Coronavirus: An Expanded Look at Protecting Yourself

Whether you are high risk or not, there are ways to build your immune system and protect yourself from the coronavirus. In this article, I will also discuss ways that should help you avoid contaminating others.

If you find any of this information overwhelming, don’t worry about it. Obsessing and getting overly worried can be more detrimental than doing everything just right. That said, there is no “just right.” All any of us can do, is the best we can do. And that is good enough!

The biggest danger of the coronavirus, for those of high risk, is how quickly it can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is actually what people are dying from, not the virus itself. Keeping the lungs free from phlegm and in good condition is essential at this time. Dairy and other damp foods (see my previous articles at create mucus and phlegm in the body.

Acupuncturists are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Chinese herbal formulas excel at resolving specific types of phlegm in specific locations in the body. If you are experiencing a productive or unproductive cough with colored or clear phlegm in the lungs, bronchi or throat, or inflammation in the lungs or sinuses, call me or your favorite Acupuncturist for a phone consultation. There are herbs to resolve the these problems before they get worse. There are also TCM herbal formulas for viruses and allergies that resolve phlegm and minimize the chances of complications.

If your immune and digestive systems are strong and you are healthy, the coronavirus should not be a threat to you. Even if you catch the virus, your immune system should overcome it with few or no symptoms. However, you could still carry it to elderly or ill relatives, neighbors, or friends, in it’s active phase. People you are in close contact with, such as those in line at the grocery store, might be at risk from their exposure to you.

Viruses must have a host to grow and thrive. Once inside your body, if your natural defenses are depleted, viruses or other pathogens can proliferate. They travel from host to host, usually encapsulated in mucus. Talking, sneezing, laughing, and coughing spread the virus. These tiny, virus packed globules of mucus can hang in the air up to 12 hours according to some sources.

It is easy to cough on your hands or your sleeve and not even think about it. You may then touch your clothes or other surfaces, spreading the germs. Touching your face is another way to transfer mucous. Even coughing or sneezing into a tissue or handkerchief is not foolproof. Wash your hands afterwards if you cough, sneeze or touch your face.

When people walk through areas where minuscule globs of mucus are floating in the air, they may get it on their clothes, inhale it, get it in their eyes or on their faces. Shaking hands or hugging people is not a good idea for now, as this can also transfer viruses on the hands or clothes.

I recently saw two women in a store laughingly touching elbows. Unfortunately, even this sort of contact may transfer germs.

If you, or anyone you live with, is high risk then wash your clothes, shower, and wash your hair when you get back from the grocery, or any other crowded area.

We’ve all heard how important washing your hands is. (Run through the birthday song twice, as you are hand washing.) What you don’t hear much about, is how important it is to dry them. Viruses and bacteria need a wet or moist surface to survive until they can enter a new host: a person, or animal, through their mouth, nose or eyes. So drying your hands, your dishes, and your vegetables after you bring them home from the market, is just as important as washing them. If viruses or bacteria dry out, they die.

Find extra places to dry out your towels, so you can switch them back and forth. This way, you always have a dry one to use.

Keeping your nails short and very clean is an essential part of keeping your hands clean. Beneath your nails is the perfect place to harbor viruses and other pathogens. If you have long nails, use a little brush or other implement to clean under them throughly throughout the day.

If you want to stay healthy, you need to eat vegetables. While most of us are attempting to avoid crowds at this time, we still need to go out for groceries or other essentials. When I go to the store I put on disposable latex gloves. (Available at drug stores or on line.) Organic frozen vegetables are a great idea, but lately stores have been sold out of them. Vegetables in the produce section are kept moist to keep them fresh. This is a perfect way to keep viruses viable, once produce is handled by a person who is unknowingly infected.

As I leave the store I throw away my gloves. If gloves are not available, wash or sanitize, your hands after handling damp vegetables.

I bring my vegetables home and let them completely dry before putting them away. Before using them, I wash them off with non-chemical dish soap from the Health Food Store. Commercial brands of dish soap often contain petroleum based oils and chemicals that are hormone disruptors and contain toxins. These can impair your immune system and taste terrible.

I get extra vegetables when I shop. This way I can chop the extras up and freeze them myself. I usually combine five or more different types to a bag, to get more vitamins and minerals.

