This is the time of the virus, a really tiny thing with such a massive impact, on our lives, bodies and state of mind. Starting in China, it spread all over the world, exploding in Italy, my birth country in February this year. Living in the UK, I did not realise the terrible impact of this storm first, but then my fellow Italians sent me scary videos and I started feeling the terror of it, as well as the worry for my friends and family over there. What could I do that could make me feel safe and sane in the midst of this disruptive tiny thing? As a chemist I m naturally curious so I started finding out as much as possible from fellow scientists, medical doctors and researchers (on the phone and online). So here I share what I found and what makes sense to me, there is no guarantee it works for everybody, but I hope it helps somehow.
How COVID19 spread
This virus is very contagious and it gets passed on mainly in 2 ways:
-via skin contact (with infected people or objects with the virus on)
-via the droplets of saliva of infected people. These droplets come out when we speak, cough or sneeze. This seems at present the most common form of transmission
As a result of this it is super important to take
Precautionary measures to take care of the body and surroundings
-wash your hands frequently to physically remove the virus from your hands (please see the image, move 6 is usually missing in conventional hand washing).
-if you have really sensitive skin you might wish to consider wearing disposable gloves
-do not touch your face
-if you are on the go use a alcohol based hand gel. Do not rely on the word “Sanitising” CHECK the ingredients list to make sure it contains at least 62% alcohol (I have seen products on the market with the claim but no alcohol in it!)
-use a nourishing hand cream at night to protect your skin from all this havoc
-keep a safe distance when you go out (at present the recommended distance is 1 metre in Italy, and 6 feet in the UK)
-take your shoes off when you come home
-steam clean your floors if possible as steam kills the virus. I use a Polti vaporetto
-wearing a suitable mask
….. Feel free to send me suggestions to add to this list
Who are the spreaders and why it is important to keep a safe distance and ideally test
The human body can respond in 3 ways to the virus depending on the immune system:
-the immune system is working fine and there is a response (either mild or ordinary) and symptoms are developed as a result
-the immune system is compromised (because of medications or medical conditions) and can not respond properly leading to serious consequences
-the immune system is different, it does not give an immune response but at the same time the virus is in the lungs without causing any symptoms and yet spreading around. The people with this immune response are called asymptomatic and they are, unwillingly, the most dangerous because they do not show any symptoms. The papers nicknamed them “spreaders”
This uncertainty really drives the need to keep a safe distance and to have tests to spot the spreaders.
What are the Covid19 symptoms?
The average incubation time is 3-5 days, up to 14 days. After this period, given a norma immune response the symptoms are
-A persistent dry cough
What detection tests are available?
And a vaccine?
This is a long marathon as it requires isolating the antibodies of people infected and lots of testing. This will take at least one year.
If you think of having it and A&E
This is so important. If you go to A&E and you have the virus, they will have to quarantine the medical staff that has been in contact with you, meaning they will have less or no personnel to run the hospital and take care of other patients. The same applies to GP and pharmacies. The NHS has a helpline and every country has its own guidelines about what to do in the case of an emergency.
After all this doom and gloom about Covid19, we need to think about our mental and emotional health which is also very important and interlinked with our physical health. The immune system plays a key role on how the body respond to the virus. Its strength is not only dependant on age and general health but also stress levels. Being careful is as important as keeping positive and calm. Here are some helpers:
-dance, good to burn cortisol and reduce stress levels
-laughter, another cortisol burner
-adaptogenic herbs (ashwaganda, rhodiola, passiflora to mention a few)
-meditation and practises that create a peaceful state of mind
-keep in touch with friends and family
-vitamin C, in China they have introduced high doses of Vitamin C in some patients treatments alongside conventional drugs as well as TCH. As there is a shortage of Vitamin C supplements at the moment, the easy alternative is eating kiwi fruit or strawberries as they are high in vitamin C.
-Clay face masks, there is something really calming and grounding about having clay on your face
-Self care with body oils and relaxing baths with relaxing essential oils
New types of heroes
In this virus storm, new types of heroes emerge, not ones with incredible physical strength, but ones with another type of strength:
-the ones giving medical care to the people infected (all doctors, nurses and health practitioners) trying to keep themselves safe too
-the ones helping us to keep functioning and feeling safe while being at home (postmen/postwomen and delivery drivers)
-the people working in supermarkets, shops, food and drug supply chains
-the ones adapting to working from home
-the students that have to postpone their exams or give exams virtually
and many more, including all the cosmetics manufacturers that have now switched to hand gel manufacturing!
The wisdom of the virus
Covid19 is another storm, a global new storm, but still a passing storm. It is leaving devastation behind but also gives us a new perspective and the time to reassess what really matters, to start changing our hierarchy of values and systems that do not serve us ay longer or that are very important to us now. This will bring change which is simply part of the humanity evolutionary process. The Italian expression “sempre avanti”, always forward, is a great mindset to help us embrace the changes ahead.
I also find that this virus is somehow teaching some wisdom about how interconnected we are. It does not matter what colour your skin is, what nationality you have, or how much money you have in the bank, we are not really safe unless everybody is safe.
The British motto “Keep calm and carry on” is also another good one especially if implemented with the word “carefully”
So my mantra in the middle of the Covid19 storm is “Keep calm, carry on carefully, always forward together“.
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