As many states gradually begin the process of reopening, people are cautiously reintegrating into society. However, it’s important to recognize that while some states and counties have reopened to varying degrees, precautions are still recommended. Furthermore, no known cure or vaccine is available, and the limited access to testing potentially puts everyone at risk. If you do plan to reintegrate, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Check Your County’s Guidelines
As states go through the reopening process, the actual guidelines for that reopening will vary from state to state and county to county. Many counties are opening in “phases.” Even if your state has declared a reopening, many businesses will still remain closed or maintain different requirements for patrons. For example, your neighborhood salon may record your temperature and personal information for contact tracing, and you may be required to wear a face mask and wait outside until your appointed time. Restaurants may only allow a fraction of their normal capacity or simply stick with takeout and delivery orders.
Make sure you check your county’s guidelines to determine what will actually be open and the regulations you need to follow if you decide to visit any business. That way you won’t inconvenience yourself and you won’t put anyone at risk or in an uncomfortable situation.
Continue to Practice Social Distancing
Reopening does not mean that the virus is gone or cured. Continue to practice social distancing in order to reduce your risk of transmission. If you do decide to venture outside your home, maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, especially when indoors. Wear a face mask or other cloth covering that goes completely over your mouth and nose. Cloth masks are increasingly available, but even a handkerchief or t-shirt tied over your nose and mouth is better than nothing.
Even with reopening, do your best to avoid gatherings of any size outside of your household. This also means avoiding most forms of public transit and air travel unless it is truly necessary.
Maintain Good Hygiene
Virus or not, continue to maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, including when you return from outside, before and after you eat a meal, and after using the toilet. Use soap and warm water, making sure to foam up all parts of your hands for 20 seconds. If you absolutely do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer, but understand that hand sanitizer is not meant to be a substitute for normal handwashing. If you find yourself in this situation, wash your hands as soon as soap and water become available.
Furthermore, avoid touching your face. Touching your face has the potential to introduce the virus (and other microbes) to your eyes, nose, and mouth, making it much easier to get into your body, especially the lungs.
Along with washing your hands, make sure you wash your food and disinfect containers and common surfaces in your home. This includes doorknobs, keyboards, and phones. It never hurts to be a little extra clean, especially now. After a shopping trip, use a disinfecting wipe to clean the outer surfaces of your packaged foods. If you use reusable shopping bags, launder them after each use.
Optimize Your Natural Immunities
Now is as good a time as any to optimize your immune system to prevent other illnesses and keep your body healthy with good nutrition, the right supplements, and healthy lifestyle changes.
Bovine Colostrum with liposomal delivery is highly recommended for its rich combination of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, immunoglobulins, and antibodies, all of which can fuel your body, support your immune health, and feed your gut bacteria. A liposomal delivery system ensures that the colostrum survives the harsh stomach acids and digestive enzymes to reach your intestines for maximum absorption and bioavailability.
Along with colostrum, consider incorporating more antioxidant-rich nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin D, curcumin, and zinc. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, which are compounds that can cause damage to cells and DNA. This damage can harm the immune system and contribute to chronic issues.
Take care of your gut health with probiotic supplements. The gut microbiome is often cited for its potential to help digestion and metabolism, but studies suggest that it also plays an integral role in immunities and inflammation. A leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, allows food particles and toxins to exit the intestines and into the bloodstream, which may lead to chronic low-grade inflammation. Probiotics may help to rebalance your gut health by replenishing the microbiome with “good” bacteria and crowding out the “bad” bacteria.
Sleep helps your body and mind recover, giving your immune system the opportunity to repair cells and tissue. While these unprecedented times can make sleep difficult, do your best to get seven to nine good hours of sleep per night. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants that make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. Getting less than five hours of sleep each night may increase your chance of viral infection up to 300 percent.
If you are continually having trouble falling asleep, Antoinette Caruso, FNTP/CGP, recommends taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays a role in your circadian rhythms. Normally, melatonin levels increase at night, making you feel tired and sleepy. A lack of melatonin can disrupt your sleep schedule and prevent a restful night of sleep. Melatonin may also inhibit damage to the lungs and support the immune system.
Chronic stress has a significant effect on your physical and mental health, including hampering your immune system functions. Managing your stress at a time of such uncertainty can seem impossible, but do your best. Consider yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, and try to spend some time every day being mindful and doing something that you can enjoy. If possible, get a little sunshine or spend some time in nature for added benefit.
For anxiety, Caruso also recommends certain supplements, like magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in balancing blood pressure and may help to relax your muscles and your brain. It should be safe to supplement with magnesium in amounts of 150 mg to upwards of 400 mg per day to soothe nerves, stay calm, and reduce stress headaches.
Caruso also suggests S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAM-e), an amino acid that may also help induce a state of calm. It can put a stop to the constant loop of worry that can happen during social distancing and quarantine. SAM-e may also help to relieve some of the aches and pains that come with tension and worrying too much.
Lastly, Caruso suggests taking a GABA supplement for anxiety. GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been studied for its ability to inhibit anxiety. As a neurotransmitter, GABA attaches to specific receptors in the brain to produce a calming effect that can reduce feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress. Caruso recommends servings of up to 1,000 mg of GABA taken on an empty stomach. GABA supplements may be taken two to three times per day, but be aware that GABA can make some people drowsy.
Regular exercise can play a role in maintaining immunities. Along with managing stress, exercise helps to tire your body out, potentially allowing for a better night’s rest. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
Maintain a Non-Inflammatory Diet
Gut inflammation can hurt your immunities and contribute to mental unwellness, both of which can make reintegration difficult. Eating a non-inflammatory diet can help to maintain your gut health, improve your mood, and generally ensure your comfort during an otherwise uncomfortable time.
Foods that contribute to inflammation include:
– Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta, rice, and desserts
– Fried foods
– Sugar & artificial sweeteners
– Trans fats
Unfortunately, these tend to be the most convenient foods that people reach for in times of distress, but they can increase gut inflammation, resulting in gastrointestinal issues, like gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, as well as weight gain.
Instead, reach for anti-inflammatory foods, which are represented by fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and lean sources of protein. Colostrum and other nutritional supplements may also help to reduce gut inflammation and promote overall well-being.
Reopening businesses and reintegrating into society during the pandemic
still comes with plenty of uncertainty and hesitancy. Travel restrictions
and other regulations may still apply, maintaining social distancing is
still recommended as a means of upholding current public health. Do your
best to optimize your own immunities, and if you aren’t sure about
something you have read or heard from a questionable source, check with
your personal doctor. Above all, continue to stay safe and help those who
are most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. If everyone takes their
responsibility seriously, we will be resilient.