Coronavirus, infections, and its rapid spread globally and now in the U.S., is causing fear and some near-panic. I proposed holistic health steps for Coronavirus, as well as for other health issues.
If you are not already compromised by other mental or physical illness as lung and airway disease, a weakened immune system, or other chronic diseases, there are steps you can take.
Active steps can potentially help with prevention, quicker recovery, and avoidance of severe or even life-threatening forms of the illness. Coronavirus holistic health steps are a consideration for optimal preparation for this virus and for other potential health threats as well.
Now is the time to do an active assessment by a trusted community health resource and to move in a determined manner to make any needed changes. Confirmed coronavirus cases (COVID-19) have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html), It has been estimated that eight out of ten infected individuals will only have mild upper respiratory symptoms or be asymptomatic carriers of the infection. The overall death rate from severe infection has been as high as six percent in the current hardest-hit countries - Italy. Coronavirus is now considered a Pandemic because of the current worldwide spread.
Warning signs of infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure as
Shortness of breath,
Being optimally fit with a robust protective immune and response system will help to better manage any exposure or occurrence of an active infection.
With the Coronavirus virus, many in our population lack any natural immune defense. By better preparedness, it would be hoped that you would be only a non-symptomatic carrier of the Coronavirus or have minimal or mostly upper respiratory symptoms. In unfortunate circumstances, if you get a more severe form of the illness with lower respiratory disease, you potentially will have a better chance of survival and recovery with a mind, body, and spirit in good health and preparedness. The same steps to be described also would be advisable, if you and your body’s health already have an immune system or other existing disease compromises.
As a vaccine to prevent coronavirus is months to a year away, it is recommended now to avoid people or places where you may be exposed to those carrying or actively sick with the virus. Take preventive actions to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus respiratory diseases by following the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC): (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html)
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Facemasks are now only recommended for people who show symptoms of COVID-19. The use of facemasks is needed for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Avoid poorly ventilated venues where active or carriers of COVID-19 virus may be present, especially if not socially distancing or wearing masks
Always wear a mask and correctly social distance in any circumstance where the possibility of close contact with anybody that may be an active or carrier of the virus even if in an outdoor setting.
To get better health and protection, especially when there is the fear of a widespread outbreak of a severe infectious agent,
you would be advised to go beyond a too narrow or conventionally focused health improvement program, to a more comprehensive and holistic program as outlined below. Considering exploring some complementary or alternative options as well, that may add some depth to preparedness or a health enhancement program.
The goals of a broader, especially a more holistic program, would be for gaining or regaining more optimal health, fitness, and well-being to optimize your defense against any potentially dangerous viral infection or illness. Our current resistance or overall state of health might not be prepared for a potentially life-threatening virus as the Coronavirus or other unexpected illness.
The following are steps, strategies, and interventions to consider.
Get the support and any required services required to be optionally prepared for the feared viral outbreak and spread. Outside of your personal support networks, there is a host of resources that may be the key to your improving your current level of health and preparedness. Any effective changes you can make now, as recommended below, can go a long way to reduce your vulnerabilities or reduce the severity of problems that may result from exposure or infection.
Being proactive is essential as the steps presented here may be life-enhancing as well as life-sustaining. I encourage you to seek more information and to participate in making choices in any areas concerning your health, especially when there are any needs for preventive work, interventions, or treatment of existing conditions.
Consultations with other healthcare practitioners, especially those with a more holistic and integrative orientation, are recommended. Embracing an overall healthy lifestyle can help decrease health problems and bring you an increased potential for healthy longevity and resistance to pathogens, including viruses that prey on weakened defenses and vulnerabilities. Follow the frequent public health service updates, like those from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html), and your local public health services.
Awareness and support of the mind, body, and spiritual dimensions are essential for wellness, healing, and prevention of illness.
Programs that you may consider may involve recommendations from your trusted support system or healthcare providers for further education, counseling, or other complementary types of treatments.
Recommendations by others should be considered and researched to the best of your abilities, and considered according to there merits both for the possible benefit to improve your overall health but also for there potential to bring increased preparedness for the possible stress and demands on you in the case of viral exposure or illness.
Review available information on complementary, holistic, or integrative approaches from sources available to you. Other information may be from trusted and reliable media outlets as the Internet, local lectures, blog sites, or printed materials. Receiving guidance or support from an educational program, knowledgable friends, family members, a teacher, or a coach can be valuable. See the article About Integrative & Holistic Approaches
Choose preferably programs with a holistic focus.
You want the most advantageous type of support and care for your health, disease prevention, or recovery from illness. Attention is needed for all the major underpinnings of your health and wellbeing, especially the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, and environmental contributors. Rather than selecting a narrowly oriented practice, which addresses a few symptoms or one aspect of the entire person, a holistic, positive, validating, and caring approach would be potentially more beneficial for meeting your needs.
Be open and receptive to holistic approaches that look at underlying causes, triggers, and risk factors. The goal would be to eliminate or reduce any contributors that interfere with you being successful with your intentions for an optimal program. Significant, co-occurring problems in your current life or from unresolved past issues, if unrecognized, may interfere with your health recovery or with your ability to make progress towards your goals. Some areas of major impact or stress, often missed or ignored, by healthcare programs, that may need attention, are:
Interpersonal conflicts, a recent divorce, or failed relationships
Stress overload and lack of skills as with planning and time management
Job, career loss, financial crisis
A move or loss of home
The death of a significant other or loved one
Auto accidents, recent surgery, or hospitalization for a severe illness or injury history
History of traumas, or related stress disorder symptoms, traumatic brain injuries
Emotional or mental health issues as anxiety, fatigue, or depression,
Drug, alcohol, smoking abuse or addictions
Eating disorders, diabetes, and obesity
Interventions needed for other health or illness-related issues
Embrace a healthy diet and nutrition. Choose:
More whole and plant-based foods
Organic foods when possible
Avoid too much process foods with sugar and chemical additives
Eat plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains (gluten-free if any suggestion of sensitivity or reaction to gluten), greens, fruits, nuts, healthy fats (as avocado, olive oil, fats in nuts and seeds)
If not vegetarian, when possible, choose organic, free-range, chicken, beef, or fish from a natural unpolluted water source
Get advice from a holistically oriented nutritionist, a provider, or health coach with expertise in the area of nutritional support. Only use prescription and over-the-counter medications when needed and recommended by a trusted health care provider.
