Tips for Staying Healthy During COVID19

Here is some content from a pediatrician friend. This person acknowledges how fast this information is coming at us and changing, “OK, seeing a few confused/inaccuracies from non-medical friends’ posts, here’s a super short (for me) version of COVID, what we know now, which will be obsolete by the time I hit send.” I will paraphrase their content in bullet points below adding a few thoughts of my own as well and quotes when directly quoting the pediatrician’s content. It’s a lot of info but valuable and nice to have all in one place.

Spreading Corona: “You can have no symptoms and spread it.” Symptoms can be mild at first and keep worsening for more than 2 weeks. Some people feel better for a few days and then symptoms come back even harder “so don’t get cocky.”

Wear a mask, even a homemade mask to protect others from you, and protect yourself from others. “Save the medical masks for medical workers until there are enough for all.” Practice sanitary mask wearing practices by only touching the strings to place over your ears and not wearing it on your neck which drags germs around the face and neck.

Essentially everyone needs to act like they have Corona actively with their sanitation practices in public and at home. Have a place when you enter your home to take off all clothes from the outside world to quarantine for 72 hours, hang in the sun, or wash. Leave masks, sunglasses, keys, anything from the car there to be sanitized or sit for 72 hours. Wash your hands, change your clothes, maybe take a hot shower, and drink some hot tea before really touching anything in your home.

Immunity and Vaccines:

“Do not assume you’re immune if you have had it as we do not yet know how long immunity will last for this virus. Some Corona viruses can be as short as 6 months. “Any Coronavirus specific vaccine made this quickly will be far from perfect, it’s likely to roll out in waves by risk/age rather than globally just in case of surprises.”


“There will be a second wave, a third wave, a fourth wave. We are buying time to prepare for those waves, as we can’t be cooped up forever as someone has to grow and distribute food and products on a global scale. You will not be “safe and past it” for the foreseeable future, just a continuous process of risk vs. benefit in exposures”

What Can We Do To Stay Healthy:

We want to support our body’s normal functioning in all the ways we can. We can increase our immunity, be taking our vitamins especially Vitamin D and Vitamin C, using Zinc lozenges, eating lots of garlic and onion and ginger, medicinal mushrooms, making tea to drink daily, not smoking, cutting out sugar, eating whole foods, and using herbs if we have access to them.

Vitamin D is a very important supplement deserving of its’ own bullet point. Herbalist Paul Bergner says, “One of the best predictors of somebody ending up in the E.R. with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrom (ARDS) is severe Vitamin D deficiency. And one of the best predictors of poor outcome once you’re in the ICU for whatever reason is Vitamin D deficiency.” We can get Vitamin D naturally from the sun from mid March to mid October in North America, and the best spot to absorb it is on our chests. The fall and winter our bodies literally do not make Vitamin D because the sun is too low in the sky for us to absorb ultraviolet light, so we need to supplement. 4,000 to 7,000 IU is the recommended dose. Fill that hole before you get sick by taking Vitamin D supplements now. It produces immuno-competent cells in the respiratory tract and puts the breaks on cytokine storms according to Bergner.

We need to all be preparing our bodies to the best of our ability to be ready to fight off the virus if we do get it. The more folks that can be in their own homes or friends homes while healing from the virus the less folks are in the hospitals, straining the healthcare workers, the better for everyone.

  • Make sure to get lots of rest. We do our best healing when we sleep. 7-10 hours ideally. Take naps if you can and feel like you need to.
  • Drink lots of warm liquids throughout the day and use cough drops.
  • If you can spend time daily outside, walking in nature, smelling plants, or getting some sun on your front step, do it.
  • Hot showers, herbal steams, foot baths, and generally sweating is good for you at this time.
  • Warming and disinfecting herbs like garlic, onion, ginger, echinacea, yarrow, cinnamon and all of the chai spices, thyme, rosemary, oregano sage are common herbs that you can incorporate into your tea and cooking.

If you have access to herbal tinctures or teas from an herb shop or herbalist near you ask for immune boosting herbs like elderberry, yarrow, schizandra, echinacea, usnea, astragalus, codonopsis, reishi and chaga mushrooms. Also anti-inflammatory herbs like licorice(*do not use if you have high blood pressure/hypertension), japanese knotweed, willow bark and expectorant lung herbs like wild cherry bark, lobelia, osha, elecampane, thyme, or mullein.

Understanding Covid A Little Better:

“Here’s the big physiology lesson. COVID makes you make less surfactant, which is like lube for the inside of your lung sacs. Without it you start microscopically having less and less functional lung. The reason you feel short of breath is NOT because of oxygen. It’s because of acid. Where it’s CO2 acid or acid in your blood, you breathe faster to purge acid in the form of CO2. Normally with lung disease when you are low on O2, you ALSO are high CO2 and you show obvious symptoms. With COVID, the CO2 exchange is fine…so you are silently collapsing lung. Then you feel more tired…then a LOT more tired…then like you can’t take deep breaths. ONLY when your tissues are so starved of oxygen they start to die will you be making so much acid that you are panting, and by then you are at risk for organ failure.”

What Can We Do If We Feel Sick:

“So. If you get a cold during COVID make a point of rest, sleeping helps prevent the sacs in the lungs from collapsing.” “Take several deep breaths several times an hour or blow up a balloon once an hour while awake. Make a point of resting or sleeping (helps prevent the sacs from collapsing. “For all that is holy don’t smoke (ANYTHING) or vape (ANYTHING)” If you get a fever allow it up to an extent. “Let yourself have some fever because fever helps a little bit.” You can take a hot shower or bath, and wrap yourself up in a warm blanket under all the covers you can. Drink some hot tea like chamomile or peppermint or ginger. Let your body sweat it out for a while to bring the blood flow to your skin and push out toxins.

