Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Advice for the conditionally healthy

Disclaimer: I don’t really know anything.

It has not escaped my attention that a 5- to 14-day incubation period means any of us could have coronavirus right now and be totally unaware of it. You’re feeling good? Congratulations, you weren’t infected as of March 18. (Well, actually, that is pretty good news, because my own personal COVID freakout began on March 12, and I’ve been as careful as I can since then.)

Anyway, I always assume I have the virus, and based on that assumption, here are the steps I’ve been taking:

1. Do not eat anything that might make you feel sickish. So for me, sugar can give me a sore throat, and dairy makes me congested—I am avoiding both like the plague. The last thing I want is to have a cough and then a panic attack. My diet is pretty impeccable right now.

2. Get hours and hours of extra sleep. Maybe you’re bored anyway. Sleep has the dual advantage of killing a lot of time and also giving your body tons of help with whatever it’s doing.

3. Take every supplement known to boost the immune system. It’s better if you’ve been taking these for a long time, but go ahead and start in with the C, the D, the probiotics, the leafy greens, the green tea, etc. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, and coronavirus hurts us with inflammation, so I don’t see a downside.

4. But don’t take a fever reducer if you can help it. If you get a fever, you will want to know asap, and you won’t know if you just took Advil for neck pain.

5. Give yourself a fake fever. Fever possibly works by improving the efficiency of white blood cells, making it easier for them to spot invaders. So sit in a hot bath or a sauna if you have access to one, and sweat. Or do what I do and pile a million blankets on yourself at night. Heat stress is good for you anyway, and maybe your immune system can kill this thing off before the symptoms even show up.

6. Keep active, but don’t push it. I want to be healthy and limber and strong, but if I am falling ill tomorrow, I certainly don’t want to have done an exhausting workout today. I’m personally cool with walking (fresh air!) and yoga, but I absolutely do not want to huff and puff right now.

7. Don’t do anything that will land you in a medical facility. To me this means excellent dental hygiene, being extra-careful with kitchen knives, keeping meat and vegetables on separate cutting boards, and just generally not doing anything dumb.

8. All the usual. Wash hands, six feet away, stay mentally healthy, hug the people in your bubble, etc.

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