Viral infections are incurable. Luckily, most people fight off the common cold and even most flus with a strong immune response, symptom treatment, and rest. But our immune systems are less resilient when faced with viruses new to our species (e.g., SARS, MERS, H1N1, COVID-19). Yoga teaches us to avoid pain and illness where we can, so here is a compilation of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and other medical practitioners:
Luna's Shopping List:
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (Recipe below)
- Bleach Disinfectant (Recipe Below)
- Zinc Lozenges/Supplements
- Neti Pot, Saline, Nasya Oil
- Latex or Nitrile gloves
- Face masks
- Hand-washing: vigorously, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds after meals, going to the bathroom, and coughing or sneezing. Sing the chorus to your favorite song as you wash, or sing the “Happy Birthday Song” song twice.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, in-between hand-washing, and after touching doorknobs, surfaces, etc.
- Face: Avoiding touching your face.
- Disinfect Household and Office: Clean and disinfect tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, keyboards, electronics) with a disinfectant cleaner daily.
- Laundry: Wash in the warmest possible water and dry completely. In addition to detergent, Luna adds Borax to her laundry to remove more contaminants. Wash hands after handling laundry. Disinfectant storage area for dirty clothes.
Interacting with Others:
- Avoid people showing illness. Maintain a distance of 10 feet. Consider wearing a mask, especially if you're in a high risk group.
- Avoid hand-shaking, fist or elbow bumps, and hugs for casual relationships. Trying waving and saying “hi” instead.
- When caring for a sick person, keep them in one room in the house, away from common areas, and clean that room daily with disinfectant. Wear gloves and a face mask when in contact with the ill person, their laundry, or the surfaces in their room. Use a separate trash receptacle for their trash.
Interacting with Children:
- Children are “super spreaders” of disease, exponentially spreading viruses with the combination of their poor hygiene and the school settings where the children are concentrated. For this reason, it is recommended that anyone caring for children consider taking similar precautions as when caring for a sick person. Those who have contact with the elderly AND children, this recommendation is doubled. Wear gloves when disinfecting spaces where children are, and when doing their laundry. Wash hands after caring for children. Never touch your face. Teach children to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Zinc lozenges have shown to reduce the severity of respiratory illness, both symptoms and duration. The daily recommended allowance for zinc consumption is 40mg. Zinc toxicity is common at higher doses (above 70-100mg). Symptoms of zinc toxicity most commonly include vomiting and diarrhea. (The most effective supplements are found at Natural Grocers or Pharmaca in Santa Fe).
Eastern practices from Ayurveda and yoga therapy have some additional, valuable suggestions for preventing illness:
- Neti: In addition to washing hands, face, and body to remove pathogens, Ayurveda also suggests removing excess mucous and congestion from the sinuses using a neti pot, saline, followed with an oil wash. If you are unfamiliar with sinus irrigation, Luna can teach you best practices for cleansing without harshness or over-drying (especially a concern in the Southwest).
- Vihara: Moderate exercise, proper nutrition, and rest are all essential for supporting the immune system. Luna can help you develop a yoga therapy program to maximize your immunity.
- Pranayama: Breathing practices offer the opportunity to strengthen breath support, and also reduce stress. Stress reduction is critical to maximizing immunity. Luna offers yoga therapy sessions teaching techniques for better breath support, with or without movement.
- Abhyanga: Ayurvedic oil massage after your shower can provide a layer of protection for the pathogens to land that you can wash away without over-drying your skin. The oil should be removed before bed in the evening. Luna can teach you which oils are recommended for your individual, constitution. Luna may also recommend anti-viral essential oils.
Eastern practices should be seen as an adjunct to Western practices. They do not replace them, but provide additional immune support.
- 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water OR
- 4 teaspoons of bleach added to 1 quart of water
Mix well and funnel into a spray bottle.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer (60% alcohol):
- 2/3 cup of 90-99% Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol
- 1/3 cup of aloe vera gel
- 8-10 drops essential oil (Luna recommends Peppermint, Cinnamon, or Tea Tree)
Mix well and funnel into a recycled, pump, soap dispenser.