Martha Stewart may cringe, but sometimes you need to be a rude host. When a known freeloader with a reputation for wrecking everything in its path shows up, it’s best to pull in the WELCOME mat.
Such is the case with COVID-19. Like other viruses, COVID-19 cannot live on its own. It must inject itself into an existing household, or cell, in order to use the host cell’s goodies. Imagine a rude guest moving into your house, cooking smelly fish in the kitchen and refusing to clean up, not flushing the toilets, and leaving soiled laundry on the living room furniture. And imagine exhausting yourself trying to keep the mess to a manageable level, but the freeloader is moving so fast that you can’t keep up. At some point, you take a breather but the mess piles up so high that you can’t deal with it any longer.
A Little Hostility Never Hurt Anyone
The key here is to be an inhospitable host. When the freeloader shows up, let them find a hostile environment that is not suitable for their shenanigans.
Our bodies are a tightly regulated network of interlocking systems and they don’t like strangers showing up to throw a wrench in the works. When our bodies recognize an unwanted guest, they immediately send out the Unwelcoming Committee, also known as the immune system. These are specialized cells that use any means necessary to expel the freeloader. The fever we experience is the body literally turning up the heat to kill off the virus. Likewise, a runny nose, cough, and diarrhea are attempts to wrap up the freeloader and give them the bum’s rush out the front door, back door, attic, and basement!
So how do we make sure the Unwelcoming Committee is in tip-top shape? Believe it or not, this is all information you have heard before. But faced with a new and dangerous foe, many of us will hopefully begin to heed this simple message.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed, chemically-laden foods and sugars. These cause inflammation in our bodies, and our immune systems don’t need to be fighting a war on too many fronts.
- Exercise daily. You don’t need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jillian Michaels, but anything helps. There are many yoga and body weight routines that can be done without joining a gym. Walking is also an excellent exercise. Humans are designed to walk long distances, and this is also a way to get outside, breathe in fresh air, soak up some Vitamin D in the form of sunshine, and enjoy nature.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap. This breaks up the proteins in the virus and washes them down the drain. Avoid shaking hands as well as putting your fingers into your nose and eyes. Doing this inoculates you with whatever contaminants are on your hands.
- Sleep well. Our bodies are very active during sleep as that is when our immune systems take out the garbage of used up cells and by-products of the day’s battles. Don’t drink caffeine after lunch, turn off the light-glaring phones and tablets an hour before bedtime, and sleep in a slightly cool room.
It is thought that each of us has either already had COVID-19, or will get it before all is said and done. When COVID-19, the flu, or the common cold come visiting, be sure you have put out the UNWELCOME Mat.
Stay healthy, stay optimistic, and BE RUDE!
PS. I invite you to watch this video by another Dr. G. I felt this program cut through a lot of the noise we are hearing and gives us practical tips on taking care of our health during this sketchy time.