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Help Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus (and other infections, too!)

A scare, like the thought of contacting an illness, especially one that is spreading fast, can be stressful. Outside of the typical recommendations like wash your hands often and stay away from those who are sick, there is a lot more you can do. As a Naturopathic Doctor whose focus is mainly on prevention, I have learned a lot of helpful natural remedies and lifestyle changes that you can do to help prevent sickness and stress in yourself and in your family. Here are some of my recommended tips to help keep your immune system in prime form to help combat any virus that may come your way:

  1. Take Immune Boosting Herbs – Start getting some good immune boosting herbs into your body. Astragalus, Echinacea, Reishi mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms, and Schizandra are some of my top choices.  I incorporate these herbs into my household’s diet through soups, stews, smoothies and tinctures. I recommend these to patients quite often who have weakened immune systems: those who get sick often, those who suffer from autoimmune diseases or cancers, or to people who are often exposed to germs (teachers, health care providers, etc.).  You can purchase many of these herbs either whole, powered, in liquid form (tinctures), or in pill form at most health food stores.

  2. Use Antimicrobials – Have some antimicrobials on hand. Antimicrobials have the ability to help the body destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria and viruses.  Some of the most common antimicrobials are echinacea, goldenseal, garlic, and thyme. During flu seasons, before travel, or after coming in contact with someone who is sick, these herbs can be used to help fight off bugs that you have come in contact with. Note that these are not meant to be taken long term. You can take them at the first sign of illness or preventatively, as needed.

  3. Take Vitamins and Minerals – If you are trying to avoid getting sick, some of the most helpful vitamins and minerals are Vit C, Vit D and Zinc – all of which play a vital roll in immune system regulation. Although you can get these from foods, which is best, I recommend an increased dose when you want to help fight off any virus or bacteria you encounter. Remember to take these with food as they are best absorbed that way.  

  4. Try to Reduce Stress – Stress had been shown to reduce the immune system’s response.  Taking the time to slow down daily can give your body the chance to recuperate and focus on healing. For example, deep belly breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga are all beneficial. To help reduce the damage stress can have on the body, I also recommend herbs like Ginseng or Ashwagandha in combination with a multi-B vitamin as B vitamins tend to be low in people who have too much stress.  

  5. Eat a Healthy Diet – Everyone knows that a healthy diet can help keep your body strong. Increasing the amount of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruits can help keep the body strong. Avoiding sugar, which can reduce the immune system’s response for almost 2 hours, is a great way to start.

  6. Get Proper Rest – Ensure you get a proper night’s rest (7-9 hours); this can do wonders for your body, including your immune system. Make sure your room is dark (use black-out blinds), make sure all electronics are at least 3 feet away from your head, and go to bed at the same time each night.

It is important to remember that there is no way to completely avoid the coronavirus, there is no vaccine or magic pill that can stop it in its path and if you feel that you may have the virus you must seek medical attention. The good news is that by incorporating some of the tips above into your lifestyle, you can help make your body stronger. A stronger, healthier body is less likely to fall sick, or will be sick for a shorter period of time, and can help you and your loved ones have a better chance of fighting off sickness that may come your way.


Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya O’Brien, ND

For specific recommendations or for further details you can book an appointment with me, Dr. Tanya O'Brien, ND, at Alternatively, you can reach out to a local ND by searching FIND MY ND at

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