When drugs are not absolutely indicated and are used indiscriminately to treat mild symptoms, consider a natural alternative if available (check with your health care provider first). Nutritional supplements may be an option in some situations, such as vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, herbs, and immune booster. Research first and get good advice from a trusted resource or a holistic healthcare provider. See article Coronavirus Natural Approaches.
Exercise is crucial in maintaining health and promoting wellness and illness recovery.
Different types of exercise are encouraged per preferences and abilities. Extensive research on exercise has confirmed its value in reducing risks for significant diseases as heart disease, hypertension, mood disturbance, cancer, dementia, obesity, diabetes, stress, and sleep-related issues. Only exercise to your capacity. If you are just not sure where to start or if there is any potential for stroke, heart attack, or other potential negative consequences, get an exercise prescription or advice from a healthcare provider or a personal trainer.
A variety of exercises in your program will give you the best overall training effect and prevent boredom – consider, to name a few, biking, walking, weight training, running, hiking, dancing, aerobic classes, swimming, yoga, qigong, tennis, or other individual or team sports. Any active movement is helpful and beneficial.
There are calming, stress-reducing, focusing exercises, like meditation and yoga, which can be a fantastic addition to you and your program. It has been suggested that an optimal amount of exercise can help prevent infections or decrease the length and intensity of the illness. This has been my personal experience in regards to the many benefits of exercise.
Optimize and improve your sleep.
Poor sleep, insomnia, getting into sleep debt or sleep deprivation (not getting enough sleep), or other sleep disturbances have been associated with significant medical problems as obesity, diabetes, accidents, poor work and school performance, mood disturbances, and much more. A good start in improving sleep is to reduce stress, over-stimulation, and activity overload.
Do meditative or deep relaxation exercises. Improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and worry – if there are a significant mood or anxiety problems, see an appropriate healthcare professional or therapist for assessment and treatment if needed. If daytime sleepiness or history of loud snoring, be checked out by a sleep specialist, as a sleep disorder may need to be recognized and treated as sleep apnea
Have a thorough evaluation by a holistically oriented provider for the possibility of other hidden health issues.
These may compromise your recovery or interfere with you reaching your health goals. Sometimes imbalances in the body can result in illness or health compromise. Lab work or specialized testing may be indicated as:
• Diagnostic tests for allergies, anemia, diabetes, heart disease, infection, thyroid disease, hormone deficiencies, respiratory illnesses, auto-immune or inflammatory illness, or early cancer
• Nutritional status tests for deficiencies
• Elimination diets or digestion function tests if digestive problems exist
Be checked for environmental factors that may play a role in health and disease.
Allergies, sensitivities, or reactivity, to toxic environmental substances and chemicals, can impair health or hinder recovery. Pollutants may be present in the air, water, and soil, or in pesticides or food additives. Toxicity in the environment can include "toxic" or irritating relationships, excessive noise, intrusiveness, or disruptions by others as in your workplace or where you live.
Other toxic situations may be the lack of a quiet sleep or rest place, excessive electronic or radio-frequency disturbance (TV, radios, cell phones, microwave), or chemical fumes (perfumes, pesticides, industrial chemicals). Now there is a concern with genetic modification of foods. Consult with reliable sources of information or with a healthcare provider who has expertise in the areas of environmental health.
Recognize the importance of spirituality in your life.
The study, reflection, and application of what is relevant to you, from the vast world of spiritual and religious philosophies and practices, or from your personal faith, can be an important part of your transformation into more positive states of health and wellbeing or help with recovering from illness.
When stuck, for example, in states of depression or despair (especially when traditional mental health service used alone have not helped), surrounding yourself with an inspirational support group, can bring about a release from stifling patterns of personal thoughts and beliefs. see the article on awareness
Shifts towards better emotional and spiritual attunement and adjustment to life’s demands and conflicts often occur. Positive outcomes happen in many different types of religious or spiritually oriented support or practice groups. Also, the finding of healthy activities that bring joy, purpose, fulfillment, meaning, and gratification to your daily lives, can open the doors of the spirit and promote health.
Thank you for your interest and review of this article. You are welcome to make comments below.
Ron Parks MD
If you or a loved one needs help or guidance about any mental, emotional, physical, or related spiritual health issues, consultation is available directly with Dr. Parks by telephone or telemedicine services like Skype or VSee. To schedule a session or if you need a question answered, fill in the contact form at https://parksmd.com/scheduling/. Hopefully, I will be able to correspond with you directly about questions or address them in a future article or in my periodic newsletters.
**The above is for informational and educational purposes only, not as medical or mental health advice. It is the reader’s responsibility to direct personal medical or mental health questions to their primary care provider and specialty physicians. The information and statements contained in this material are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or to replace the recommendations or advice given to you by your primary or direct care providers. Your reliance on any information provided by Dr. Parks is solely at your discretion. You are advised not to disregard medical advice from your primary or direct care providers, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of information contained in this article. Management of severe mental or physical health problems should remain under the care and guidance of your primary care physicians, specialist, or psychiatrists.