Scientists have been telling us for the last 20 years that unless we change things drastically we would have superbugs such as this coronavirus that could kill vast numbers of people. The main culprits for the rise of superbugs are the depletion of our immune systems due to our modern diets and lifestyles.

I have written quite a bit in my past articles about building your immune system. His article gives a quick rundown. If you want more detailed information you can go to the Ashland Locals Guide website for my complete articles, including those on colds and flus (viruses).

These articles, as well as my future monthly articles and recipes for quick, easy, delicious, healthy meals will soon be available on my new website:

Boosting your immune system:

One of the most important things to do for your immune system is to avoid any meats or animal products that are not organic. Getting the organic certification is an expensive process that not all small farmers can afford. Consider using local sources which are not certified organic. As long as you know these farmers do not feed their animals or poultry antibiotics, hormones, or use feed or grass with pesticides or herbicides on them.

Dauenhauer Cattle is one such local, family-run company. They supply delicious, organic cuts of beef and beef products. And for orders over $100 they will deliver to your home if you live in the Ashland area.

Organic protein is essential three times a day. This can be beans, lentils, eggs, fish, poultry, or meat. You have to decide what is best for your body. Red meat can be highly beneficial to some people. Other’s don’t do well with it. The more variety of protein the better.

I dissuade people from including dairy, nuts or nut butters, or too many eggs (daily use) as a major source of protein, because they often create mucous and phlegm and may create many health issues. However, small amounts of nuts can be beneficial. Keep in mind that anything that creates phlegm can cause impairment of the lungs and set the stage for acute situations, aiding the development of pneumonia.

Many patients tell me they just eat two meals per day. What they usually mean is two meals and a snack. Make your snack into a mini-meal that includes protein and vegetables.

Many colors and textures of organic vegetables, a wide range with each meal, gives your body the nutrients it needs to protect and heal itself. Organic vegetables and fruit mean many more nutrients, free of toxic herbicides and pesticides found in nonorganic produce.

Whole foods vitamins, as opposed to synthetic, support your system. Though the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is through a wide range of many colored and textured vegetables.

Calcium is essential for a strong immune system. Your best and most easily digested source of calcium is slightly steamed or sautéed dark, green leafy vegetables, or broccoli. Beans can also supply some calcium. Dairy can actually flush calcium from your body.

Bone broth is good for your immune and digestive systems. It’s easy to make. Just go on YouTube and it will show you how. It is available ready made in stores, unless sold out. Make sure it is organic with no sugar in it.

Gut Flora:

Your gut flora is your most important line of defense. It’s one of the main things that determines who gets a virus and who doesn’t.

Probiotics alone are not enough to build your gut flora. There are many probiotics on the market that are ineffective. Cultured/fermented vegetables feed all the positive bacteria in your digestive system. These are only found in the refrigerated section of your store. They might include refrigerated pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, or just the brine these vegetables are pickled in. I use a variety of these to flavor my food. They cannot be cooked or the active culture that builds your gut flora is destroyed. Make sure these are organic, made with just water and sea salt, and contain no sugar, vinegar, or whey. They should be in glass, not plastic containers. Any of these items found in the unrefrigerated sections of your store have no active culture the cans or jars they are packed in would explode. The items must be refrigerated, or the fermentation process would continue and create quite a mess.

The brine can be mixed with water or taken straight. It is good mixed in with soup, and stews after cooking. Other cultured/fermented vegetables can be mixed into your food once it is on your plate, or chopped fine to add to chicken or tuna salads. Or, make tartar sauce with organic mayonnaise. At least one heaping tablespoon or 1 1/2 Tablespoons of brine, three times per day is the recommended dose. Feel free to do more, as long as the additional sea salt does not raise your blood pressure.

Yogurt that is sold in stores has to be pasteurized. This means that the positive bacteria that creates real yogurt has been destroyed by cooking. A few probiotics are added, usually with sugar (or concentrated fruit juice, which is the same thing), and some ingredients that make it taste fermented. They then sell it as a healthy food. It is not. Made this way, it does not fertilize your gut flora. And it usually creates mucus and phlegm which sets the stage for lung infections and pneumonia.


Stress is another thing that can be detrimental to your immune system and overall health. An example of this is Shingles which is the latent Chicken Pox virus, brought on by stress. Specifically, this includes small stressors combined with chronic and acute stress which you have suppressed throughout the years until a mole hill becomes a mountain, and then an active volcano…which erupts. This illustrates the devastating effects of stress on our bodies. This time of enforced seclusion is a good opportunity to identify and deal with all the things that create stress in your life. You then need to find tools to eliminate or deal with them.


