As we are faced with the reality of Covid-19, it is time for us to unite as a world population and focus on our resourcefulness, courage, bravery and belief that hope can create and lead to change. Global governments have shown this unity by exceptional quality in their use of human factors relating to the power of human and technological communication. We stand in awe of the quality demonstrated in the administration of effective policies to protect us here in and around the world.
The crucial step of self-responsibility must now step in. We must replace the emotions of fear, anger, hatred, jealousy and sense of entitlement with a new set of essential skills. These emotions must now, more important than any other time of our lives, be steered in the direction of caring for ourselves so we can care for those that we love, and who love us. Not only must we master the art of infection prevention and control, but with equal importance strengthen our immune systems. This is not only important in our own homes, but even more important for those displaced from their homes and those who have no homes. We are powerful when we all unite as one. Don’t waste anger on those not practicing adequate infection control, kindly show them and teach them why it is important. The Government are and will continue to do what they can and roll out new policies as global Governments more clearly understand the confused dilemma, we are all part of. Don’t waste time wondering what the Government have not done yet, because the Government will do all they can with their available resources. But our elected members are people too and must protect themselves and their families. So, the next step in about our responsibility of self-governing ourselves and our loved ones.
So now onto us, no need to go over the recommendations that we have all come to know.
Practice good foot and hand hygiene.
We understand the hand better than the foot, but both are important. Get right out of the habit of wearing no footwear in public. The last thing you want to do is tread any infection right back into the haven you call home. This is crucially important. Don’t go bare foot in public. Stop it now! Not only do you endanger your own life, but you may tread bacterial and viral infection into other people’s homes, businesses or places of congregation. Wounds: be obsessively compulsively careful to properly dress wounds and seek antiseptic care and dressing advice if you need it. Not only are wounds a pathway for infection into your body through the broken skin that protects us, but you will require valuable medical services to seek care of infection if it takes place, in a world where antibiotic resistance has narrowed our alternatives for antimicrobial therapy (antibiotics) due to antimicrobial resistance. And please leave your outside world shoes at the door and keep inside shoes for inside. Remember cracked heels and interdigital fungal infections (i.e. Tinea) are portals of entry for infection, without you even realizing. Adequate moisturization of skin has been shown to assist in protecting us from fungal, viral and bacterial infection, so use a moisturizer on your hands and feet, but not between your toes.
Get good quality sleep.
Immune system health is highly dependent on the quality of your sleep. Do not underestimate this. Try and prepare yourself for sleep with some book reading and avoid excessive blue light, which interrupts good circadian rhythm function which is essential for good sleep quality. Forget all night Netflix just because you can, missing sleep does not mean you can just catch up later. Get 8-9 hours’ sleep if possible, as this will strengthen your immune system by correct stages of sleep refreshing and cleansing the brain and body, preparing you for maximum safety during the day.
Attend to reducing your stress levels.
Now is the time to realize that stress, and especially prolonged stress, can weaken your immune response to the risk of becoming infected by viral, bacterial and fungal infection. Pay attention to this fact. Apps for mindfulness mediation such as Smiling mind for your phone are a good place to start in your quest for reduced levels of stress in your life. (Read about this example at www.smilingmind.com.au). Recent research has shown that mindfulness meditation is a form of self-inflicted genetic engineering. Once upon a time a tiger would jump out of the jungle, and our fight flight response would lead to a decision to fight, or flight. Nowadays the tigers are jumping around in your head. All the worries we play like a record in our minds, which flood our brains with hormones required for fight flight, and lead to our immune system being depleted of a significant degree of defense. Even 5 minutes of meditation per day in the early stages can start turning those fight flight genes off and replacing them with a relaxation response. You may prefer meditating alone or even doing yoga, Tai Chi or gardening. These are only some suggestions but don’t downplay the importance. There is even a correlation between stress and musculoskeletal pain, so you may sleep better if it helps your muscle tightness or discomfort. Some research demonstrates better expression of our genetic inheritance of genes, by a more holistic approach to our health. Stress reduction is a good example of this self-governance. You may also like to practice it in the company of your children.
