Toilet paper. Oh, toilet paper. If only we could wrap up our Coronavirus (COVID-19) fear with humble toilet paper and flush it down the loo. But the shelves are empty, we’re rationing sheets like they’re made of gold leaf, and restaurants and shopping centres are hiding their supplies in case they get swiped by desperate clientele who missed out on last week’s toilet-paper-trolley-fest.
Everywhere we turn, we see the latest news about the spread of the virus – how many are infected, how many are dead, how fast it’s galloping across the globe. It’s difficult not to feel like a kangaroo running before a bushfire; no matter how fast we are, there may be nowhere safe we can run to.
What are we to do with all this fear? Is the fear justified? Are you at risk? Is your family at risk? What should you do if you get it? If you get it, will you die? Will you still be here by next spring, or will you be fertilising the apple trees along with thousands of other unfortunate souls?
And why ARE people so fixated on toilet paper – is diarrhoea one of the symptoms of COVID-19, or is this all just one big metaphor for how much we are *ahem* shitting ourselves with fear?
Then there’s the biggest question of all: should you even be investing your valuable time and energy in worrying about it? Because one thing is for certain: fear is stressful, and stress has a negative effect on the immune system. In short spurts, cortisol (the stress hormone) can boost your immunity by limiting inflammation. But over time, the build up of cortisol in your blood creates an acidic environment, creating a hotbed for virus replication. Not only that, stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes — the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more you are susceptible to viruses.
Of course KNOWING that you shouldn’t stress about COVID-19 and actually ACHIEVING this are two very different things. So, how can we escape the contagion, not just of the virus, but of the fear of it? For it’s the fear, really, that’s the most destructive of the two. The virus isn’t causing the world economic markets to shake in their boots; and the virus isn’t loading up trolleys full of loo paper. It’s simple, animal fear.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Switch off the news reports. The more you watch, the more you’ll think about it, the more you’ll feel stressed. At the end of the day, the primary purpose of the news is not to inform; it’s to keep viewers glued to the screen so the network can charge high advertising dollars. They know that fear of a pandemic, and the desire to watch it unfold, will fascinate, horrify and frighten viewers, and keep them watching.
- This is not to say don’t educate yourself about COVID-19. Education and knowledge is the key to you feeling like you know what’s going on, and a key to feeling in control. But seek education without the emotional bedazzlement splashed on by the t.v. news. Stick to the government information sites for the facts, or the opinion of qualified commentators.
- Accept that Australia is going into flu season and COVID-19 is on it’s way. Data models suggest it will peak in Australia in the next 2-4 months. Admittedly the data is not yet solid, since the virus is so new. Whether it hits bigtime or not, however, it’s wise to assume that it will most likely be around, taking up space in the supermarket aisles, the local cafe, your workplace and your children’s schools. It’s happening anyway, so look it in the eye, and decide your approach, rather than being propelled by irrational fear. Reduce your stress by being proactive.
- Realise that the death rates are highly dependent on age and pre-existing conditions. Until you’re over 50, the death rate is at the most 0.4% (there are still no deaths in the 0 – 9 age bracket). Over 50 it starts climbing, until it reaches 14.8% in the 80+ age group. Also, keep in mind that pre-existing conditions send the death rate rocketing: those with cancer have a 5.6% chance of dying, and this increases with hypertension, chronic respiratory distress, diabetes and is finally topped with cardiovascular disease which has a 10.5% death rate. Remember that these conditions are more likely as you get older, so age will be compounding pre-existing conditions figures and likewise pre-existing conditions will be compounding the age figures. No matter what your age or your health status, keep in mind that the odds are still very much in your favour for pulling through. But, it’s important to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy in a sensible way (engaging in mass panic and stressing out your immune system does not support this). More info can be found here about the demographics. There’s also a good article here about the reliability (or lack of) of the statistics at this point in time, due to limited data.
- Do absolutely everything you can to make yourself as healthy and resilient as possible. Who wants to get the flu, whether it’s the common-garden flu or COVID-19? Not me. The sensible thing to do is to look after yourself really well. This should always be the case, of course, but particularly going into flu season. There’s heaps of ways you can activate and strengthen your immune system, and I’ll be sending out some emails over the next few weeks with lifestyle tips on how to do this. But, the three biggies are SLEEP, EXERCISE and the all-important NUTRITION.
- Prepare your body for winter colds and flu: use high-potency, practitioner-only nutritional and herbal formulas to strengthen your immune system. This is one of the very best ways to be fully prepared for many viral challenges that will come your way. You can check out Scott’s recommendations for keeping your immune system strong by clicking on the green ‘Tell Me More’ button below. Please note these are general recommendations only, and are not specific to preventing or treating COVID-19. The natural medicines he recommends are ‘Practitioner Only’ and are not available to the general public (if you’d like to become a client, please give us a call on 9876 8786 or book online here.)
What does ‘Practitioner-only’ mean? ‘Practitioner-only‘ medicines cannot be found in the health shops – they use the highest quality ingredients, have the most stringent quality control of all natural medicines and are backed by scientific research. Simply, these are the very best natural medicines you can get. These medicines are not available to the general public, only to clients of health professionals.
So relax and give your immune system the best chance of fighting off the lurgies! Make sure you eat well, go to bed early, moderate exercise and give your immune system appropriate nutritional and herbal support. While we can’t predict the future, if you look after yourself really well, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be pushing up daisies next spring!
All the best for your health and happiness,
Scott and Fiona Hankinson