Between national media presentations, community news, and panicked neighbors, it is easy to get swept away in fear from the coronavirus. Behavior and decisions that come out of reactive fear are never wise or thoughtful, and can even be destructive. This was seen in our local grocery store that had its entire hand sanitizer unit, located in the front of the store, stolen along with all the toilet paper in its bathrooms. Fear is seen in hoarding food and sanitizing products, driving aggressively, and quick tempers.
Here is a quote from David Spangler: “We believe that our greatest threat is fear, the fear that turns us away from each other or against each other.” Whatever physical or social actions we need to take to insure moving successfully through this challenge, we should do so as acts of love and mutual caring, not as acts of fear. For example, we can be “socially distant” as an act of love and caring for those who share the world with us; a way to say, “I will protect you by keeping my distance for now, knowing that with love, there is no distance.” Just on a practical level, it’s been shown that fear weakens our immune system and makes us more vulnerable to illness.”
I am not diminishing the need for caution and preventative measures while this strain of flu is prevalent. And fear can be helpful if we embrace it as a teacher, so it informs our actions instead of controlling them. It helps if we take time to carefully consider our options instead of hastily jumping into the heat of the moment. Accurate information based on facts is needed, so educating ourselves is essential.
Recently I received a handout from a trusted doctor who was giving them to as many people as she could, so, in the theme of educating, I pass this on to you. It comes from the work of Dr. James Robb, MD, FCAP, who first began studying the coronavirus in the 1970s: focusing on the genes it contains, their behavior, and its transmission. From his long history of studying this virus comes these recommendations:
- NO HANDSHAKING! Use the fist bump, a slight bow, an elbow bump, etc.
- Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Lift gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or disposable glove.
- As much as possible open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand. This is especially important on bathroom, post office, or commercial doors.
- Use disinfectant wipes at stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seats in grocery stores.
- Wash your hands with soap 10 – 20 seconds and/or use greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
- Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
Here is what he recommends having on hand at home.
- Latex or nitrite latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with potentially contaminated areas.
- Surgical masks to prevent you from touching your nose or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth area 90 times a day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can affect you – it is lung specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose and mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose and mouth.
- Hand sanitizer that is greater than 60% alcohol-based.
- Zinc lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking corona virus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed when you begin to feel any cold like symptoms. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available – there are others.
Dr. Robb further writes, “This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means the air will not affect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. The virus only has cell receptors for lung cells. The only way the virus can infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.”
Things are happening right now that are out of our control, so instead of incessant thinking, which can lead to panic, let’s release the illusion of control and focus on what matters. This is a time for tough decisions because everything we do affects everyone else. What matters is keeping ourselves well informed while we respect the needs of others as much as our own. What matters is keeping in touch with positive people who will join us in focusing on gratitude for all those who are trying to help us. What’s important is encouraging words and supportive friendship.
Let’s reach out to each other with love and kindness, and remind each other to breathe deeply and slowly. Here is a suggestion form Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now: “Become an alchemist. Transmute base metal into gold, suffering into consciousness, disaster into enlightenment. Even in the seemingly most unacceptable and painful situation is concealed a deeper good, and within every disaster is contained the seed of grace.” Let’s find that deeper good and share our love even though it’s from a distance.
May peace and grace be with us all as we love and support each other through this present challenge.
Until Next Time – Sylvia