This article is intended to be a discussion of our current situation, taken from my personal and professional perspective. Any specific recommendations are meant for educational purposes only and are entirely in keeping with my level of qualification. Please seek medical advice to make medical decisions but incorporate what you’ve learnt here to inform your discussions with other professionals!

Like many of you when I first realised how serious this thing was becoming for us in the UK I wondered why the government wasn’t doing more and if I should keep my children at home ahead of them being sent home.

Having been brought up to date by the UK Chief Medical Officer and the epidemiologists from the WHO I now have a different view. I’m going to assume that you’ve made your peace with the idea that this thing is coming, that there can be no vaccine as yet and that we are relying heavily on basic but effective strategies to minimise all types of impact the virus has on us as individuals and as a nation. If not I’d like to refer you to the following:

I have realised that as a Functional Health Practitioner it has been easier for me not to throw my hands up in horror at being told the basics of washing hands for long enough (I worked at Rentoil Initial R&D many years ago and remember them saying that the data on their handwashes only applied if the person lathered for a minimum of 20 seconds which all of us knew never generally happens) and the specifics of social distancing. No. These cheap, easy and readily available strategies are a gift! It’s my job to educate people in how to support their bodies in working normally, and as close to optimally, as possible. The strategies I direct towards seek to work in harmony with the body’s own means of bringing about health. For example I have to remember, and remind others, of the sheer brilliance of appropriate body movement. Not too much, not too little and of the right type can transform the body and mind. The maker of a medication that could achieve a fraction of what occurs at a metabolic level when we exercise in the right way would be extremely rich! And that’s just exercise. Add to that all the ways I help people remove barriers to proper body functioning and you have something not only pretty powerful but with the capability to truly resolve an issue and not have it pop up again later in a different guise, or rather unimaginatively, just the same as before but probably worse.

So in these days of hand washing for 20 seconds I say, yes! I can do that! I’ve had soap and water here all along. I’ll just do it more often now and for the 20 seconds I secretly knew was right.

When asked to not shake hands or do various small things that ensure that viruses are not passed from one person to another so readily I say, bring it on, because the epidemiologists at the WHO say that these things are effective. They are not quite as easy as popping a pill I’ll grant you but I think this could work in our favour in the long run. Do you, like me, remember the droughts of the 90s which had us all changing our behaviour so that we no longer left the tap running for the whole two minutes we brushed our teeth? We were forever changed and my children can’t believe we ever behaved so wastefully. Perhaps we will all learn health-giving habits here that will have long-term benefit far beyond this outbreak?

It is my hope that one of the next layers of strategy will directly prioritise our care of the elderly and vulnerable by enabling them to not only stay at home but simultaneously remain connected and looked after. Initiatives are already springing up spontaneously but my heart would swell if there were official government strategies too! For some who are usually lonely I hope they will feel more surrounded by love and care soon in days of “isolation” than before. I also hope these ways of being connected with our communities will live on long after the virus has died out.

Alongside the simple but effective hand washing and social distancing I would like to add nasal rinsing, vitamin C and then also hydrogen. All these non-medical interventions are exquisite in how they work so gently but effectively. It’s the equivalent of coming alongside a child who is struggling to do their homework, empathising with their difficulties and helping them to understand it better so that they can complete it themselves.

So, in the way we are washing it off our hands, you might be able to rinse it out of your nose! Sterimar produce some very easy to use nasal sprays – little ones that fit in a bag and larger ones for nasal irrigation. Don’t overuse them as you risk damaging the delicate nasal lining so do follow the instructions. I can’t point towards data that specifically shows this to be helpful for reducing contraction of COVID-19 because it doesn’t exist but Sterimar claims their Cold Defence product can rinse out the “airbourne impurities responsible for colds” (that’s viruses) so that’s good enough for me. Your ENT specialist would agree it is helpful for nasal symptoms and easing the incidence and symptoms of sinusitis for example so that’s good too.

Alongside all the agents potentially useful in the treatment of COVID-19 listed in this article Critical care management of adults with community-acquired severe respiratory viral infection is vitamin C which has been shown to reduce mortality in this setting. In this article The antiviral properties of vitamin C, we learn that we used to think of vitamin C as directly anti-viral but that this is no longer believed to be the case. Occurring naturally in certain white blood cells, vitamin C has been shown to enhance several aspects of the functioning of these immune cells. More research into vitamin C is underway at this very moment but HAT (hydrocortisone, ascorbic acid (vit C), thiamine (vit B1)) protocols have been extremely helpful in cases of sepsis and the article author notes success of modified HAT of vitamins C and B1 alone in their clinical setting for influenza A. Treatment of viruses with corticosteroids can be problematic so the vitamin-only approach deserves more research. Opinion on this is mixed but I say take whatever vitamin C you can get although ascorbic acid can be a bit harsh on the stomach being acidic. Buffered and liposomal are good options with liposomal claiming to be better absorbed. This means you’ll get more into the bloodstream before the excess reaches the stools. This is not really a problem except that it is a stool softener so watch out if you overdo it! Step it back just until things are a bit more manageable again and of course keep up fluids. Individual requirements vary hugely with much more being used in times of illness so go with what your body is telling you on this.

This leads me nicely onto a word now about all the toilet roll being in short supply. PLEASE don’t put wipes or kitchen towel down the toilet. If you resort to using these put them in the bin. Our sewerage system already struggles with what we shove down the loo and a sudden abundance of such items will over burden the drains in the way the surge of serious cases of COVID-19 will overburden the intensive care units and the thought of a combination of both is truly terrifying. Those of us who didn’t turn up our noses at reusable nappies might feel we can use washable wipes here too if things get desperate?! I confess these were all my first thoughts when I first saw the empty shelves.

Now, hydrogen, or more accurately, hydroxy gas since the latter is what has been used in China. Take a look at this video at the 34 minute mark to witness a lady express relief of respiratory discomfort through inhalation of hydroxy gas which nothing else achieved. Hydroxy gas could and should be the focus of many articles all on its own but here we are witnessing what I call a profound and intelligent antioxidant effect. It appears to only exert its antioxidant effect in the way the body would too and the use of free radicals for normal body functioning is preserved. Click here for more research on hydrogen. I hope you’re going to hear a lot more about it in the coming months for many and varied reasons, including the promising results for Parkinson’s Disease. I’m pleased to say that Mark Kent at Osmio has made it quite clear to our government that this therapy was successfully used in China for COVID-19, it should be used here and that he (and I and others) can help make it available as I have a machine and am trained in how to use it.

Developing habits that enhance the natural functioning of our immune systems but also our communities, and not least of all our sewerage systems, might just be what we all need.

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