Photo illustration by James Wilde with photos via PixaBay

Happy Thoughts and Hot Liquids Won’t Save Us

A reminder of the few things we know that help prevent the spread of COVID-19

A reminder of the few things we know that help prevent the spread of COVID-19

I received a text from a housemate recently recommending we all drink hot liquids and think happy thoughts to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, happy thoughts and hot liquids won’t save us.

In the midst of a pandemic, it makes sense that people will seek home remedies—they can give you actionable measures to take to try to inoculate yourself against COVID-19. But peddling bunk medicine like a medieval plague doctor only makes things worse.

Random herbs, hot liquids and happy thoughts do nothing against COVID-19 (neither does weed). What can help stop the spread of COVID-19 are these much less sexy things you’ve probably already heard, adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Social distancing. Hang out with yourself for a while. The crushing introspection may seem scary, but who knows, maybe you could learn something about yourself. The CDC gives suggestions on how to cope in this stressful time.
  • Frequent hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Sanitize doorknobs in your home. Sanitize your debit or credit card if you’re grocery shopping. You might even go so far as to ask to scan your own groceries at the checkout stand.
  • Don’t touch your face. According to disease expert Michael Osterholm, the virus behind COVID-19 chills out in the throat and lungs, and it likes to get in your body through your eyes, nose and mouth. Your hands provide an Uber ride for the virus straight into your system.
  • Also, cover your face. The CDC have shifted course and now recommend people cover their face with a cloth mask in public, especially in high-risk areas like grocery stores or pharmacies. If you have a sewing machine, here’s how to make your own mask. If you don’t have a sewing machine, the CDC provides a video on its site on how to make a mask out of any old cloth and a couple rubber bands.
  • Keep your body healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercising all maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Find a new hobby. Don’t allow depression to set in from all the time spent indoors. Netflix is nice, but it’s not a hobby. Try reading, painting, knot-tying or bread-making. Blogger Matt Gilligan compiled a list of 19 inexpensive hobbies for self-quarantining.
  • Connect with your friends and family. Don’t gather with people in person. (No group hugs.) Instead, take advantage of your phone and call up your friends and family. For a more socially stimulating experience, use FaceTime or Zoom to have a video chat. Invite all your pals and make it a virtual party. If you happen to be posted up in a house with a friend, try to hang out with them rather than hiding away in your room.

We have no cure for COVID-19. A vaccine, by all accounts, remains a long way off. If you end up with the coronavirus, we only have treatments that can relieve symptoms as suggested by the Mayo Clinic, like Tylenol, cough syrups, rest and fluid intake.

I’m no stranger to distrusting authority or being suspicious of science—I grew up in Southern Humboldt and wasn’t vaccinated until I was a teenager. But for the sake of yourself and the rest of the world, put your suspicions aside and have a little faith in the only proven measures we know against COVID-19.

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