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Letters to the Editor 

GUEST OPINION: What Else Can We Do to Minimize the Likelihood of Contracting Viral Infections?

Editor's note:

Gov. Brown wasn't kidding when she said that right now, "Days feel like weeks." Just hours after we put our last issue on stands, we got the news no one in Central Oregon wanted to hear: COVID-19 is here in our community.

Shoppers line up outside the Bend Costco Tuesday morning to stock up. Household supplies such as toilet paper remain in short supply on store shelves around Central Oregon. On Monday, Gov. Kate Brown reminded Oregonians to avoid hoarding supplies and to buy only what households need in order to maintain a two-week emergency supply stock at home. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Shoppers line up outside the Bend Costco Tuesday morning to stock up. Household supplies such as toilet paper remain in short supply on store shelves around Central Oregon. On Monday, Gov. Kate Brown reminded Oregonians to avoid hoarding supplies and to buy only what households need in order to maintain a two-week emergency supply stock at home.

It seems like weeks have passed since that announcement, and in the meantime, our website has been the literal "Source" of information for nearly 100,000 unique visitors this week alone. While this week's web coverage has focused on the day-to-day announcements that affect the lives of every Oregonian, we've also been able to connect with countless individuals and organizations to look ahead to the long haul of this global pandemic. That's helping us decide what impactful stories our readers will want to see next. Delivering news that matters is our mission every day of every year, but it's even more important now.

For those not yet connected, consider signing up for the Cascade Reader to get our news delivered to your inbox every morning:

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And for those who want to see local, locally owned news continue to thrive, I also invite you to sign up for our Insider program:

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These are challenging times that cause us all to dig deep, and we're committed to keep digging, as long as it takes...

GUEST OPINION

What Else Can We Do to Minimize the Likelihood of Contracting Viral Infections?

As concerns of COVID-19 increase in intensity, schools and businesses close, and events and gatherings are canceled, many of us are wondering what else we can do. While these measures do mean compromise in our daily lives, I applaud the swiftness with which our public officials have taken action. Strong preventive measures of this kind have the potential to minimize further spread of coronavirus.

In addition to these measures and the crucial CDC guidelines (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) for personal hygiene and social distancing, additional steps to support our overall level of wellness are worth consideration. While there is not a vaccine or COVID-19-specific treatment, there are additional proactive approaches to support our bodies' innate response to infections in general.

The three elements always involved in infection are environment, the pathogen and the host. The public health guidelines we are focused on primarily address the environment and the pathogen (coronavirus), while the host (you and me) are also worth further consideration. Are there ways that we can further support our individual health that might make us less susceptible hosts?

Studies and research suggest there are. There are dietary considerations, vitamin and herbal considerations, and basic self-care measures that can offer your body meaningful support. Below are just a few of those options. Consider the following and discuss with your health care provider if it makes sense to take further action. Please understand, these are not recommendations for treating or preventing COVID-19 infection specifically.

• Have your Vitamin D levels tested. This is the time of year we can expect levels of this important vitamin to have fallen. Adequate levels of Vitamin D have been shown to support the immune system's anti-viral response to other viruses. Living in Central Oregon, most people are not going to achieve optimal Vitamin D levels without supplementation. Talk to your health care provider about dosing.

• Vitamin C:  Oral supplementation of Vit C can support the body's anti-viral capacity generally.

• Immune supportive and anti-viral herbs. Medicinal herbs that have demonstrated general anti-viral activity: Elderberry, Osha, Goldenseal, Astragalus, Lemon balm, Lomatium, Licorice root, Hyssop, Echinacea. Talk with your holistically minded physician to determine a formulation best for you. 

• Probiotics: Research has shown that the microbial landscape of our gut has a big impact on our immune systems. Fermented foods and probiotic supplements are an important way to support the gut, and the body's overall immune response.

• Diet: Eating foods that are wholesome, nutritive, and minimally processed will support your body's ability to fight infections. Think garlic, shitake mushrooms, root veggies, bone broth and stews. Minimize refined sugars, and drink plenty of water throughout the day, while avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol.

• Mental and Emotional: Stress equates to high cortisol levels, a potent inhibitor of the immune response. It's true: Excessive stress and fear about viral infections will in no way help your body avoid one! Make time for activities that bring a sense of calm within yourself.

• Sleep: The value of getting sufficient sleep and starting your day rested cannot be overstated. This is an especially good time to take exceptionally good care of yourself.

• A Note on Fever:  If you do get sick and develop a fever, avoid the temptation to take something to suppress it.  Fever is an intelligent response of the body, and is perfectly safe between 100 -103 degrees F.  The body is more efficient at fighting infections at higher temperatures.

—Joshua Phillips, ND is a naturopathic physician and the director of Hawthorn Healing Arts Center in Bend.

Please understand this article is in no way a substitute for medical advice and is shared for informational purposes only. Consult your physician before beginning any new supplements or treatments, and see the online version of this story at bendsource.com for research citations.

Virus panic

This is not the time to play the "blame game" nor to complacently pretend there is no danger. This is a rare opportunity for all of us to rise above our petty partisan political differences, discard conspiracy theories, abandon ad hominem abuse and act as global friends & neighbors, to pool and preserve resources, to stay safe and protect our health and to finally unite fully in humanity as most of us never have before and learn from the history of The Greatest Generation; particularly the English & Winston Churchill and make this "our finest hour."

—William H. Hause

Thank You

With all of the deserved gratitude and attention being shown to our heroic first responders and dedicated healthcare workers, I'd like to add a big thank you to the employees of all of our grocery stores who worked endlessly and tirelessly to stock shelves, answer questions, and check out customers—all without the protective measures (except maybe some hand sanitizer) that are available to our front line responders. And with smiles! You lightened our loads as we loaded up with groceries and supplies. A shout out also to the food suppliers. Much gratitude to everyone! 

—Linda Wilken

Letter of the Week:

Linda: Thanks for your uplifting message to those working so hard out there, while some of us work from home. Your gift card to Palate will be ready for your pick-up once our state leaders tell us that physical distancing is no longer needed! William, your letter also said what needs to be said. Thanks!

—Nicole Vulcan

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