I repeat, stop smoking! There are some studies indicating that smoking leads to more easy reception and entry into our lungs by bacteria and viruses, so give up now! There is strong evidence in relation to the increased risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus if you are a smoker. It may be up to 14 times higher risk of severe Covid-19 infection with a 14 percent higher risk of suffering from Pneumonia, demonstrated in recent evidence-based research. Would you take the risk of buying a car that had a 14% risk of seriously affecting your safety? Of course not is the only answer to that question! Stop smoking or encourage someone you know who smokes to stop. We all know that nobody should smoke if they want optimum health, but this is a global emergency. If you don’t want to give up for yourself, give up for those you love or give up to help save other people on the planet. We all need each other’s help, immediately! Smoking causes vasoconstriction in blood vessels which can totally cut off circulation in the extremities for some time, which reduces peripheral immunity in your arms and legs. It therefore follows that all blood arteries and arterioles in the body may have their blood flow compromised and diminished, so all those Basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, leukocytes and killer T cells guarding your body are well and truly off duty. If you are persuaded by this argument, please seek immediate specialist advice from a medical professional or a Pharmacist on how to start on this road today. There has never been a more important time to reflect and act on my recommendation. I wish to put you in the driver’s seat of a lower risk of infection.
Avoid more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol.
Excessive alcohol consumption affects your immune system health. Why leave this one out when you are doing so well in addressing other areas of concern? Remember, every piece of the jigsaw in your infection prevention portfolio should have no weak links. Research demonstrates the after 2 glasses of alcohol your blood pressure may start to rise, which is dangerous of course. Alcohol does affect the quality of your sleep and we already know how much sleep matters. It is empty calories with no nutritional value known to man that would make its consumption recommended for health. Get real about it, we need to stay focused, excessive consumption is guaranteed not to help our quest for better immunity. All good things in moderation!
Have a nutritious diet.
There is a wide amount of evidence-based research supporting the importance of diet to keep the immune system stronger. For expert advice on this subject talk to a Dietician, Nutritionist, Naturopath, medical professional or your health department website. Our portions of food are often too large. Many societies see serving large platters of food to their friends and loved ones as demonstrating love and prosperity. We eat too much sugar and refined foods, and don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. So, the bottom line is eat for nutrition. Addressing these dietary points will assist in improving your metabolic function significantly, which of course is good for your immune system function, letting your immune system carry on with its important functions.
Exercise and increase your level of activity.
Adequate, regular exercise is good for your body’s immune system. Try not to remain sedentary for long periods of time. I have published a book on this subject called “Lets learn about Power of Activity” by Dr. Jeremy Hawke (Podiatrist) available as an eBook on Amazon, if you desire this subject in a more readily available evidence based application, for you and all your family. Now is the time to act! Forget about what you have not done regarding exercise and activity, find out what you can do. It is never too late; you can start enjoying the benefits to your body today. If you are isolated at home start doing some walking around the house. If there is not room to do so, walk on the spot. Do not sit for long periods of inactivity. Get up and have a 2 minute walk every 20 minutes. By the end of a 10-hour period you would have done a 60-minute walk. Check the area at home for safety before you walk. Seek medical advice so you don’t do too much, but you can adjust it easily to suit your capabilities. What consistent activity will do is lower your internal inflammation, which will help strengthen your immune responses.
Find ways to channel your energy and thinking to the bigger problems that exist for us as a global community. Be a trail blazer. Invest energy into thinking each day about what contribution you can make to keep us all safer from the Covid-19 threat. Be inventive and believe in your own capabilities to bring something new to the world table. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share it, no matter what your age, 8 years old or 80 years old, because the world needs you right now! Seek peace in the world for everyone. Believe in the power of prayer, research has demonstrated that the power of praying for change on mass will make a difference. We must unite in that prayer as a global community and seek the power of prayer through acceptance of all faiths, and congregate in strength to represent ourselves, our loved ones, our community and our civilization. That means inclusion in all senses of the word. We will succeed, I am sure of that. Go safely in peace. Thank you for your time and energy to read this, I remain eternally grateful and pray for you daily.
Dr. Jeremy Hawke. (Podiatrist). B.AppSc; Master of Arts. (International Relations)
Hip2Toe Plus, Cairns. Queensland. Australia.