stress shunts resources away from your immune system. Do yoga, come in for acupuncture, get a coloring book – whatever works for you.
- Spend time outside! Outside time is great for vitamin D production as well as managing stress.
- Get exercise! Moderate exercise can boost immune function. But don’t overdo it – excessive exercise may actually temporarily suppress your immune function.
- Connect with your loved ones! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by news stories and threats of pandemic, remember to keep yourself feeling grounded by reaching out to your friends and family.
How Flourish Can Help
Here at Flourish, we have come up with a few ways to support the community in preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- Increasing health and safety precautions: We are always committed to maintaining a clean and safe space at the Flourish clinic. In an effort to keep any potential contagions at bay, we will be implementing increased safety measures in the way we maintain our space and work with patients. In addition, we are asking any patients potentially exposed to COVID-19 or showing signs of respiratory illness to stay home – and we will be waiving the late cancellation fees (of course!).
- Offering reduced rate Immune Boost appointments: For the month of March, we will be offering 45-minute, $75 acupuncture appointments for acupuncture and herbs / supplements that focus solely on optimizing your immune system and lung health. The Immune Boost appointment will only be offered to patients that have previously received acupuncture at Flourish and, unfortunately, can not be offset by insurance. To book an Immune Boost appointment, use our online booking system, or email us. **Please note, these appointments are intended to work on optimizing immunity, but are not intended to treat you if you are already feeling sick. Given the threat of COVID-19, please stay home if you feel like you’re getting sick or if you have been exposed to the virus! Thank you!
- Providing massage for immune support: Our wonderful masseuse, Rose DeNicola, will be offering immune support with aroma-acupressure and manual lymphatic drainage. Click here to book with Rose.
- Upcoming Presentation on the Novel Coronavirus: Flourish’s Dr. Jen Riegle, ND, would like to invite you to join the Wild Oak Medicine team for an update on the novel coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and your family naturally. Drs Jen Riegle, Chris Holder, and Thea Rabb, as well as Nutrition Consultant Mia Martinek will be providing information about avoidance, prevention, and emerging possible treatments. They look forward to seeing you to offer information and empower you with ways you can actively care for your family during this time.Date: 3/11/2020
Location: Airport Health Club, Santa Rosa, CA
Please call 707-528-2582 to RSVP
We at Flourish wish you all health and happiness in the coming months – whatever those months may bring. We are always stronger in unity, so remember to support and love yourself and those around you in what may be trying times.