Back to School During COVID-19
If your kids are going back to school, September might get stressful. To generalize, stress is bad for the immune system, my allergies have started like clockwork, and flu season is around the corner.
Today, you’ll get the bird’s eye view of keeping you and your family safe and sane until New Years.
At the front door, in the car, on your person, and in everyones’ bags.
There’s no need to go overboard like this gentleman.
Streamlining the disinfection process increases the odds of actually going through the motions before getting the “my hands are dirty” feeling.
And this does more than protect you from bugs, bacteria, and viruses – there’s peace of mind in doing all we reasonably can.
Though “reasonable” is different for everyone. If you live with an elder, you may want more method checkpoints.
Know the facts
You may not have an EIS machine at home, but if you can read the signs, you’re already prepared.
Keep in mind, both allergy and flu season are around the corner, and the pandemic is marked by flu-like symptoms.
Let’s get the common signs out of the way: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, cold sweats, runny nose, achy body, fatigue, and, if you need some peppermint tea, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While both diseases have these similar symptoms, there are some novel, easy-to-spot differences:
- New loss of taste and/or smell unrelated to a stuffy nose;
- Bluish lips or face;
- Trouble breathing;
- Persistent pressure/pain in the chest;
- New confusion;
- Inability to wake or stay awake.
If you haven’t already, download the Canada COVID exposure app (we looked into it, and no, they don’t track your GPS data). The serial interval (the time between an infector showing symptoms and an infectee showing symptoms) for COVID-19 is estimated to be 5-6 days. For the flu, the serial interval is 3 days.
With the app, you can cross-reference notifications with the time interval of symptoms and your out-and-about data.
Teach your kids the facts
What you’ll want to do here depends on the age of your kids. If they’re under the age of zero or old enough to live on their own, then you can skip this part.
For too young for school, keep doing what you’ve been doing. You’ve got this ❤️
For all other ages, equip them with a reusable cloth mask. They’re more sustainable, affordable, and hygienic than surgical masks.
For kindergarten to grade 8
Practice putting on a mask every time you leave home and get them comfortable wearing it for longer times. Identify environments for them to be mindful of wearing masks, like recess and gym class. Normalize the experience of wearing a mask whenever they socialize by letting them see you do the same thing.
Grade 9 to 12 and undergrads
Know their style and get them a cloth mask to match. Teenagers are tricky. If they don’t want to do something, they won’t, and stapling a mask to their cheeks won’t work.
If the undergrad lives with you, apply the same techniques as you would with a twelfth grader: “wear a mask and don’t touch your face.” If they live elsewhere, forward them this email and make sure they have their own cloth mask.
And for all ages, encourage safe socializing! It’s an important part of childhood (and all stages of life) and it can be done safely.
All other precautions have stayed the same:
Wear a mask
Keep six feet of distance in social spaces
Keep your hands away from your face until you get a chance to wash or sanitize after touching commonly used surfaces.
Audit your health habits
The immune system is our firewall, and it protects our organism from outside invaders.
Everything about us – thoughts, emotions, gut flora, genetics – affects its strength. Metrics like hormone levels, BMI, and neurotransmitters are the spyglass into your health. For just this purpose, we now offer several new tests, like the microbiome
GI-MAP and the hormone Dutch Test.
There’s still time to get up-to-date with the state of your organism now, so you’re prepared for the coming months. If I haven’t seen you in a while, it’s a good time to audit your inner ecosystem.
Whether or not you’re a worrier, and whether or not you’d like my help, now’s the right time to establish and raise your baseline health – to reinforce your firewall in the face of life.
Because our bodies dictate how we feel physiologically and emotionally, and both those experiences play off each other. Health can be worrying, and worrying is bad for your health. This isn’t the year to take chances.
When there’s only so much we can do about the world outside our heads, anxiety can only be treated from within.
Here’s the short version of a breathing exercise from the Berkeley Well-Being Institute that you can do, even if only for five or ten minutes.
- Find a quiet place and sit down with your back straight in a comfortable pose.
- Once you are done moving, scratching your nose, or readjusting your legs, note your mindstate.
- Start with slow, deep inhalations through your nose, followed by extended, controlled and even exhalations.
- Once your breathing becomes rhythmic, and your mind attends to each breath, start counting with each exhale.
- Encourage stress to release by surrendering to it, experiencing it fully, and passing it out of your body through your breath.
- Take 20-30 minutes and count your breaths to 50.
Whether or not you have the luxury of not thinking about a mini-you, continue staying safe, monitoring your health, and improving your quality of life.
And treat yourself to these flavourful recipes!