March 3, 2020Diet and Your Skin

Your BIOME Can Help To Protect You: Facing Coronavirus

It’s easy to feel powerless when we are receiving news about the spread of coronavirus in our communities and the best defense we currently have is to wash our hands and avoid contact with people who are displaying respiratory symptoms.

One of the ways that I am coping with this information and empowering myself and my family is by focusing on bolstering the health and strength of my body’s own defense mechanisms – my microbiome and immune system.

Here are my five practical tips grounded in our microbiome health:

(1) Washing your skin raw and slathering it with sanitizer is going to compromise your healthy skin barrier, leaving you more vulnerable to pathogens and infection. Whenever possible, use gentle, milky soap – not antibacterial soap which is no more effective and can potentially mess with your hormones (endocrine disruption) and might even lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria or superbugs. Hydrate your skin immediately after you wash with a gentle, hydrating moisturizer. I would opt for unscented formulas at this time because they are typically less irritating and given the frequency of the washing, this will help to seal your skin’s barrier and optimize healing.

(2) Optimize your body’s natural defense mechanisms by eating probiotic rich foods, dialing down unnecessary stress, focusing on sleep hygiene, supplementing with Vitamin C, and working out to keep your body as strong and healthy as possible. The majority of cases of this illness so far appear to be somewhat mild in individuals with healthy immune systems, so focus on strengthening your body as much as possible. I share so many recipes and recommendations in Dirty Looks and on my Instagram page.

(3) Clean your phone – and put it away in public places when possible. Touching your phone and touching your face is one way to spread germs like wildfire. Our fingertips touch so many surfaces and then we touch our phones and our mouths without thinking twice.

(4) Kiss your children on their forehead or cheek. I know so many of my friends and family members love to kiss their little ones on their tiny lips but during this period of uncertainty, I would consider hugging and opting to kiss foreheads, especially if you are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms.

(5) Take action in your daily life to prepare for the possibility of more time at home. For example, stock up on healthy options to cook at home, sort through your children’s favorite books, games and puzzles – take the opportunity to focus on your loved ones and your own body and use that positive energy as fuel to block out the panic and hysteria that will only compromise your body’s ability to fight anything that comes your way!

Dr. Whitney