Is it too late to prepare for Coronavirus? What you can do NOW to prepare for what is to come.

Its been just over a month since our last post about COVID-19 (aka “Coronavirus”) and a lot has transpired.  At that time, we suggested that a viral outbreak isn’t unlike any other disaster. You need to have the essentials to survive independently from society for a sustained period of time to allow distancing your self from others and minimize the chance to come in contact with the pathogen. Viral outbreaks bring with it the additional need of protection including masks in case you are caring for someone else who is infected.

Fast Forward to Today
Fast forward one month and all hygiene supplies including masks, suits, gloves, and hand sanitizer are in short supply.  The outbreak has spread throughout the country and most public gatherings and some businesses have announced closures as they follow recommendations to attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.  If you didn’t start preparing early, you may find it difficult to find basic necessities such as toilet paper, wipes, meat, vegetables, milk, rice, beans, and even bread.   

Is it too late?
One question we get asked frequently is “Is it too late to prepare?”.   The answer isn’t so straightforward.  While it may be too late to build up a supply of food for an extended outage, we are lucky with this disaster that it isn’t likely that the grocery stores are going to run out of food overnight.  The power is still on, water is still flowing, and the trucks are still running to restock the shelves (for now).  It isn’t likely that this is going to stop, though it may be somewhat impacted if the drivers/workers that provide those services get sick themselves.  The biggest danger there is you may have to venture out into the public to resupply when your shelves go empty and risk exposing yourself to the virus.  While that isn’t ideal, that is better than starving to death. 

Get Ready for Battle
There is one thing however, that you can definitely do to prepare, and that is to prepare yourself for a fight.  What fight you might ask?  Well the virus of course.  While everyone is talking about what they can do to prepare with food, water filtration, toilet paper and other supplies, they aren’t thinking about what they can do to win the battle that may be coming their way.  Before steps were taken to slow the spread of the virus, some scenarios suggested that “between 160 million and 214 million people could be infected over the course of the epidemic” using various projections from the CDC according to a NY Times article.  Of that number, CDC scenarios suggest between 2.4 and 21 million people in the US could require hospitalization which would crush the nation’s medical system.  Other sources have said that up to 70% of people could become infected before it is over.  While temporary or even sustained isolation will reduce the rate of spread of the virus, we will have to return to society at some point.  Even most sustained isolation scenarios are going to require interacting with each other in society to purchase supplies, go to the doctor for other conditions, and (unfortunately) go to funerals.  

Prepare your body
So you know you need to prepare for a fight, but how?  While the virus appears to have a minimal impact on the very young (that is one blessing), it can have devastating effects on the elderly or even the middle aged with less than stellar health conditions.  There are even cases of some that appear to be perfectly healthy ending up in the hospital in critical condition, fighting for their lives.  Unfortunately we live in a society where we are spoiled, and as such we are overweight and out of shape in many cases.  So the question is, if we have conceded that chances are high that we will contract the virus eventually, what can we do to strengthen our immune system for what may be (literally) the fight of our lives you might ask.   I have been researching this very thing.  I am in my mid-forties and while I don’t eat as healthy as I should, I do try to stay active and work out regularly.  I don’t have any major health issues to speak of, but I know of people in that same condition lying in a hospital bed fighting for their lives.  I want to make sure I do everything I can to make it through a possible infection so I am still around to see my kids grow up and have families of their own.  Based on my research, there is no magic bullet to make your immune system foolproof, but most experts agree there are several things you can do to help it operate at its optimum.  I want to emphasize that I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training.  The below are what I have decided to do for my own benefit based on research.  I would advise you consult your doctor or do your own research before making any changes to your daily regimine.

  • Nutrition
    While no single food will ensure you will win a battle with a virus, I have found that most experts agree that a balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein are the best way to ensure your body is functioning optimally. Additionally, my research has shown that drinking alcohol and caffeine can actually hamper your immune systems ability to work naturally.
  • Vitamins
    No diet is perfect and as busy as we are, it is likely that we aren’t getting the daily intake of vitamins our bodies need to operate at its peak.  While most research suggests that massive doses of vitamins are not helpful (and can be dangerous), a good multi-vitamin can provide the essentials you need to make up for the vitamins we don’t take in naturally.
  • Hydrate
    One thing that I have found synonymous with treatment of COVID-19 seems to be drinking lots of fluids.  Your body uses a lot of water when fighting off a major illness and that water needs to be replenished.  Don’t wait until you actually get a virus.  Give your body a head start by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  I have also read that Gatorade is very good at helping your body replenish lost fluids when you are sick, but it is high in sodium and may not be best for daily consumption.  My goal is to drink water throughout the day.
  • Rest
    My research has found that adequate sleep is essential for your immune system to operate at its peak.  It also helps your body to deal with the stress that you go through about your day while you try to track down toilet paper and basic necessities.  Make sure you give yourself time to get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise
    My research suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is not ideal for an optimum immune system.   Unfortunately, you aren’t going to get in shape overnight and I am not sure that it would be a good idea to try to start a strenuous exercise regimen with a virus looming, so you should probably start off easy.  Exercise is also a great de-stresser and it may be good to get out and walk around the neighborhood (avoiding people) while you are staying home.  You should definitely contact your doctor before beginning any exercise program. 
  • Stop Smoking or Vaping
    This is one I am happy I don’t struggle with, but based on my research, smoking is definitely a detriment if you encounter a respiratory illness such as COVID-19.  I know it isn’t easy.  Things that are good for us rarely are.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    Everyone has their favorite natural remedy.  I have come to find that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) works well to help your body fend off illness.  Research suggests that ACV helps to alkalinize the body which makes it a less hospitable environment for bacteria and viruses.  I have read a lot of research that suggests it helps your body fend off illnesses such as flu and intestinal illness.   It seems to work for me and many others.  I don’t for a second think it is a cure-all, but do your own research.  Other items that are popular body boosters are garlic, coconut oil, and elderberry syrup.  Check with your doctor before taking on any natural remedy. 

The above are just a few of the items I have found to help boost your immune system.  Prepping isn’t just about gathering food, water, and other supplies you might need in an emergency.  You have to ready yourself as well.  The goal is to give your body the best fighting chance at winning.  Good luck and God Bless!

Time For Tea?  How Caffeine Consumption Affects Our Immune System –

How to boost your immune system – Harvard Medical School

Top 15 Immune System Boosters –

Boost Your Immune System to Fight Viruses –

Facts (and Myths) About Boosting Your Immune System – The Wall Street Journal

How Many People Will Get Sick From the Coronavirus?  Epidemiologists Model Answers – The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus Forecasts Are Grim: ‘It’s going to get worse’ –

8 Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season –