If you get exhausted from your cold check your oxygen and if <90 (95-100 is normal) talk to your doctor soon, they have on call lines. Pharmacies sell little pulse oximeters that aren’t perfect but do OK (iPhones apps without separate attachment won’t accurately read the low numbers.)” Obviously these tips are not a substitute for medical care from a professional so use discretion and seek help if fever is prolonged or symptoms worsen rapidly.

Herbal Preparations:

  • Eat lots of raw garlic (about a clove a day) and raw onion (about a half a cup a day)
  • Herbal Steam: place hot water and a tablespoon of dried herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender, calendula, cinnamon, clove, oregano, ginger powder, etc. into a bowl sitting on a table. Pull up a chair and place a large towel over your head and place your head over the bowel to breath in the steam and trap the steam within your tented towel. You can use a few drops of essential oil of eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, rosemary, thyme, sage, any confier trees like cedar, juniper, or balsam fir. Breathe in deeply about 100 breathes, 50 in through your nose and 50 in through your mouth. Be sure to have a snot rag near by and blow out any mucus you can.
  • Drink lots of tea and take tinctures and syrups if you have them.
  • Herbal Actions you want: Immune supportive herbs like echinacea, myrrh, boneset, usnea, osha, yarrow.
  • Cough Herbs: thyme, osha, propolis, wild cherry bark, licorice (*do no take with high bloodpressure)
  • Soothing or Demulcent Herbs: Using a cough syrup with honey to take the tinctures down with will be good, garlic syrup, elderberry syrup, usnea syrup, birch bark syrup. Marshmallow root powder mixed in with warm water is very soothing.

Lots of love to you all, stay well.

Virtual Workshop: Cheap & Healthy Kitchen Protocols for Uncertain Times

Thursday, April 9, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EST

with a Q&A to follow

$5 – $25 sliding scale

Workshop Description: Recent events have made it clear that the need for building skills and sharing knowledge about efficient food preparation, food storage, and food preservation is more pressing than ever. The internet is overflowing with tips, tricks, and hacks – but how useful is this information without a system, or framework, in which to place it? The way we manage our Kitchen is at the very core of our continued health and well being, and we are doing ourselves a great disservice if we do not consider it carefully and create well reasoned systems and protocols. 

In this 60 minute online presentation, participants will use whole systems thinking to look carefully at the roles that our pantries, fridges and kitchens are playing, with an eye for increasing efficiency and reducing waste. Participants will leave with the mindset and tools to create a kitchen protocol, customized to their needs and space, that can function as a ‘stepped up’ or ‘backup’ system for uncertain times. You may even like the results so much (in nutrition, taste, and savings) that it becomes your primary kitchen protocol.

Speaker: Chrisso Babcock | Coyote Kitchen Workshops,

 This is the first of a three part webinar series about food and gardens presented in partnership by:

Backyard to Table and BardEats at Bard College.

Questions about the event?
Email Kaitlin Doherty, Backyard to Table

Reaching out to your Family, Community, and Neighbors

Here’s some more tips to help keep you and those closest to you safe and healthy during the coming weeks. Lots of love, Y’all — more free info coming being added as quickly as possible, and my Patreon site should be up and on line in the next week or so. In the meantime, here’s some simple common-sense things you can do to support the people in your life.

  • Give your neighbors a call and check in.
    • See if they have what they need in terms of food and medicine, and if you are able bodied and younger, offer that you are available by phone if they need something.
    • If you don’t know your closest neighbors phone numbers, maybe now is a good time to go for a walk, give a knock on their door, take a few big steps back, and say, “Hello! I’m your neighbor from a few houses down. How are you doing? Here’s my number in case you need anything.”
    • If this feels intimidating or silly, remind yourself that this is an unprecedented situation. An extra connection point with a neighbor, especially for more isolated or less tech-savvy people, could be the difference between life and death.
  • Reach out to friends and family, near and far, and ask them how they are doing and if they need anything, even just to talk.
    • People deeply appreciate a friendly call in these hectic and stressful times.
    • Are there people in your life who don’t have a home computer, or are still primarily using a landline? They might be feeling extra isolated right now. Give them a call and leave them a message or say hi.
  • Are there people in your life with valuable skills who recently lost their jobs? If you are financially stable for the time being, consider finding something useful for your friends who have been hit harder to do and paying them their normal rate to do it.
    • Have a favorite bartender, massage therapist, or yoga teacher who you are used to seeing every week? Maybe they can give you a remote session.
    • Does your organization or business need to do a quick pivot to adjust to the current situation? Consider hiring people you know with tech skills to make the shift happen quickly, and to keep them employed.
    • Now is the time for spring pruning and landscaping. Consider hiring friends who are suddenly out of the job to help you get ready for the gardening season — weeding, raking, and moving compost or wood chips is easy work that most people can do well. It can be done outside, 6-10 feet apart. And it will help you and them to be more food secure, while also keeping money flowing into their lives.

Remember: We are all in this together. A neighborhood of households that are connected and mutually supportive is better and safer for everyone, no matter your age or income level.

Community is always safer than Isolation. Practice Safe Social Distancing, but create other ways to stay connected with your neighbors and friends. This picture is from the past — obviously, I am not recommending people learn or work together in close quarters at the moment — rather, that we find new ways to build community.