5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System and Fight Off the Coronavirus or Any Virus By Michele Dipolito, LMP, HHP
With all the hype going around about the Novel Coronavirus it is a little hard not to be worried, especially when every other headline is informing and updating us on the current situation and forecast. Initially one could say you should be more worried about the flu, but that could quickly change. A few facts I have learned over the last two weeks in talking with clients, professionals, and following news updates:
- There is around a 15% Mortality rate among elderly people and those with compromised immune systems
- Most of the common colds are coronaviruses
- Covid-19 is different because of where it originated (from a snake) and there are a lot of unknowns with how it could transfer and either increase or decrease in strength
- So far the flu has killed more people
- Kids have not been affected much if at all
- Symptoms include feeling short of breath, a worsening cough, and a fever that continues to gradually rise
- Wearing a mask could prevent those who are sick from spreading their droplets out onto surfaces and objects, or it could prevent those not infected from touching their nose and mouth before washing their hands. On average a person touches their mouth and nose about 90 times a day!
Things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones:
1. The most common sense one that everyone has been posting about...WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER TOUCHING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING!
As a licensed massage therapist, this habit is second nature to me. After realizing that not everyone else is as diligent, I’ve upped my game in reminding those around me, and reiterating the importance to my 4 yr old son who attends preschool daily. Every time we are out of the house or in a public place and return home we wash our hands.
2. Start Implementing the Use of Essential Oils
If you are not sure what essential oils are, they are volatile plant substances that act as protection and the life blood of the plant. Complex chemical compounds created by nature to protect, and promote wellbeing within the plant. The essential oil can come from various parts of the plant. Leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, bark, and roots. What is so fascinating and cool about these volatile oils, is that they can have the same effect on us humans. Each oil is powerful and has different properties. For example Peppermint essential oil is great for cooling a fever or sunburn, reducing inflammation, easing an upset stomach, or opening up congested airways. Just 1 drop of peppermint oil is equal to drinking 28 cups of peppermint tea!! Imagine that! Instead of drinking 28 cups of tea just a 1 drop of therapeutic grade oil to a glass or cup of hot water.
The best essential oils for boosting the immune system and killing viruses are: Thyme, Oregano, Cardamom, Lemon, Wild Orange, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, and Melaleuca (also known as “tea tree”).
These oils are very potent and a drop or two is all you need.
Ways to use them:
- 1 or 2 drops diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil and apply to the bottoms of your feet then put socks on.
- Diffuse the oils to kill airborne pathogens.
- Mix 10-30 drops in a 8 oz. spray bottle of ¾ water and ¼ grain alcohol to make a disinfecting spray.
- Create a hand sanitizer. Using a small spray bottle mix 6-10 drops of your favorite oils into ½ parts witch hazel and ½ parts aloe vera gel. Witch hazel takes the place of alcohol and acts as another line of defense against germs, plus it is more nourishing to the skin. (This one is a handy recipe to have now that hand sanitizer is selling out at all the stores)
Doterra is the brand of certified pure therapeutic grade oils that I use. You can find a link here to my wellness advocate website for more information on the oils and how you can purchase them. There are other good and reputable companies that produce oils, but this company is great in that they provide a ton of free education and also provide the testing for each batch of oils they produce.
3. Elderberries, Elderberries, and More Elderberries!
Found in teas, tinctures, syrups, and supplements, Elderberries are a powerful herb that come from the honeysuckle family. One of the best and most effective for treating and preventing upper respiratory infections as well as fever. The substances within Elderberry are able to lock onto receptor sites for certain strains of the flu virus. I personally find this herb more effective than the flu shot because it can potentially protect against more strains. Every cold and flu season I take a dropper full of an elderberry syrup or supplement at least once a day and twice a day if I feel like I’m coming down with something.
4. Drink Immune Boosting Teas
Drinking tea is a great way to stay hydrated and boost our body's immune system. The herbs found in teas are a rich source of vitamins and minerals essential to a thriving immune system. There are so many variations and types of immune boosting teas. Some of the most effective ones include: Dandelion, Chamomile, Lavender, Holy Basil, Honeysuckle, Licorice, Green, and peppermint teas.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
With our fast paced world we live in this can probably be the most challenging one of all but definitely the most vital in our ability to fight off viruses and for our overall well-being in general. The recommended amount of sleep is about 7-8 hours per night. When we are feeling depleted or as if we might be coming down with an illness, our body needs even more rest. Think about ways you can improve your sleep. Take electronics and wifi signals out of the room, turn off or dim the lights, diffuse a relaxing or calming oil blend, add a heated blanket or microwave heating pack to help relax tense muscles and achieve a deeper rest. These are all ways we can help to improve our sleep environment.
So, to conclude, regardless of all the hype, it’s always good to be aware of what is happening and be proactive in how we can boost our immune system to ward off not just the coronavirus, but all viruses and foreign bacteria. Think about which of these actions you could start implementing in your daily routine if you are not already doing so, and what information you can share with your loved ones to help protect them as well!