Inactivity damages your DNA. The people who live the longest and healthiest lives are the ones who not only eat a healthy diet, but continue to stay very active well into their later years. Of course there are people who are blessed with incredibly strong genes from their ancestors. They seem to be able to do as they like with no visibly adverse effects. Most of us aren’t that lucky, and have to work on a daily basis to stay young and vital. Diet, exercise and toxin reduction (which I will discuss later) are ways to stay proactive and avoid illness or disease, including viruses.

Exercise is also needed to stabilize blood sugar as it moves the glucose from your blood into your tissues where it’s utilized for energy. When your blood sugar crashes, your body is stressed out and you are more vulnerable to viruses.

Exercise is also one of the best ways to deal with stress. It circulates the energy, or Qi, in the body. This relieves Liver Qi Stagnation which is associated with stress. You can learn more about this and what to do about it I’m my previous articles.


Any type of sweetener, with the possible exception of Stevia, can deplete your immune system for four to six hours. Alcohol is just condensed sugar, so it has the same affect. (See my article “Sweet Poison.”)

Anyone with any mucus or phlegm issues is more vulnerable to viruses and lung issues, such as pneumonia. This includes those with allergies, people who use tissues throughout the day to wipe or blow their nose, people who snore, those who have had gallbladder issues, and anyone who has masses, cysts, fibroids, or tumors. All are indications of phlegm accumulation, which can be effectively treated by your favorite Acupuncturist. Exercise is also essential to keep the lungs in good condition. Exercise helps to resolve phlegm and strengthen the lungs.

Toxic Overload:

Toxic overload is another major contributing factor to determine who gets ill and who doesn’t. There is a wonderful documentary that you can stream on Amazon called: “Why Am I Still Sick?”

In the video, scientists and doctors discuss the latent viruses, bacteria, molds and parasites that we retain in our bodies under a shield of biofilm. This biofilm protects these pathogens, like the Chicken Pox virus, from being detected or attacked by your immune system. The biofilm is made of a sticky substance that attracts and collects toxins, such as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and harmful chemicals. This toxic overload, and the release of pathogens from the biofilm, can also impair your immune system and make your body more vulnerable to additional viruses or other pathogens entering your body. There is an herbal protocol that I prescribe for my patients to address biofilm.

Phone Consultations:

I am now offering phone consultations for anyone who would like my assistance in building their immune system, or dealing with any current health issues. This includes health issues that might make you vulnerable at this time.

Working individually with you, I can help tailor your diet and give you other tools to improve your immune system, energy, and health.

For a first appointment, you would complete an intake form and return it to me before our consultation.

Insurance or Medicare will not cover these phone consultations.

My fee schedule is:

1st  Appointment

  2 hours $200

2nd Appointment

  1 1/2 hours $150

Follow Up Appointments:

  1 hour $100

        1/2 hour $ 50

For an appointment, call me at 541-646-0134. Thanks to robocalls I will not pick up if I don’t know your number,  but please leave a message. In the future, you will be able to schedule your own appointment on my website:

Super bugs, such as the current coronavirus are a part of our future. Your best defense is to become as healthy as you can be, so you are not affected.

In this time of seclusion, find things that you enjoy, maybe that you didn’t have the time for until now. Be sure to socialize over the phone, through email, or outside exercising with a friend. Find or create events to look forward to. Enjoy a movie at home, a craft or a special dinner night by yourself or with those you live with. Maybe plan events with friends via Facetime or other apps. Get outside for walks and other types of exercise every day. One especially healthy 80 year old told me, “Walk your dog every day. Even if you don’t have one!”  All of these things don’t just bring you joy, they repair your DNA.

PS. If I have helped you, through my articles, or as a patient, please go online and write a review. Just Google my name or go the website: Thank you!

Health and Happiness,

Nancy Burton, L.Ac.    (Licensed Acupuncturist)

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Nancy Burton, L.Ac. is a Licensed Acupuncturist. She incorporates Acupuncture, Herbs, Tui Na (Chinese Medicinal Massage), Homeopathics, Nutritional Supplements, Muscle Testing, and Nutritional Counseling and Therapy in her practice. Her goal is to give patients the tools they need to achieve and maintain good health.

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