The new corona virus, COVID-19, is causing a lot of concern worldwide. With the first confirmed cases in Colorado just last week, we've been fielding a lot of questions from patients about how to be prepared and how the clinic is handling this threat. Please start by reading our previous blog post, "5 Tried & True Ways to Protect Yourself During Cold & Flu Season" for a firm foundation. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of self-care and utilizing basic immune boosting strategies.
Prevent exposure to pathogens. This is an addendum to the previous post: the 6th tried & true practice. Protect yourself by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water (20 seconds recommended). We've heard it all before, and yet it bears repeating. Especially when out in public, frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer and avoiding touching your face are your best defense. We suggest keeping hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in the car or at your desk at work, for easy use. Eco-friendly options are available, although supplies may be limited.
Understand your risks and manage your stress. This can be a tricky balance. Stay informed and monitor your risk. Check out these sources we look to for updates:
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
US Department of State travel advisories
State of Colorado
El Paso County Health Department
And an article we like on quarantine preparation:
We need to be able to assess our risk level in order to feel prepared and make good decisions about travel or attending events. We should all stay tuned for updates and follow the latest public health guidelines.
Keep in mind that following the news can be stressful and stress suppresses the immune system. We must balance the need to understand our risks with healthy practices that minimize our stress and keep our immune systems strong. With so many factors beyond our control, let's focus on what we can control: eating well, getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, good sleep and maintaining a positive mindset. (See our previous post for more details.)
What else can we do? There are two more items that I'd like to address, based on our experience and the best research we have available.
1. Managing Allergies. Spring allergy season is upon us. Tree pollen counts have been high since February and many of our patients are feeling the effects. Take care to address these symptoms early, to keep prevent inflammation in your airways. Consider running an air filter at night at home. Change your furnace filters regularly and pay a little extra for a high quality HEPA filter that will trap pollen, dust and mold spores. Take herbs, supplements and/or medications necessary to manage your symptoms. We have lots of recommendations on this front - schedule an herbal or nutrition consult to learn more.
2. Chinese Herbs to boost immunity. Here at the clinic, we are following the latest research and recommendations in Chinese medicine. One study during the SARS outbreak (another strand of coronavirus) showed that two Chinese herbal formulas were very effective in preventing the disease. While we do not have any studies available yet in regards to COVID-19, we believe these formulas may also be effective.
The recommended formulas are Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen Powder) and Sang Ju Yin (Mulberry Leaf & Chrysanthemum Decoction). Many of our patients take Yu Ping Feng San for allergies or to boost immunity, and we recommend they continue doing so. We have ordered a supply of Sang Ju Yin, which we hope will be helpful to many of our patients who are concerned about COVID-19. If you have questions about the availability of these formulas or which herbs and supplements to take to boost your immune system, please give us a call or schedule an herb consult so we can determine the support that is best for you.
We will continue to post updates as the epidemic unfolds. Until then, stay informed, manage your stress and take good care!
-Hannah Beachy, L.Ac.