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COVID-19 Part 2: Supporting your health in immune challenging times

1. Self care – Self care is absolutely crucial. The most important thing you can do right now is nourish yourself:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours per night and have naps and rest periods
  • Reduce your stress – time limit social media, be proactive and informed not fear based and worried.
  • Remember the arts – music, dance, painting, sculpture, poetry, good books – food for the soul
  • Stay in touch with friends and family – calls, FaceTime chats
  • Stay intimate with partners – nourish the deepest parts of yourself with love, touch and contact. Immune support is rapid from intimacy.
  • Keep your brain inspired and active – podcasts, reading, puzzles, learn a language, learn an instrument…
  • Spend time in nature – remember the ecological microbiome is a super house for improving our immune system
  • Spend time with animals both for their love and comfort but also as they help build immunity

2. Immune support

  • What you eat has a dramatic effect on your immune response and general wellbeing. Remember to cook and eat nourishing foods.
    • Foods to encourage due to immune stimulating properties include garlic, onion, fresh herbs, citrus (lemon), optimal protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, bone broths, electrolytes (pink salt), Grandma’s chicken soup, broths, stews, slow cooked meals, fresh juices, protein rich superfood smoothies.
    • Foods to discourage are alcohol, refined sugars, processed foods and chemicals/preservatives/additives – usual culprits. Caffeine is contentious – just don’t go overboard.
    • Maintain warm/hot drinks as it appears to damage or destroy the virus from taking hold
  • Herbal medicines have been around longer than humans. They are harmonious with the environment and supportive at addressing immunological needs. Specific herbal medicines to support your immune system include:
    • Andrographis, Astragalus, Echinacea., Olive leaf, Japanese Knotweed, Isatis, Rhodiola, Elder leaf, Houttuynia, Licorice, Lonicera japoinica, Polygonum cuspidatum
    • Any of the mushrooms – Maitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lions Mane….
    • Tea tree capsules are simply phenomenal
  • Nutrients to support a healthy and robust immune system and function – aim for these doses for everyone daily and adjust based on age/weight
    • Zinc – 30mg/day for a general immune supportive dose. The research is showing that zinc lozenges are the most effective to eradicate the virus in the throat before it takes hold
    • Vitamin C – I’d aim for 750-1000mg morning and night as a maintenance dose and increase as needed. Liposomal delivery is the most effective. Avoid the chewable vitamin C preparations as they will destroy your tooth enamel.
    • Vitamin A – depending on your health a usual dose of 5000iu morning and night for maintenance but doubling this dose (total of 20000iu/day) is advisable for some
    • Vitamin D – depending on your levels 1000-2000iu/day – research has shown it is more effective than other immune strategies with some showing it more effective than the flu vaccine. Dose to be increased under supervision as individually indicated.
    • Glutathione – basically the bees knees for improving white blood cell activity to fight something off. Aim to take 400mg/day. Liposomal delivery or transdermal.
  • Topical support
    • Throat gargles of pink salt and warm water morning and night. If you’re sick or think you’re about to get sick add a few drips of Thyme essential oil (dont swallow).
    • Brush your teeth and gums with pink salt before brushing with other toothpaste. You’d be surprised by how many bugs get into your body through your gums and oral microbiome.

3. Social and community responsibilities

  • Check on your friends, loved ones and family.
  • Support the older population so they don’t have to leave the house as much
  • Be kind. Be compassionate. Be of service. Show gratitude.
  • Just because you might have enough doesn’t mean everyone else does.
  • Support the arts – when situations like this happen remember that the arts are what gets dropped the first. Support them in any way that you can. Follow them on social media in case they have online offerings of performances
  • Know that technology will develop and grow as things unravel. We’re going to be pretty amazed at what some people will do from all of this.

4. Special groups

  • Pregnant women
    • There is little information on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy. The number of pregnant women who have contracted COVID-19 and have subsequently delivered babies is small and the reassuring results must be interpreted with caution. Evidence on pregnancy outcomes following exposure to different strains of coronavirus, like SARS, suggest that adverse outcomes during pregnancy can occur, such as preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction.
    • Until we know more, avoid contact with others other than immediate family. Period.
    • It is vital that you check doses of the above mentioned prescriptions especially as some are contraindicated in pregnancy. Herbs especially. Do not self prescribe.
    • For a more extensive update on the risks to pregnant women, visit the RCOG link: or this AMJOG review: A treatment algorithm for pregnant women with potential exposure to COVID-19 can be found here:
  • Breastfeeding women
    • Similarly to the pregnant women – check for doses and prescriptions. Do not self prescribe.
    • Limit social contact as much as possible
    • Practice safe hygiene even more so due to risk for your baby
    • The human body does increase immune support when breastfeeding so you have a buffer.
    • Don’t diet, support yourself nutritionally – you need even more sustenance
  • Newborns
    • Keep them home and away from others
    • Practice optimal hygiene
    • Breastfeed and baby wear for added protection
    • Keep Mum healthy
  • Those trying to conceive
    • The Fertility Society of Australia therefore recommends that individuals who are seeking to become pregnant naturally or by way of Assisted Reproductive Technology should avoid all non-essential travel to known areas of infection and avoid contact with individuals who may have become infected or have travelled to or from an area that is known to be of high risk. This advice applies to people of all genders.
  • Those undertaking fertility treatments, trying to conceive
    • There are no changes as yet with IVF/ART however units will be testing patients in cycle, donors and staff. If you can delay your cycle please do. Better to do something that crucial and sensitive when things are more stable.
  • Immunocompromised individuals
    • As this group are likely to be affected the most, it is imperative that they consider the following
      • Stricter adherence to limiting social contact
      • Don’t hang out at medical centres. if you have to go – go at start of day or after lunch. Don’t expose yourself more than necessary.
  • Older people (>60 yrs)
    • As this group are likely to be affected the most, it is imperative that they consider the following
      • Stricter adherence to limiting social contact
      • Don’t hang out at medical centres. if you have to go – go at start of day or after lunch. Don’t expose yourself more than necessary.
      • Adjusted prescriptions due to metabolic changes as we age – check with me for specific doses and potential medication interactions.
  • Dating and sexual health
    • WhatsApp or similar for sexting is a much safer option

Let us use these times to reflect on how we can better support society moving forward. How can we do more to help the environment – bring more consciousness to our purchases and use; our waste; our pollution. How can we do more to help others – you’d be surprised how well received a quick call to someone you care about right now will be exactly what they need.

A sense of gratitude brings us all the greatest joy. Helping others when we are in our most challenging periods gives us the greatest sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Should things unravel further remember that in our most anxious, darkest or bleakest moments that if we look to how we can help another we will in turn help ourselves.