It appears SARS-CoV-2 is spread via the virus entering your mucous membranes, so protecting your MEN (mouth, eyes, and nose) is a critical component of preventing both infection and transmission. The virus spreads via droplets inhaled into our mouths and noses, so let’s learn how to protect and flush that stuff out by following these simple steps using both modern and 5,000 year old techniques of Āyurveda.
We are learning more about SARS-CoV-2 every day and while it can feel overwhelming and intense, the BEST thing you can do for yourself and others is to remain cool, calm, and collected. Your daily routine plays a huge role in supporting stress and immunity so please take this time to make your body happy through some critical wellness practices that you should be done all the time, not just when there is a fear of getting sick going around.
That being said, I have also compiled some extra steps you can take to keep your mouth, eyes, and nose well protected! Why do we care about that?
Most of us breathe through our noses, so protecting and cleansing your nasal membranes is an important part of staying disease free. Remember that SARS-CoV-2 is spread by inhaling droplets that contain the virus from people sneezing or touching infected surfaces and then our faces. Cue these two ancient practices to help save the day!
PLEASE NOTE YOU SHOULD NOT OIL YOUR NOSE IMMEDIATELY AFTER NETI AS THIS WILL TRAP WATER WHICH IS NOT GOOD. Nasya should only be done when your nasal passages are dry. Neti can be done anytime.
This ancient practice involves the use of saline water to rinse the nasal passages and is a good ritual for coming home after being out in potential transmission zones. Don’t have a neti pot? A saline spray is also helpful, but the best thing is to get a neti pot or try to fashion your own. Salt water is an inhospitable environment for viruses and bacteria, not to mention that rinsing the nose with a neti pot will expel anything that may have snuck in while you weren’t looking including dust and dirt. It’s also a great practice to do at night all the time for all of the aforementioned reasons and is an easy addition to your regular Āyurvedic routine.
Nasya is the word for medicated nose oil. What the hell is that? It is a specialized oil used in the nasal passages. Why is this useful? Putting oil in your nose provides an extra barrier to the membranes of your nasal passages and may slow the contact of undesirables like viruses, bacteria, and dirt from reaching your mucous membranes!
An easy way to take advantage of this is by dipping your finger into ghee or sesame oil then swabbing the inside of your nostrils. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to lightly coat the inside of your nose. Do not double dip as this will cross-contaminate the oil or ghee and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after. This is completely safe and can be done daily in the mornings or right before you go out to give extra protection to your nasal membranes. It is also a nice thing to do if you live in a dry climate.
How can you protect your mouth from the virus? Number one, no mouth breathing! Keep your mouth shut for Pete’s sake😂! Number two, sip on warm, non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day. Coffee is no bueno as it is acidic and increases anxiety, so put that down and sip on some tulsi, hot water, or chamomile tea instead. It is thought that taking a sip of warm water every 15 minutes will flush any potential invaders into the stomach where they are neutralized.
Gargling with salt water is also really helpful and can be done when you get home from going out or if you feel a sore throat coming on. Oil pulling with coconut is another great addition to your mouth care routine as it is thought to have antimicrobial properties.
While the data on COVID transmission through the eyes is minimal at best, there are some steps you can take if you would like to add extra protection. One is to wear glasses when you go out. No prescription? No problem? There are lots of prescription free lenses used in blue blocking or fashion glasses. If you are extra worried, you can always flush your eyes when coming home using a saline solution for the eyes. Other than that I think your eyes will be just fine!
In Āyurveda we often recommend applying oil to eyes at night to help improve dryness, redness, and inflammation, such as putting a drop or two of castor oil or ghee into the eyes before bed. However this is not an effective method for protecting your eyes in public because it clouds your vision thus is not safe if you are driving or need to see clearly. Medicated rinses are also used but not necessary in this case.
Of course washing your hands, staying home as much as you can, and being a loving force in the world are all important aspects of what we are being called to do. So don’t overthink things, take daily walks in nature, and see how you can contribute to vulnerable populations in your community.
And a HUGE SHOUTOUT to those people who are keeping us fed right now. Thank you so much.
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