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You have stumbled onto another episode of Get Your FILL, Financial Independence and Long Life, where we strive for ways to achieve those two goals. While you’ve been enjoying the original score by Carl Zukroff of the band, Blue Hotel, I’ve been reading all I can find about the coronavirus, COVID-19. There are a lot of links to excellent information, videos and articles, on the website, GetYourFillPodcast.com.
What is it?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses. The same family that caused SARS, MERS and the common cold. And you know there’s no cure for the common cold.
That’s because it’s a virus, not a germ. It’s not alive, that’s why antibiotics aren’t helpful. It’s just a protein wrapped in fat that, after entering your body, alters the genetic code of cells and sends them off to mutate and multiply.
For most people, it’s just like the flu or a cold – or even allergies. Sneezing, fever, runny nose, body aches, etc. If it lodges in the digestive system instead of the respiratory system, you could have the symptoms of a stomach flu.
Sometimes our bodies work too hard to kill the mutated cells and that can cause pneumonia and respiratory symptoms that ultimately make us sick. Doctors call that a cytokine storm and it’s basically your body attacking the rogue cells and other cells. Cytokine storm syndrome is a major cause of COVID-19-related deaths.
How it spreads
How does it get into your body? In most cases, it’s because you put it there. You picked up the virus somewhere and then touched your eyes, nose or mouth. That is actually surprisingly easy for several reasons:
· It can live for a long time outside the body
· About 80% of the people who have develop very mild symptoms or none at all
· It can take up to 2 weeks to develop symptoms – but you’re contagious the whole time
So here’s an example: Sandy is feeling a little tired and achy so goes to the local grocery store, picks up a few things including some ibuprofen for the aches. While there, Sandy happens to sneeze in the paper goods. A few drops of the sneeze fall onto a box of tissues. The next day, during early senior hours, Elvira goes into the store with her mask and gloves and buys the box of tissues, sneezed on by Sandy the day before. Elvira goes home, dutifully washes her hands and puts away the groceries. Her eye is a little itchy so she rubs it and voila, introduces the virus into her body. Meanwhile Sandy is feeling much better and has no idea that she has infected and may have killed Elvira.
Why it’s so serious
So if only 20% of the people get seriously ill and only some of those people die, why is it such a big deal? Doesn’t the regular flu kill tens of thousands of people every year – why all the drama?
There seem to be three major reasons why this virus is so much more serious than the flu:
· No one has a natural immunity – unlike the flu where lots of people either have shots or have an immunity from prior contact, this has only been in humans for a few months
· The gestation period is much longer – 1-4 days for the flu vs. 1-14 days for corona, meaning you can get and share the disease for 2 weeks before you even develop one symptom
· It’s about twice as communicable that the flu. – see the great video on the website, GetYourFILLPodcast.com
· It takes longer to get better. About 10 times more people have to be hospitalized and about 10 times more people will die from COVID-19 than the flu.
How do I avoid getting it?
What mistake did Elvira make? She wore her mask out. She practiced social distancing when she was out. She washed her hands as soon as she got home. So how come she got infected? Because she didn’t realize how long the virus can live outside the body. The coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, on metal, like doorknobs for 48 hours and on plastic, that most efficient of materials, for up to 72 hours. That means that anytime you leave the house, you have to first disinfect everything you’ve brought home with you and then wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot soapy water. If Elvira had wiped down the tissue box before touching her eyes, she would have been fine.
You also want to make your body an unwelcoming place for the virus. Eat citrus and healthy foods. Get outside in the fresh air. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and exercise. The more healthy you are, the less likely that the virus will be able to survive in your body. Acidic foods create an alkaline ash in the body that is not good for illness. Drink hot water with lots of lemon, have a grapefruit with breakfast and an orange for your morning snack. It may not help but it can’t hurt.
How to cope with staying home
Because I’ve worked from home for years, the state-of-emergency hasn’t had too bad of an impact on me. I also don’t have young kids at home climbing the walls. What can you do to stay positive – and sane – while staying home?
For me, two big challenges are staying busy and marking the days. Goals can be an excellent way to keep yourself and your family feeling positive and can make the time away from your regular duties feel more like a blessing. I downloaded an app 30-days to a split. It’s 30 days of exercises and stretches and at the end, I will supposedly be able to do a split. I am also going to start taking online guitar lessons. There are tons of free things like this in apps and on youtube where people are sharing their knowledge with others.
Have you always wanted to learn a language? Launch a business? Write a book? Read War and Peace? Now is the perfect time to dust off these goals and set them in motion. Make a plan to do some piece of your goal every day and you’ll feel a sense of momentum that will take you sailing through this.
When every day is the same, it can be hard depressing and demoralizing so think of ways to bring some structure to your day and week. I set my alarm every morning, get up, take a walk, stretch, do my split exercises, eat, etc. doing the same things every day at about the same time. Then introduce something special for the various days of the week. Maybe Monday can be movie night, Tuesday is Italian night where the whole family helps prepare a special feast. Wednesday at 3:00 PM is when you have a video chat with a family member and Thursday is ice cream for dessert and Friday is the night you order out. Saturday, find a concert on youtube and a video church service on Sunday. The more of these types of “traditions” you can create, the more the time will pass and you’ll find yourself looking forward to the future.
Stay connected. Try to connect with at least one person each day outside your home. Video calls are the best because seeing the other person is so much more powerful than just talking on the phone. Using Zoom, Facetime, Skype or a similar program is free and fun.
There have been a lot of pundits talking about what the world will look like after this is over. A lot of changes will likely stay – like telehealth. It’s easier for patients and more efficient and safer for medical staff to talk with and diagnose people via a teleconference vs in person. More people have become comfortable banking and shopping online, but if we’re not careful, we may not like the changes. How will you feel if your favorite restaurant goes out of business? Your local theater closes its doors? If there are small establishments that you are looking forward to visiting when the world opens up again, consider supporting them today. Buy a gift card or a membership, make a donation, get a take-away meal once a week. A coworker took up a collection to feed hospital workers with meals from local restaurants. He’s supporting a small business and helping those in the front lines.
A friend of mine says, you don’t know what kind of tea you are until you get in hot water. This situation has the power to create or destroy you and your community. You have the power to define what your world will look like. Take the time now to think about the things that you love about your life and take action to enjoy, build and appreciate those people and things in the future.
Thanks so much for joining me today. Be sure to check out the website, GetYourFillPodcast.com for some wonderful resources to learn more about this virus including how it compares to the seasonal flu, to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, and how you can stay safe.