Hi, my name is Ellen Martino. I'm an integrative health coach and I'm here today to talk about how we can stay healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Let's start with some facts. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory infection whose symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. It spreads primarily from person to person and people are most contagious when they're most symptomatic. The incubation period for COVID-19 is anywhere from two to 14 days. The average seems to be around five to seven days. So if you have been around someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you travel to an area where there's been a local outbreak of cases, you want to be particularly aware of how you're feeling in the two weeks following that exposure.
So let's talk a little bit about what we can do to reduce our risk for contracting COVID-19. First and foremost, staff touching your face. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are prime spots for the virus to enter your body and your hands are really good carriers for the virus.
So that leads us to our second point. Wash your hands well and do it often. Lather up and scrub for 20 seconds. That's the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice or my current favorite, the ABCs. Get creative, sing whatever you like, just be sure to get the front and back of your hands between your fingers and don't forget under your nails. Rinse and then dry your hands well with a clean towel or disposable paper towel. Hand sanitizers will work to reduce the germs on your hands if you don't have access to soap and running water.
As best you can, avoid touching high touch public surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, and things like that. Use your elbow to hit the elevator button or your foot to open doors and when you do touch public services, go back to the first two bullets on this chart. Don't touch your face and wash your hands and whether you're at home or at work, be sure to wipe down all those high touch areas with a disinfecting spray.
Do your best to stay away from people who are exhibiting symptoms and if you are around people who are sick, don't share drinking glasses, utensils, bedding or towels and be sure to wash all of those items frequently.
There are a lot of things we can do every day to help reduce our risk of disease and live healthier longer. When we feed our body real whole foods, we give it the variety of nutrients it needs to function. We get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, which become the building blocks for us to create and support a strong and healthy immune system.
One serving of kiwi fruit has a full day supply of vitamin C. Pumpkin seeds are a really good source of zinc and they're great added to trail mix or sprinkled on top of salads. That fiber that we get from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, feeds the good bacteria in our gut where most of our immune system resides. So feed your body the nutrients it needs to stay well.
When we get a deep, restful sleep and enough of it, our immune system benefits. There are certain disease fighting hormones, proteins and other chemicals that are released or created while we sleep. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night and if you're not getting that now, just start adding 15 minutes to your sleep time until you work your way up.
One thing that might be impacting our ability to get a good night's sleep is stress and too much chronic stress can impact your immune system in other ways as well; by increasing inflammation and by decreasing the body's lymphocytes, which are those white blood cells that help fight off infections.
So find ways to de-stress and do it often. Hang out with people you like being with. Take a bath, hit some golf balls, play your guitar or just get outside and take a walk, which takes me to the next element of self care that can support a healthy immune system and that is move your body. Exercising regularly, boost blood flow, which circulates those white blood cells through our body and exercising also helps the immune system produce more of those disease fighting cells.
Finally stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Drinking plenty of water helps create lymph fluid, which is needed to help circulate those important white blood cells and it allows your blood to deliver oxygen to your cells, which in turn helps all of your body's systems work properly.
All of these self care techniques will help to reduce your risk for contracting COVID-19 as well as many other illnesses and diseases that we may come across. So take good care of yourself so that your immune system can take good care of you.
Stay well and thanks so much for joining me today.