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Best strategies for protecting yourself and loved ones from the coronavirus

By now I’m sure you are very aware of the current Coronavirus situation worldwide. We are all living through an extraordinary time in humanity’s history.

Personally I’m choosing to see the current worldwide measures at temporary isolation as a positive step as it is the first time in our human history that we:
1) Have the knowledge, ability and communications ability to even propose such historic measures 
2) Globally we are acting individually to protect and look after the many. By self-isolating (which may be somewhat inconvenient to us as individuals), we will hopefully be able to turn the tide and safeguard the health of many. Which is a huge step forward in our human evolution!

If you are at home it is a unique time and opportunity to turn inward and spend time on yourself and loved ones. We can use this time proactively, to reflect on our lives, lifestyles and relationships and improve any areas which we want to work on. We can choose to make positive lifestyle changes to our diet, lifestyle and exercise routines. We can learn and choose proactive ways to decrease stress and anxiety. This is very important as stress negatively affect our immune systems.

The information conundrum:

Living in this age of connectivity and technology and having so much information at our finger-tips can be empowering and useful in many ways: There are many wonderful resources being shared and used, from online exercise programs, education, etc, to apps keeping us all connected and able to communicate. However, all the constant information can also become very time-consuming and overwhelming! My advice is to limit your daily intake of news, and time spent on your devices. Choose to use the time you do spend online productively!

There is also much fake news around. Everyone has become an instant “expert” on health, immunity and viruses… It is important to choose 1-2 sources of information that are validated and that you trust and then “tune out” of all the rest.

Some useful factual information on Covid-19

There is so much information around now on the virus. Here is a useful piece of information perhaps less widely known:

When are those affected able to infect others?

A new study from Berlin suggests that while people with mild infections can still test positive by throat swabs for days and even weeks after their illness; those who are only mildly sick are likely not still infectious by about 10 days after they start to experience symptoms.

The study also noted that people who are infected begin to develop antibodies to the virus quickly, typically within six to 12 days. The rapid rise of antibodies may explain why about 80% of people infected with the virus do not develop severe disease.

So what are the best strategies to protect you and your loved ones?

On a global, public health level the strategy to try and contain the spread of the virus through isolation measures and the general health precautions below seem sound:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What about “alternative treatment” mesaures?

Phytotherapists (Medical herbalists) have considerable experience of using herbal and dietary interventions to support people with conditions likely to bring about a reduced resistance against viral infections. While we welcome the exploration of herbal strategies to encourage resilience to infection, we would not wish to support any spurious claims made by individuals or companies to provide “cures” for coronavirus. We are aware of many such products already being marketed and need to point out that, although some of these purport to be herbal in nature, these products are in no way representative of the accredited work of herbal practitioners

Much research is already underway, with some treatment trials based on information extrapolated from previous, but unrelated, coronavirus infections. Some of these trials will include herbal elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which was used to manage many patients at the start of the outbreak in China. In China it is common practice to use a combination of TCM and conventional medicine approaches even in hospital settings. The World Health Organisation is registering many such trials at present. Initial information remains tentative, but there seems to be some evidence that patients who received a combination of TCM and conventional strategies may have done better than those who were offered just one type of treatment.

The results of these studies are eagerly awaited. Meanwhile, as practitioners we can offer herbal strategies used to bring about enhanced immunity and increased resistance to infection; as well as optimising general health and treating underlying conditions. We always encourage our patients to integrate the herbal advice they receive from qualified practitioners with any conventional treatment or management strategies, and to observe the current infection control and management guidelines formulated by the Department of Health. {Thanks to the NIMH}

During these extraordinary times, Phytotherapy practitioners have also been granted allowance by the AHPCSA to conduct internet-based and telephone consultations.

Some simple additional ideas for staying safe and healthy:

  1. Stay Calm: One of the biggest factors affecting your immune system and resistance to infection is stress and anxiety. Try not to get caught up in the panic. Use sensible precautions and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing; yoga; Pilates; meditation; Reiki, EFT/Tapping, etc.
  2. Eat well: A varied diet, rich in organic fruit and vegetables with their high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content is one of the best defenses against any kind of infection. Make sure to include onions, berries and green leafy vegetables; and oily fish or a fish oil supplement.
  3. Get some fresh air and sunshine: Vitamin D (from sunlight) helps to keep our immune system healthy. Make sure you get 20 mins each day of sun exposure on long bones such as arms and legs (without sunscreen). Best to do this outside the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm), to avoid the risk of sunburn. In addition, it has been reported that the coronavirus is destroyed by heat above 24 degrees. While this is still uncertain, a dose of sunshine should still be beneficial for general immunity
  4. Garlic: Long used as an anti-viral; antibiotic and anti-fungal, raw and freshly crushed garlic is a potent defense against infections of all kinds. 1 Clove crushed into olive oil or plain yogurt, or mixed into your food (after cooking), is a great way to stave off many infections. Garlic is partly eliminated via the lungs, disinfecting them as it is breathed-off, so this is a great herb for any respiratory tract infections.
  5. Vitamin C: There has been speculation that the use of vitamin C may be useful against the coronovirus. This is currently not well substantiated and appears to pertain more to infusions rather than oral supplements. However, Vitamin C is used to raise immunity in those with low immunity and has been shown in many studies to shorten both the severity and duration of many viral infections.

What else can we do?

I think for many of us, the best thing we can do, in addition to the suggestions above, are to use this time to proactively develop and maintain a relaxed and positive mindset. Two great ways to do this are:

  1. Set Goals: Simple, fun goals during this time can help to give your day some structure and something to work towards. These don’t have to be huge “important” goals, just something to work towards. For example: my son (7rs) and I have set a goal to practice beach-bats every day throughout the 21 day lockdown. Our goal is to see how long a “rally” we can achieve by the 21st day.
  2. Explore techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety. One very effective way to do this is with EFT/Tapping. To help facilitate this, I will be offering a free online, group tapping session. I will be posting more details about this soon. You can also “like” Healing Cottage’s Facebook page for more updates:

In the meantime, I am available for online EFT/Tapping sessions; Phytotherapy consultations and online Pilates sessions.

Please email me at: to schedule an appointment.

Until then, keep calm and stay healthy…

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