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March 14, 2020

Tips to Keep Your Immunity Strong

We all have a lot of concerns with the way our world has suddenly changed. Many public events have been cancelled or postponed and even schools have been closed. Just turning on the news can be upsetting and stressful. In my humble opinion, the best thing we can do is to stay calm, and yoga is one of the best ways that we can do that. Yoga and meditation won’t make the coronavirus disappear, but they can help with how we deal with current events. If we panic, that increases our stress response which does nothing to help our immunity—it only lowers it. Managing stress and getting rest are two keys to protecting our immunity. Here are some additional tips:

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Lack of sleep hinders our immunity. Aim for 8 -9 hours of sleep each night.

If you’re not feeling fully rested in the morning, make sure you have an established bedtime routine: turn off devices (phones, laptops, and TVs at least 2 hours before bed), take a shower or bath, massage your feet and scalp with oil (sesame, almond, olive, etc.), read a book, or meditate.

Meditation and yoga are great at managing stress so make sure to give yourself some time for these important practices. Stress has many negative effects on the body, including lowering our immunity. If you’re not sure how to meditate, there are many apps to try. My favorite is Insight Timer. They even have a “Beginner” section.  If you don’t want to use an app, it’s as simple as pausing for a minute to focus on your breath—paying attention to the inhales and the exhales.

Drink plenty of water—generally half your weight in ounces (if you weigh 120 pounds, drink at least 60 ounces of water in a day). Coffee, tea, and anything else with caffeine (think chocolate) can be dehydrating to the body so you’ll need extra water to make up the difference. Water is essential for all our bodily functions, and it’s especially important to fight infections.

Oil your nostrils and ear canals before going in public. The oil will acts as a barrier to keep airborne bugs out. You can put a small amount of oil (same oils as above) on your little finger or a cotton swab.

Avoid unnecessary travel or time in large groups. If you need to go to the store, wear gloves to protect your hands and avoid touching your face. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds after returning home, after touching any public surfaces, before eating, and after blowing your nose. Sing Happy Birthday or Twinkle Little Star twice while washing your hands. Shut off faucets and open doors with a paper towel afterwards. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Don’t shake hands with people.

Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. If a member of your household is ill, have them limit what they touch in the house.

Cover any cuts and scrapes with bandages. If the cut is on your hand, consider also wearing a plastic glove to cover it while in public areas.

Sanitize your phone and laptop frequently throughout the day with a 60% alcohol spray. Cell phones are dirtier than most toilets.

Avoid using cash, instead, use a credit card. Sanitize it before returning it to your wallet after use. If you don’t have sanitizer, wash it in the bathroom. Or, sanitize all your wallet’s cards each day when you return home. Pack your own pen for a written signature.

Sanitize your home doorknobs, toilet handles, faucet handles and all commonly used surfaces daily.

Use your knees, feet, hips, elbows, sleeve wrapped hands and knuckles to open doors, press elevator buttons, turn on a faucet, digitally sign for something (use knuckle), or to enter a pin code.

Pay attention to where you put your phone down and where you bring your phone unnecessarily. Place it on a napkin at a restaurant or don’t even get it out while eating. Don’t pull it out at all while in the bathroom.