My Mom Is a New York City Nurse And Here Is How We Are Protecting Ourselves.

As of Friday morning March 20th New York State reported an upwards of 7,100 cases with more than 2,400 cases now more than 5,151 in New York City, out of around 14,000 cases nationwide. My mom is returning to her labor and delivery department knowing she will be treating patients infected with the corona virus. The stats are changing as I write this article…

My mother taught us proper hand washing when we were little, so this is a given. But here I would like to talk about the extra things I have been doing, and what we will do to prepare for the increasing number of patients testing positive for the corona virus.

Short version:

What I have been doing:
1. Sleeping without setting an alarm
2 . Not skimping on exercise even though we are stuck indoors
3. Upping the consumption of certain herbs and tinctures
4. Teas
5. Eliminating processed sugar
6. Spending more time with my dog
7. Gratitude
What we will do to prepare:
1. Create a system for when she comes home
2. Clear out a room for her
3. Frequent sanitizing of shared surfaces
4. Staying in our rooms more often or keeping distance in the same room
5. Sadly no hugs or kisses of course
6. I will become more annoying

What I have been doing:

1. Sleeping without setting an alarm

I don’t know if I have ever slept for so many consecutive nights without setting an alarm in my entire adult life. well, maybe on vacation… I have been allowing my body to determine how much sleep it needs the last few days. We all know that sleep is good for us, but why? According to the National Sleep Foundation: “Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye.  Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.” Now is not a time to skimp on sleep! Your immune system will thank you.

2 . Not skimping on exercise even though we are stuck indoors

I have roped my family into doing YouTube workouts with me! We put a YouTube video on the TV, clear the furniture, and all do a workout session together. We try to do this at least every other day. From the words of people far smarter than me: “Undeniably, acute vigorous exercise has a profound effect on the phenotypic makeup and functional capacity of the immune system. Indeed, the behavior of almost all immune cell populations in the bloodstream is altered in some way during and after exercise.”

An interesting article on exercise and immunity: Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911985/

3. Upping the consumption of certain herbs and tinctures

I already try to take these herbs and tinctures periodically, but I have been more consistently consuming them over the last few weeks:

Zinc

I take it in tablet form every other day. From “Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells” – Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system. Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, and NK cells. Macrophages also are affected by zinc deficiency. Phagocytosis, intracellular killing, and cytokine production all are affected by zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency adversely affects the growth and function of T and B cells. The ability of zinc to function as an anti-oxidant and stabilize membranes suggests that it has a role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/

 

Neem

Neem has been used for thousands of years to treat a host of ailments. I found it years ago when someone suggested that I use it to treat my acne. Although there are limited modern studies, it is accepted to be a general antiseptic. I take it in capsule form whenever I feel like I am going to get sick, and have been taking it preventively recently. Be careful with dosage, and make sure you are not consuming a large amount for extended periods of time.

From The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine
Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems

https://www.nap.edu/read/1924/chapter/8

Comprehensive Immune Support- Organic mushroom extracts

The one I use is from the company Host Defense. It is a combination of 19 different mushroom extracts.

From Mushroom Revival : THE BEST MUSHROOMS TO BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM
https://www.mushroom-revival.com/mushrooms-boost-immune-system/

Medicinal mushrooms differ greatly in their individual healing properties from one mushroom to the next, but despite their individuality, they nearly all have a commonality of boosting our immune systems. Mushrooms that boost the immune system are not strictly immunostimulants or immunosuppressants, but often times both, earning them the name “immunomodulators.” Immunomodulators work similarly to adaptogens, but relate only to immune function.

Mushrooms’ immune boosting abilities are highly attributable to the high level of polysaccharides (specifically Beta-glucans, one type of polysaccharide found in abundance in fungi) contained within their cell walls. This class of therapeutically active compounds are most widespread within the mushroom kingdom, and within our bodies they interact with specific fungal-polysaccharide receptors on our immune cells (macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, and dendritic cells). For intense reading about this exact pathway, Martin Powell’s Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide goes into fantastic detail of polysaccharides acting as nutrients to enhance our immune system.

A beautiful Maitake mushroom:

Echinacea

I take it in tincture form, although you can take it in pill or tea form. It helps with the production of white blood cells.

4. Teas

I drink tea all day, but I have been increasing the volume of ginger tea, and lemon balm tea that I drink. I usually start the day off with matcha and drink genmaicha throughout the day, but have substituted these other teas.

The effect of the Melissa officinalis extract on immune response in mice:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080594

5. Eliminate sugar

As soon as there was word about the corona virus I made an effort to eliminate processed sugar from my diet. Of course there is the occasional chocolate and I haven’t cut out honey or maple syrup. But I have been trying to reduce any concentrated consumption of sugar, as it suppresses the immune system in large doses.

 

6. Spending more time with my dog

Longer walks, and more hugs. I am trying to snuggle the stress away with Max. The oxytocin released when hugging can undo cortisol’s effects, which in turn improves the immune system.

7. Gratitude

Nothing like loss to make us appreciate what we have. In the light of so many lock downs, breezes, sunny days, and the bread baking at the local bakery all become more special when you realize how special these “normal” things are.

 

 

What we will do to prepare

1. Create a system for when my mom comes home.

This includes how she will change, separate laundry, and keeping track of what she is touching to enter the house.

2. Clear out a room for her

We will convert my sewing room aka a glorified closet into a space for her to sleep in, away from my father.

3. Frequent sanitizing of shared surfaces

This includes all door knobs, and surfaces like tables and counters

4. Staying in our rooms more often or keeping distance in the same room

5. Sadly no hugs or kisses of course

Because the virus can spread by droplets we need to make sure we are not in range of our saliva reaching each other when talking. Furthermore recent research suggests it can survive in the air. I stopped hugging my grandma a few weeks ago and also make sure I don’t get too close to her. And if we are in the same room, I sit across the room from her.

6. I will become more annoying

I have always made my family drink strange concoctions when they aren’t feeling well. But I will definitely be doing this more frequently. I peeled a bunch of fresh turmeric to be made into ginger turmeric tea, and will make fresh juices with it. I will make sure my family also consumes these teas, as well as the other herbal supplements I take.

Fresh Orange, pear, turmeric juice:

Be well, stay healthy!

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