Practical Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Healthy During Scary Times

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Practical Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Healthy During Scary Times | Real Food RN

We’re living in uncertain, strange times but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed. There are plenty of simple and sensible ways each of us can protect ourselves and each other. Right now, what we really need to do is practice common sense hygiene and practice social distancing until the curve gets flattened. We can take practical steps to strengthen our immune systems and our emotional well-being.

Stay Home to Stay Healthy

Stay home unless there is an unavoidable urgency to leave the house—a true emergency, critical medical reasons, food can’t be delivered—then observe social distancing of 6 feet between you and anyone else.

Wear medical gloves when touching gas pumps, ATM and credit card keypads, or any surface that someone else may touch. Avoid touching your face by wearing glasses and a mask or handkerchief.

Do not bring anything into your home from outside unless you can disinfect it first. Limit your exposure to one location and minimal time if possible. If you must risk exposure, remember your quarantine resets to another 2 weeks before you know whether you’re safe to be around others.

Wash Your Hands

After diapers and restroom visits, before eating, and when caring for someone who feels unwell, it’s critical to wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds, including in between fingers and under fingernails. Remember, when anyone is feeling ill, turn off the faucet with a paper towel to prevent recontamination of clean hands, avoid sharing cloth hand towels, and launder towels and washcloths in hot water.

Be mindful to wash the hands of babies and toddlers, because they touch everything in their world and put their fingers in their mouths as part of their normal development. Unscented soaps are best for babies, but lightly scented with essential oils are generally safe–just steer clear of their eyes, ears, and nasal passages. If your little one is teething or has a runny nose, Earth Mama face balm is gentle and soothing for chapped faces.

First Aid Kit

As recommended by your doctor, your home first aid kit should contain whatever you normally use for minor aches and pains, indigestion, minor cuts, or fever reduction: digital thermometer, bandages, first aid cream, tweezers, alcohol wipes (for the thermometer), washcloths for cool compresses, teething gel, gentle chest rub for congestion, cough syrup and throat lozenges, made from natural ingredients. Keeping these items on hand will prevent leaving home for easily solvable issues that don’t require a doctor’s care.

Online Doctor Visits & Prescriptions

Guess what? No need to leave the house to see the doctor (unless it’s an emergency). Many health insurances provide a free, 24-hour nurse hotline for after-hours medical help, but with current events, those nurse lines may not be available.

Many physicians have shifted to telehealth appointments, but if your doctor isn’t one of them, check out Steady MD! It offers the security of having your own doctor available when medical advice is needed, without the hassle and risk of going to a clinic. Steady MD health practitioners are fully licensed, professional medical doctors who provide a full range of affordable conventional and alternative modalities. We love ours! And, you can take a short quiz to get matched up with your ideal doctor! Our personal doctor is a Functional Medicine Doctor who is also very well versed on Whole30, so he is the complete package!

Eat a Rainbow Every Day

Eating a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables keeps our immune system healthy. Greens, citrus, and shellfish contain the highest immune-boosting qualities such as higher levels of vitamin C, zinc, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fresh produce is accessible from Azure Standard, which delivers more than 14,000 non-GMO, organic, and bulk products direct to families across the nation, including Hawaii and Alaska. We order from Azure every month! Another great option is Imperfect Foods, which is an innovative solution to food waste. It’s like getting a CSA box, and you can choose delivery frequency including pausing or skipping when you won’t be home to get the box. We order from them every week and love that I don’t have to go to the store with four kids in tow!

Meat from ButcherBox delivers customizable boxes of 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken and heritage breed pork directly to your door! Every animal is humanely raised too. If you’re not sure about getting something as fragile as meat delivered, watch this review from someone who grew up on a cattle farm (my husband!)!

TIP: Use bones and clean veggie scraps to make bone broth in your slow cooker, then use the immune-boosting stock to make soups, stews, and in any recipe that calls for broth. It freezes beautifully in ice cube trays for perfect portions in smaller dishes. Here is how to make bone broth with the perfect gel!

Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements are in high demand but still available from online retailers like Thrive Market, and Swanson Vitamins. Immune boosters like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Echinacea, Quercitin (we love this one), and Zinc are good for strengthening your body’s ability to fight off colds, flu, and other viruses. A good quality probiotic promotes optimal gut health, a crucial component to the immune system of kids, adults, and pets. Probiotics come in capsules, smoothie mixes, yummy gummies, and even chocolate, so no excuses not to add that to your regimen!

DIY Natural Household Cleaners

Did you know your pantry contains everything you need to make your own household cleaners? That’s right! You can make a quick natural disinfecting spray of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water. It works great as a sanitizer, degreaser, super spray! No reason to run to the store when you can easily make everything from window cleaner to laundry detergent and toilet disinfectant.

Hydrate & Hibernate

A great way to help your body fight off infection and to boost your mood is to drink plenty of water. It’s easy to forget to hydrate when our regular routine is disrupted, so if you need a reminder, set an alert or leave yourself a note. Be sure to get enough quality sleep too. Sleep schedules may be off-kilter if you’re working at home or homeschooling because you don’t have to leave the house at sunrise to commute somewhere. It’s fine to sleep in a bit but try to maintain a consistent schedule for bedtime and wake up. Your body relies on a rhythm. You’ll be more productive, more optimistic, and more resilient—both emotionally and physically—if you’ve had consistent, quality sleep. Here’s some sleep tips that will help!

Laughter is the Best Medicine

There are plenty of streaming platforms (and most offer free trials) which means you have nearly limitless options to watch your favorite comedies! Tune in to TV shows from your childhood that make you smile. Video chat or call a friend and talk about fun memories. Look for every opportunity to laugh because medical research shows that laughter reduces stress hormones, boosts mental health, heart health, and the immune system’s fighting ability at the cellular level. If I want a good launch, my husband and I play a game of “What do You Meme” (not a kid game) and I laugh so hard!

Sunshine & Pet Snuggles

Since we’re supposed to be practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, people who regularly give and receive hugs are at risk for depression due to a decrease in “happy hormones” that result from physical touch.

Next best thing? Close your eyes, hug yourself tightly, breathe deeply, and imagine your loved one hugging you. Snuggle your pets. If you have access to a safe green space outdoors, go barefoot in the grass or hug a tree. All these activities can give similar positive effects for your immune system and mental wellbeing. In addition, taking Vitamin D and being outside even for a few minutes will boost your overall mood. It’s okay to take a walk around the yard or the block as long as social distancing is still observed.

Create & Connect

Get out your art supplies and learn to paint with Bob Ross YouTube videos. Take the plunge on writing the next great American novel or take a writing class. Use video chats to attend 12-step meetings, religious practices, meditation classes, and countless concerts from celebrities’ homes. It’s critical to stay connected for your sanity and your physical health, especially if you rely on checking in for your sobriety or positive outlook. Create art, music, poetry, or cooking videos and share them with friends and family you’re missing right now to feel a little more connected.

These simple, sensible steps can go a long way to protect our physical and emotional health during these difficult times. We don’t have to feel isolated or fear that it’s inevitable to get sick if we do all we can to connect and protect ourselves. We’re all in this together!

I would love any and all of your ideas for staying sane and healthy during these trying times. Please leave them in the comments below. Stay healthy! We got this!

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Practical Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Healthy During Scary Times | Real Food RN
Learn More About Kate, Founder of Real Food RN

Hi! I'm Kate.

Registered Nurse. Mom. Real Foodie.

Welcome to Real Food RN! A blog with the mission to empower you to live your healthiest life possible, starting today.

 

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I am an RN, not an MD. The information on this blog is not intended to be taken as medical advice. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. You can find out more in my Terms of Use & Disclosure and Privacy Policy.