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Precautions, Symptoms and Tests for Coronavirus by Mimi Guarneri, MD

Dr. Mimi GuarneriMimi Guarneri, MD, a founding board member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®) and a board-certified physician in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, offers important tips to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, Dr. Guarneri says, we should know what the most common symptoms of the disease are. These include fever (although not always), cough, sore throat, as well as the muscle aches and soreness typical to the classic flu. If you think you have any of these symptoms, Dr. Guarneri recommends that you isolate yourself from your family immediately and call your physician to make arrangements for triage and testing.

It’s critical that you also consider the source of your coronavirus information. Listen to the experts, she advises, like the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, physicians, clinicians, and your local public health authorities. “We have brilliant experts on the frontlines, like Dr. Fauci, giving us good guidance.”

So, what precautions can we take to keep coronavirus infection at bay?

“Wash your hands,” Dr. Guarneri insists.

She nicknamed the virus “Fatso,” because it’s made of fat. As a lipid-soluble virus, it can be washed off with soap and water. “It doesn’t matter what kind of soap,” she says, “just as long as you wash your hands thoroughly. Give yourself a minute. Wash your palms, thumbs, and knuckles, and that includes after picking up packages, handling money, or getting your credit card back from someone.”

Make sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines in addition to social distancing, she adds. That means if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow. If you use a tissue, throw it in the garbage right away.

Besides adhering to these practical measures, we should eat healthy to boost our immune system. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet, Dr. Guarneri says. Instead of simple carbs or foods high in sugar, we should eat beans, lentils, dark-pigmented fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins like fish. Staying hydrated is also important, so we should drink room-temperature water throughout the day.

Healthy habits—that’s, in effect, what Dr. Guarneri encourages. “Go for a walk out in nature,” she says. “Sit in the sun for at least 10 minutes a day. And, of course, it’s also vital to get a good night’s sleep.”

Dr. Guarneri recommends that we also follow pursuits that boost our immune systems. Bad news does not, so avoid watching the news all day long. “Do things that you enjoy,” she advises. “Listen to good music, watch funny movies, plan your next vacation. Visualize yourself healthy and life going back to normal.”

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) and its Member Board the ABOIM support Dr. Guarneri’s efforts at educating the public about integrative health approaches to achieving optimal health while combating the spread of COVID-19. As one of the premier multi-specialty certifying bodies in North America, the ABPS offers physician board certification in integrative medicine through the ABOIM. To learn more about this specialty or about integrative medicine certification, contact the ABPS today.