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Today I want to talk about viruses because it seems to be a big bad year for that with Coronavirus going around the world really has some people shaken up and two different types of the flu that apparently are going through this year. So I thought this was a good time to have this conversation.
If you've been a listener of the podcast for any time at all, you probably know that I'd moved to Bocas Del Toro, Panama and I now call this home. We've been here just over a year, well in bogus where I live. There's a very social expat community, most of whom are my age or older and it's fairly common for us to meet up with friends for dinner and be joined by new friends. As you can imagine when they find out that I'm a podcast host and a health coach the questions on health and fitness start and the stark reality of the aging curve hits me again and again. The weight gain, the aches and pains, the chronic diseases for most of us getting older sucks but it doesn't have to. If you're ready to make a change, it's time for you to join. 40 plus fitness online group training.
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So today I want to talk about viruses because it seems to be a big bad year for that with Coronavirus going around the world really has some people shaken up and two different types of the flu that apparently are going through this year. So I thought this was a good time to have this conversation. Maybe even a little late. I probably had a push doing shows like this more towards November. But it, it has been a particularly bad year. So I wanted to talk about this, but before I get into it, I do want to put out that disclaimer. I am not a doctor. What we're talking about here is not medical advice. It's merely educational and entertaining, hopefully. So you can understand different ways to take care of yourself. Most of the things that I'm talking about here are probably things you actually already know, but it's just a good reminder to have this out there.
As I mentioned, there've been quite a few outbreaks this year and most of them have been viruses that are spread through the contact with the virus and then contact with your mouth or your eyes. Okay. And it's typically with our hands. So we're grabbing something, we're touching something, we're shaking someone's hand. Cause I think that's why the fist bump has become a lot more popular lately. So we're trying to save ourselves there, but just recognize that it typically means that something's coming contact with our hands. And then we've touched our face or our eyes in particular to spread this disease. So the first answer for dealing with or avoiding the dividers is have good hand hygiene. You know, you should be washing your hands regularly with soap and warm soap and water, warm water and soap and, and just basically making sure you get a good, good wash of your hands.
Too often we don't take the time to wash our hands regularly but during this time when you know, these viruses are around, this is the time of year to really, really focus on keeping your hands clean and keeping them out of harm's way. I also am a big believer during this season of hand sanitizer. Again, anything else that's going to keep your hands clean is going to help. I'll tell you a story. I was actually in Hong Kong when the SARS virus came out and it was interesting because one of the guys I was traveling to Hong Kong with, he was from Singapore. He was really, really terrified of the SARS virus. He did not want to go to Hong Kong. But you know, we had to go for this business trip. So we get there and the disease at the time was somewhat consolidated in an area called Calloun.
And you know, we were, we were not near Calhoun when we went for the visit. But then one ladies that was working there was really excited because she had found this great restaurant that she wanted to show us and it happened to be in Calhoun. So we actually took the subway to Calhoun. And in an Asian subway personal space is not a thing. They press up against you crowded really like startings and these in these cars, it's really kinda crazy. I'm a bit of an introvert, so when I've got tons of people around me like that, it's a, it's a little disconcerting, but I put my hands in my pocket so I wasn't touching the surfaces. Rode the subway over, had a nice dinner and rode the subway back. No problem. Again, it's really all about keeping your hands clean and keeping them away from your face.
You know, I see people wearing masks and, and that can be good if you're especially susceptible to disease, which as we get older, our immune system gets a little weaker. As we are young babies, obviously immune systems are what they are. They haven't gotten enough things to really be immune to anything. So there are times when you might want to take extra precautions. Wear gloves wear masks. But for the most part, you could still touch your eyes. It's really in my mind, keep your hands clean. If your hands are clean, you're very, you're less likely to spread this disease to yourself. The second is to manage your immunity. Now most years flu shots are a gas and then the other, they're doing a substance of, they're trying to figure out what the virus is going to look like this particular year.
They're trying to find a way to help us get through this season. So a lot of times these are hit or miss. But obviously, if you know you're going to be around people with impaired immune systems or you're going to be exposed particularly a lot then it's probably a good idea to go ahead and get one. But there are other things that you can do to help support your own immunity. The first one I'm gonna talk about is nutrition. If you're not eating good nutrition, whole food nutrition you're not giving your gut what it needs to keep you healthy. The gut contains most of our immune system, obviously not when we're talking about these types of viruses, but making sure that you're getting good nutritious food is going to support your immune system and make sure that you're in the best shape you can be.
