Over this past weekend I have received many messages from people who have significant fears about coronavirus (or more specifically COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus) outbreak in Washington State, and how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from being exposed. At this point, given the current statistics in Washington, I believe that it is prudent to be prepared and cautious. The most up-to-date information from the WA DOH on COVID-19 is here.

I think that it is probably safe to say that the documented number of reported cases is probably far lower than the actual number, due to a high percent of infected individuals having no or very mild symptoms. Thus, community transmission is likely. 

Here are some preventive measures to protect yourself & others from coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and scrub them for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to wash the backs of your hands, between the fingers, and under your nails. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who has a cough, fever, acute shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms.
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose, and use a tissue, which you immediately dispose of. Wash your hands thoroughly thereafter. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling sick. However, if you absolutely have to venture out and have symptoms of cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, wear a face mask at all times.
  • Avoid travel to high-risk countries.

Natural immune & supportive supplements (consult with your physician before taking these):

  • HerbImmune
  • Biocidin
  • Green Vibrance
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Vitamins A, C, and D
  • Zinc
  • Alpha Lipoid Acid/R-Lipoic Acid
  • Herbs including Echinacea, Elderberry, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Scullcap, and Thyme

Foundational tips on staying healthy:

  • Get a solid night’s sleep
  • Stay hydrated; my general calculation is that ½ of one’s body weight in ounces of water should be consumed daily, give or take
  • Limit your sugar and “chemical food” intake
  • Eat plenty of fresh, colorful veggies (and fruit)
  • Mitigate stressors

If you feel sick:

  • Stay home if you think that you have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel sick, especially if you have respiratory symptoms.
  • If you have traveled to a country on the CDC list of level 2 or 3 travel health notices and feel ill, call your health care provider or your local health department.
  • Monitor yourself for fever (temperature of 38C/100.4F or more), cough and shortness of breath.

Testing info:

Mass-level testing as has been efficiently implemented in South Korea and Hong Kong is still not available in the US. Currently, very limited testing is possible through the WA State Health Department and throughout the country. Updated general information on COVID-19 in Washington State is available here. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on February 29th due to the coronavirus outbreak. This policy change will hopefully change the criteria for testing, which is still limited to specific individuals. However, if you feel that you may have been exposed to coronavirus or have a cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, call your doctor or your local health department.

Tips on preparing for a possible COVID-19 quarantine:

  • Stock up on groceries:
    • Dry goods like grains, pasta, beans, oats
    • Canned foods that have a high amount of liquid (to maximize your liquid intake as well)
    • Frozen fruits and veggies
    • Dried nuts and fruits
    • Low-sugar cereals
    • Nut butters
    • Jerky
    • Dried fruit
    • Nut milks
    • Pasta sauce
    • Olive and other oils
    • Vinegar
    • Protein powder
    • Drinking water
    • Hydrating drinks like coconut water and natural electrolyte drinks
    • Pet food
    • Baby food
  • Ensure you have plenty of general supplies:
    • Prescription medication, OTC medications
    • Thermometer
    • Toilet paper and other toiletry items
    • Tissues
    • Batteries, matches, flashlights
    • First aid kit
    • Laundry detergent
    • Dish soap
    • Diapers
    • Face masks (if you can still find some)

Additional Information & Tools:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Information

Washington State Health Department COVID-19 Information

Island County Health Department information on COVID-19


Wishing you health,

Dr. Jennifer