Thomas R. Woehler, MD
President, Oliver Foundation
In way of introduction, although retired, I am Board Certified in Internal Medicine, as well as Allergy and Immunology. Before Tony Fauci was selected to head the NIHAID, I knew him as a fellow member of the American Academy of Allergy & Immunology. We, the other Fellows of the Academy and Immunology, agreed he was well qualified and a person of high integrity.
With that said, what do I now see as a major problem? Mass fear, depression, uncertainty and actually politically focused hate. Rational? No! Productive? No! In fact, what I'm going to share with you is that fear, anxiety & depression SUPPRESS your immune system! All of these 'feelings' are actually COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to you having a healthy immune system.
With an impaired immune system, we not only have problems with bacterial infections, but in the case of COVID19, the viral immunity or resistance to the Corona virus.
So, let's be POSITIVE! Stick with the activities and thoughts that will keep your immune system healthy and keep your resistance to COVID19 functioning in a maximum state. Start now!
#1 Select your source of information. It's best to depend on NIH, CDC, & and the President's Coronavirus Task Force. I'm sure many of you receive emails, text messages or Facebook posts from a 'friend' or 'relative' with "special insight into the happenings in China, Italy, New Orleans or New York with an observations "warning" about the severity, extent or treatment options or non-options. My advice is to largely ignore them! Many are anecdotal, and often misleading to the nonprofessional. Please stick with well verified and established sources.
#2 Strictly follow the 'Coronavirus Guidelines for America'. Follow them religiously and reread every day.
#3. Turn off the National media news and limit watching only a total of 1 hour / day. It's best to stay with local news. What's happening in any distant "hot bed' may or may not apply to you. What's happening in your own community is more important to your well-being. While watching TV limit it to 'fun' shows or movies. Avoid 'thrillers which further agitate your anxiety levels.
#4 Love! Talk to people who are positive and supportive. If you can't visit, you can phone! Avoid family & friends who are negative!
#5 Get plenty of rest, if you feel like a nap or need personal 'down time,' take it! Rest and relaxation will keep your immune system strong. If it's difficult to sleep the entire night because of "worries,' keep a notepad next to your bed, if you start to worry, write it down and address it in the morning!
#6 Avoid junk food and learn the ability to recognize good nutrition habits. Now. Learn to cook if you don't know how. My wife, a registered dietitian and a fantastic cook says, "anyone can cook with practice and reading." Now is a great time to try.
#7 Use this time of stress to practice ways of stress reduction. Tell me if you have unique ideas. Let's get through this ordeal better than even before.
#8 Alcohol can pose a "double whammy" as it is often consumed in excessive amounts when someone is when 'under stress.' Alcohol can not only prevent a good night's sleep but it also is known aggravate depression and definitely has a temporary effect of depressing the immune system. So, either avoid completely or limit your intake.
#9 Exercise is extremely important. Walking or jogging or some other form of cardiovascular exercise is important for one's psyche and also general health. Just do pace yourself. Don't go from 'no exercise' to being a junior marathoner! If you do, you may have to deal with unused muscles and tendons transformed to sources of pain and other problems. Increase your activity slowly over a 2-3 day period. Of course, when conducive, outdoor fresh air and sunshine (remember the sunscreen) are again preferable to exercising indoors.
Make yourself a chart on these nine simple practices and check off your successes as you progress. Happy immunity boosting day!