By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer
I was raised on hand sanitizer, elderberry syrup and Clorox wipes.
I was brought up by a germaphobe, and now I couldn’t be more thankful (despite my initial annoyance at incessant hand washing reminders and morning Emergen-C).
In the midst of the pandemic, I truly believe the “pre-quarantine routine” my mother brainwashed me into practicing even before COVID-19 has done me so much preventative good.
Growing up, my mom emphasized the extreme importance of cleanliness during my time living at home because of my compromised immune system. Throughout my life, even if I contract a simple cold, it can turn awry quickly — my asthma can turn the slightest runny nose or cough into intense, months-long bronchitis. That being said, any type of illness has always been treated as a serious one in my home.
Thanks to this overly cautious upbringing, a lot of the precautions doctors have been suggesting for COVID-19 prevention are things I have been practicing for years.
Not to jinx myself, but so far I have not yet contracted the coronavirus, and I can’t help but maybe think that it could be attributed to my immense amount of caution.
Wake up, pop a Vitamin-D supplement, use my Neti Pot, take my daily vitamins, mix an Emergen-C, take a shot of elderberry syrup, put a zinc lozenge under my tongue, crank the air purifier on full blast, repeat.
It can become a strenuous and monotonous part of my routine, but there is a method to the madness — some of the preventative steps I take do, in fact, make a difference.
A recent study cataloged in the US National Library of Medicine said zinc is well-known for its antiviral properties, which include the potential enhancement of one’s antiviral immunity. Zinc supplements also have the potential to restore “depleted immune cell function or to improve normal immune cell function, in particular to immunocompromised or elderly patients.”
Additionally, according to the Pharmacy Times, “studies have indicated that vitamin C helps to prevent the common cold, caused by another coronavirus, in patients whose bodies had undergone physical stress. Vitamin C also reduced the duration and severity of cold symptoms in supplementation trials. Additionally, vitamin C has shown some benefit in sepsis patients and, though still under investigation, may prove to be helpful in severe COVID-19 patients.”
In Thailand, as of May 17, 2020, the country had only suffered 56 deaths from COVID-19 out of a population of 70 million. Dr. Amy Baxter, the CEO and founder of Pain Care Labs, said she is convinced that this is due to one Thai practice that is not so popular in Western cultures — nasal irrigation (a.k.a., the holy Neti Pot).
“Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don’t shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people,” Baxter said in an article from Microsoft News.
Even though it has not yet been proven by researchers around the globe to be effective, Baxter said the reason she believes it could be so crucial as a preventative method is because of something called “the viral load.”
“SARS-CoV2’s viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity,” Baxter said.
According to Best Life, “the buildup of viral particles in one’s sinus can inevitably lead to respiratory illness, but flushing it out once or twice a day ‘gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.’”
Even though none of these preventative methods have been 100% proven successful in either slowing down or halting the coronavirus, the evidence for their effectiveness in aiding in the recovery of other viruses is certainly promising.
Realistically, it only takes minutes out of your busy day for a potentially virus-shortening series of habits. These steps can not only slightly console your COVID-19 worries, but also create healthy habits for the future.
When our most frightening infectious foe is no longer the COVID-19 pandemic, at least you still will be ahead of the health game, ready to take on flu, strep throat and every season in between — Emergen-C in one hand, and Vitamin-D in the other.