Because a lot of times we're probably exposed to these viruses and we just don't get them because our immune system fights them off. A lot of these others, you know, now can say we won't get a disease won't get one of these viruses. But just recognizing that the stronger your immune system is, the better off you are. And diet is a big, big part of that. Exercise is also a very, very big part of keeping a strong immune system. Now the first thing to recognize is also that stress exercise is a stressor. So if you're putting your body through excessive exercise, you may actually be weakening your immune system. So this is probably not the time to be in the gym for hours working on a treadmill, just killing yourself. But recognizing that if you go through the process of exercising and keeping your body healthy that's going to help your immune system.
And then finally anything you can do to reduce stress. Anything we do that stresses ourselves the adrenals, everything that's going on in our bodies that is suppressing our immune system. Predominantly because right there when you're running from the bear, the stress you're not, your body's not worried about fighting other defenders away. It's worried about the Bayer. So your immune system gets suppressed when you're highly stressed. So anything you can do for stress reduction is going to help you. You help your immune system remains strong. So kind of recapping the immune system part, you know, diet, exercise and stress management and just getting good rest are all going to be very, very important to make sure that you're as healthy as you possibly can, which is a good way of supporting your immunity. All that set all the precautions we can do.
Obviously people are going to come to work with these diseases. In some cases they won't even necessarily know they have them depending on incubation period and the infection period of a particular virus. But if you happen to get sick my advice is to stay at home, manage your illness, get well, and then get on with your life. You know, this is a point where you want to go to the gym but just, just don't. You know, there's all these talks about you can work out and yes, you probably can work out but you're at the gym, you're touching things and you're, you're sneezing or you're coughing and therefore you're spreading this other people coming into the gym, you know, they're, they're likely to get it. And so you just are basically spreading it to everybody else. I know a lot of times workplaces won't less necessarily let you skip work, but trying to stay away from people trying to let this, this period of infection go away will allow you to deal with the virus.
And in fact, dealing with this virus needs to be your number one priority at this point in time, not your PR lift or this other thing you want to try to do with your health and fitness. Getting well from this virus is your priority at that point in time. Also listen to your body. I did have a friend when the H1N virus (I think is what it was called) came out. And he was just 30 years old. He got it and he actually passed away because he stayed home and got sicker and sicker. And by the time he went to the doctor, he was already facing some significant organ failure problems. And so recognizing that if you're not getting better over the course of a few days you need to go seek medical attention. They can, they need to help support your body during that period of time while your body's fighting the virus, but just listen to your body and try to stay away from people and get through this period of time.
Now if someone else in your household ends up with the flu or with one of these viruses you need to change your lifestyle. You know, well, my wife gets ill. I don't sleep in the bed with her when I get ill, I don't sleep in the bed with her. We go to different bedrooms and or I'll sleep in the living room if I need to stay away from people so that I'm not getting them infected. There's a particular period of time when I'm going to be infectious where she can get this virus and I don't want to get that or she has it that I could get this virus. So we change up our lifestyle a little bit for a few days until this period's over. And at that point practice very detailed hygiene issues where I'm washing my hands regularly, I'm using the hand sanitizer.
If I have to carry soup into her, I carry the soup in, I grab her other stuff out. Anytime I'm doing that, as soon as I get through, I'm washing my hands, I'm cleaning my hands with the hand sanitizer and just making sure that I'm, I'm really doubling down on my hygiene practices. So those are kind of some of the core things. Just understanding how these viruses are spread. They can, you know, viruses can live on surfaces for a good long period of time from hours to days depending on the virus. So understanding how these viruses are spread and it's typically going to be through your hands and touching other surfaces where the viruses are at. The harder the surface, the more likely it is to have a contact of a virus. So again, washing your hands, good hygiene practices are going to be kind of your first line of defense.
Managing and having a strong immunity is going to help if you're getting good nutrition getting proper exercise, dealing with stress and getting proper rest you're giving your body the best chance to fight these infections. And then again, recognizing where the disease as, if it's happening to you, trying to avoid spreading it. The more people you spread it to, the more they're likely to spread it to others. And then also if you know someone who has it just kinda managing your lifestyle, managing your hygiene during that period of time so that again, you're not getting it. So I hope this has been helpful. Again, I am not a doctor and I really was just sharing some of this information because I know it's kinda top of mind as we have the coronavirus and the flus out there. As, as we go through and go forward, I'm sure you know, the learn more about these viruses and hopefully, they'll be able to do some things to keep it from spreading. Much further, but it's really gonna come down to what you do for yourself. That's gonna make the most difference in your life. So I do hope you found this helpful.
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