The novel coronavirus—now being called COVID-19—has already killed 3,200 people (mostly in China) and has infected over 94,000 people worldwide. In the U.S. at least 11 people have died from the virus and about 130 have been infected. In the wake of the rising numbers, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and several other U.S. cities have declared a health emergency.

Sounds terrifying, right?

Everyone is looking for ways to reduce their risk of developing COVID-19, but with all the hand-wringing about the outbreak, there’s one thing the media is neglecting. Did you know that having a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, weakens the immune system, decreases your ability to fight off illnesses and makes you more vulnerable to common colds, flu, and other viruses?

The connection between psychological well-being and physical health is real and experts call it “psychoneuroimmunology.” What are the mechanisms behind it?  Research shows that depression ramps up the production of proinflammatory cytokines while compromising immune response. Anxiety and stress can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which increases cortisol levels and alters immune system responses. And other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, have long been associated with immune system dysfunction.

Seeking treatment for mental health issues is a critical step in shoring up the immune system. Here are 10 additional recommendations to strengthen your body’s ability to fend off viruses.

10 Ways to Boost Immunity


Staying adequately hydrated is critical for fending off viruses. Water oxygenates your brain and body so they can function at optimal levels. When your cells are operating at full capacity, they are better able to perform their primary functions. And when your brain is well-hydrated it helps you handle stress more effectively and allows you to make better decisions to help minimize your exposure to illness. For proper hydration, drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day.


Excessive drinking disrupts immune pathways and, according to a 2015 review of alcohol and the immune system, increases susceptibility to pneumonia and other illnesses. Chronic alcohol abuse also reduces the number of virus-fighting T-cells in the body, which lowers your ability to keep illnesses at bay. And a study in the journal Alcohol found that a single episode of binge drinking significantly disrupts the immune system.


Mom was right when she told you to get quality rest to avoid getting sick. A 2015 trial in the journal Sleep found that compared to people who sleep more than 7 hours a night, those who get only 6 hours or less of shut-eye are 4 times more likely to catch a cold after being exposed to the virus. Other research shows that chronic sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system. Be sure to seek help for sleep disorders, aim for 7-8 hours a night, and stick to an evening routine that encourages relaxation and restful sleep.


2014 study shows that probiotics support gut health and boost the immune system, which can help you fight off viruses. Include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or kimchi in your daily diet for added immunity support.


Increase your intake of colorful fruits and vegetables. These antioxidant-rich foods have anti-viral properties that act as an army against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.


The unique and diverse compounds in these fungi, not found in other plants, have been found to have immune-enhancing effects.Eat and cook with mushrooms and consider taking them as supplements. Among the most researched therapeutic mushrooms are Lion’s mane, shiitake, reishi, and cordyceps.


Consuming garlic can increase the number of T-cells—the body’s natural virus fighters—in the bloodstream. Findings from a 2012 study in Clinical Nutrition show that taking aged garlic extract minimizes cold and flu symptoms and shortens the duration of viral illnesses.


Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is actually a hormone that should be called the “immunity vitamin” thanks to its positive effects on the immune system. A 2009 report analyzed vitamin D levels in American adults and found that over 75% had low levels of this important vitamin. Get your levels checked and optimize them if necessary.


This potent nutrient supports the immune system and helps your body defend itself from invading viruses and bacteria. Fuel up on zinc-rich foods like beef, oysters, lamb, asparagus, spinach, and pumpkin seed and consider taking zinc supplements.


Doing moderate exercise on a regular basis has been scientifically proven to enhance the immune system and reduce the risk of illness. It appears that even a single workout can give the immune system a boost. Going overboard with highly intense exercise, however, may have a negative effect on your ability to fight off viruses. A healthy approach is to walk fast—like you’re late for an appointment—for at least 30 minutes a day.

Source: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/how-mental-health-affects-your-risk-for-coronavirus/


Dr. James A. Robb is an American pathologist and molecular virologist.  I am passing along his info concerning the coronavirus.  Please share it with friends and family.

“Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.
The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.
Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:
1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
6) 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.
7) 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 an infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
In preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:
1) Use Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity which brings you in contact with contaminated areas.
Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect 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. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.
2) Disposable surgical masks can prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
3) Hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves ( in the appropriate sizes for your family) must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.
4) Zinc lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx.
I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email.”

-James Robb, MD

Copyright 2016 - Dr. Maggie Mauer. Developed by Active Mill