In Addition to Wearing a Mask and Washing Our Hands Often
The steps below are what we do to build our immunity and resist the COVID-19 infections, as well as infections from other colds and influenza. I recommend checking with your physician before implementing these steps yourself.
1. Nasal and Sinus Irrigation with 0.9% Saline Solution twice daily
The most significant change we've made is to use a saline nasal irrigation twice daily. We read that the number of deaths due to the COVID-19 virus in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam were exceptionally low, believed to be because the majority of the population in these countries practice nasal irrigation on a regular basis. We decided to start this practice twice daily. Properly prepared saline solutions, sterile and with the correct concentration of sodium chloride, 0.9%, can be purchased at pharmacies. The photo above shows one brand that we purchase in México.
We each have our own bottle. We label our bottle with our name and the date we opened it. After 30 days, we discard the bottle, whether it is empty or not, and purchase a fresh unit. While we can't prove this practice of regular nasal irrigation helps prevent COVID-19 infections, it seems logical that it does, and it can't hurt.
There are many articles and studies supporting the belief that nasal irrigation can wash viruses and bacteria from the nasal cavity, thereby decreasing infections and speeding recovery. This article explains it in a clear, concise manner:
2. Zinc 50mg by mouth once daily (after a meal to prevent stomach upset)
Zinc aids in building the immune system. From the WHO website, this article explains part of the mechanism of action: The Potential Impact of Zinc Supplementation on COVID-19 Pathogenesis. “As zinc is essential to preserve natural tissue barriers such as the respiratory epithelium, preventing pathogen entry, for a balanced function of the immune system and the redox system, zinc deficiency can probably be added to the factors predisposing individuals to infection and detrimental progression of COVID-19. Finally, due to its direct antiviral properties, it can be assumed that zinc administration is beneficial for most of the population, especially those with suboptimal zinc status.”
3. Vitamin C 1000mg twice daily (two 500mg tablets morning and evening)
Vitamin C builds the immune system, helping the body fight off viruses and bacteria. We doubled our daily dose of vitamin C when COVID-19 reached México.
4. Cold-Eeze or Zinc 5mg Lozenges—I suck one slowly if I feel a sore throat
Yes, as a pharmacist, I do
recommend Cold-Eeze zinc lozenges to fight viral infections, especially at the first sign of a sore throat. The zinc gluconate found
in the unique Cold-EEZE formula releases zinc ions in the upper respiratory
system. Although the precise mechanism is unknown, scientific studies suggest
that the zinc ions inhibit the cold virus from replicating, shortening the
duration of the common cold. Low-dose zinc bathing the throat may also prevent
the virus from attaching to the mucous membranes. Zinc can upset the stomach,
so eating a little food beforehand is recommended. This is an interesting article: Effectiveness of zinc gluconate glycine lozenges (Cold-Eeze) against the common cold in school-aged subjects
When we can’t find Cold-Eeze in México, or it’s too expensive on Amazon.mx, we use the low-dose zinc tablets, available from Amazon.mx pictured above, as a lozenge, sucking on one until it fully dissolves in the mouth. They don’t taste good, but they seem to work to eliminate my sore throat if I catch it soon enough.
5. Vitamin D daily, with our Calcium tablets and from sunshine
We take Calcium with Vitamin D tablets twice daily to help keep our bones, teeth, and muscles strong, essential for us since Jon and I are both over 60 years old. This provides a daily dose of 1600mg of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to build the immune system which helps fight the coronavirus and other viruses.
Sunshine is an important source of vitamin D. We get outside every day, sometimes to sit in the sun without sunscreen while we eat lunch, other times while we take a walk. Vitamin D levels may be low in those who have stayed indoors much of the time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Exercise—We walk or practice yoga daily
Exercise improves overall health, including building the immune system. We follow yoga classes on Zoom or YouTube three times a week to help improve our strength, balance, and flexibility. Self-guided walking tours, with our Fitbit registering our steps, keep us moving and are fun. In case you missed my recent posts about walking in San Miguel de Allende, here are a few links.
7. Emergen-C 1000mg or an extra 1000mg of Vitamin C tablets if I feel a sore throat
If I feel a sore throat, that is often the first sign that a viral infection is trying to take hold. In addition to Cold-Eeze, I take a dose of Emergen-C 1000mg to build my immune system. If the 1000mg strength of Emergen-C is unavailable or too expensive in México, I take an extra 1000mg of vitamin C, two 500mg tablets by mouth.
8. Distance Ourselves from Others While Walking
I believe this is one of the most important things we can do, even more so than wearing a mask during COVID-19. We avoid crowds. When we walk down the street, we weave from side to side to avoid walking within ten feet of others, especially if we are facing the others. Sometimes we walk down the middle of the street to avoid people on the sidewalks on each side. It’s sad because we used to greet everyone we passed. Now people look down or away, as though this will prevent the virus from spreading.
9. Nasacort Allergy 24HR nasal spray once daily
Nasacort Allergy 24 HR nasal spray is an over-the-counter medication containing the anti-inflammatory, triamcinolone, in a water base. I use two sprays in each nostril once daily. While it is not known if this prevents COVID-19 or any other infection, it does provide one more nasal flush daily and reduces inflammation in the sinuses. It seems to help reduce the reaction to dust, pollen, and other particulate inhaled through the nose.
10. Get out of the house, get some fresh air, and enjoy life
We go out to dinner every other night, go for a walk with Bella, sit outside while we have a glass of wine and throw the ball for Bella, find an area of town and take a self-guided tour, sightseeing while wearing a mask. It’s important to work toward good mental health as well as physical well-being.
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