Coronavirus Info and Resources for Women in Peri/Menopause

Medically reviewed by Dr. Tamara Neuhaus MD

Hello from The Cusp,

Like so many people, we have been monitoring the evolution of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition to reading advisories from the CDC and WHO, we’ve been taking notes on what other countries are doing to slow the spread. a.k.a. “flatten the curve.” We’ve also been dealing with the constantly changing realities of school closures, empty grocery shelves, telecommuting, and most recently, Shelter In Place orders throughout California and other states (and yes, we’re all working from home now). So we’re right there in the thick of it with all of you. And we want to support you in any way we can. 

Because The Cusp provides telemedicine, we can continue to consult with our current and new members. In fact, Dr. Mindy Goldman will now be available for video visits with new members, in addition to Dr. Tammy Neuhaus. Please bear with us if any appointments need to be rescheduled due to the constantly evolving health landscape.

In the meantime, we’ve gathered a slew of useful info and resources to help you navigate this uncertain time. Our goal was to go far beyond, “wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds and don’t touch your face.” So here you’ll find everything from guidance on natural supplements that may help optimize your immune system to articles on maintaining mental health to links to homeschooling resources. Feel free to share this article with your friends, family, and community.

Steer Clear

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, like the flu. If someone infected with the virus coughs, they release tiny droplets containing the virus through their nose and mouth. These droplets can land on other people, clothing, and surfaces. And some can remain in the air. 

The best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid coming into contact with these droplets. This is why the current focus is on social distancing and shelter in place orders. These great motion graphics show how these measures can work to slow the spread of COVID-19 across a longer timeframe, hence “flattening the curve.” The upshot: stay home if at all possible. If you can’t stay home, only leave for essential errands and stay at least 6’ away from others. And even then, consider wearing disposable latex or nitrile gloves when doing things like filling your gas tank, using an ATM, paying a parking meter, or grocery shopping. Then remove and throw away those gloves as soon as you’re done.

Decontaminate

The virus can live for up to 9 days on a hard surface. So disinfect hard surfaces that you routinely come into contact with daily. Those hard surfaces include: door knobs, light switches, lamps, electronics, faucets, toilets, counters, desks, chairs, drawer pulls, keys, TV remotes, children’s toys. car steering wheels, gear shifts and door handles, 

The FDA released a statement on February 27 saying that they “are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.” That said, we think it makes sense to wipe down newly purchased jars, cartons, and items wrapped in plastic with a disinfecting wipe before putting them in your cabinets, closets, or fridge. We also recommend washing fresh produce for at least 20 seconds. 

And yes, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. And use hand sanitizer that’s at least 62% alcohol when you’re out and about and washing isn’t an option. (We had to say it.)

Protect

You can enhance your immune system to reduce your chances of becoming infected and to reduce the severity of the virus should you catch it. The doctors at The Cusp recommend that you:

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night

  • Reduce your workload if possible

  • Eat more vegetables

  • Get regular exercise 

  • Take time for daily meditation, yoga, or gratitude practice 

At this point, there have been no clinical trials indicating that any vitamin, herb, or nutrient is proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, there is some evidence that some dietary supplements can help optimize your immune system. These include:

  • Agarikon, Reishi, Maitake, and Agaricus mushrooms 1; 2; 3; 4 (some of which are found in Stamets7

  • Propolis/Echinacea throat spray 5; 6, 7

  • Andrographis 8

  • Vitamin D 9, 10

  • Vitamin C 11, 12  

  • Zinc lozenges 13

Be sure to check with your doctor here at The Cusp, or your regular physician, before adding any supplement to your routine, in case there are any negative interactions with medicines that you may already be taking. Your doctor can also advise you on the dosage that’s right for you. These supplements may become difficult to purchase as the epidemic spreads, so it makes sense to buy some now. But please don’t hoard. If we all buy what we need, when we need it, there will be enough to go around.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Meanwhile, life does go on, albeit in new and sometimes challenging ways. Here are some of our favorite resources and work-arounds to help you through. 

For Parents

Like some of us, a lot of you are juggling work and home-schooling your kids. Here are some of the online learning tools that we’re using and our kids are enjoying:

Khan Academy schedule and lessons for school closures

Scholastic has prepared 20 days of grade-appropriate learning

12 famous museums offer virtual tours

Virtual Field Trips to a farm, Yellowstone National Park, Mars and more

Social Skills activities for kids and teens

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, children’s book author and illustrator

STEM activities

Quarantime with Science Mom and Math Dad on YouTube

Storytime From Space read by astronauts at the International Space Station

@joshgad (the voice of Olaf) reads a children’s book every day on Twitter, complete with unique voices for every character.

Also, CommonSense Media has compiled lists of resources for parents and kids, ranging from at-home learning to stress management to family entertainment.

For Workers

Working remotely, if you’re not also home-schooling, can be a welcome respite from the daily commute. But it can also make collaboration challenging. Some best practices include:

  • Create a dedicated work space that’s conducive to focus and productivity

  • Schedule a regular drum beat of check-ins so everyone knows who’s doing what and when, and you can help each other remove any roadblocks 

  • Step away for lunch and breaks

  • Create a virtual water cooler via a slack channel or an email thread, where you and your coworkers can talk about life or concerns outside of work

  • Know when to log off. Once the day is done, take care of yourself. This is not the time to burn the candle at both ends

Check out the book Remote - Office not required by David Heinemeier Hansson for more ways to make this new normal work for you and your company. There are also some great tips in this Medium article. And Forbes is running a series of articles on the impacts of the coronavirus on employment and the workplace. The second in the series has valuable information and insights for employers who are transitioning their staff to work remotely.

For Everyone

Don’t forget your backyard! Make sure to get outside and breathe in fresh air. Dig in the dirt—scientists have discovered that contact with certain bacteria in soil can stimulate the human immune system and boost mood. Sing on a balcony. Play catch or fetch or croquet. Eat a picnic lunch on a roof deck. Getting outside—even if you don’t go far—will do wonders for your mental health. To that end, here’s a good article about protecting your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. 

With news of more and longer Shelter In Place orders on the horizon, we’re buckling down for the long haul. We have faith that humanity will prevail and see signs of it every day. From people on lock-down in Madrid applauding the country’s healthcare workers, to grocery stores designating senior shopping hours every morning, to an Italian mom sending us tips on how to navigate isolation (spoiler: there’s no need to hoard groceries). We can get through this together, just not too close together. 

Stay well, stay connected, and whenever possible, please stay home,

Dr. Taylor Sittler, CEO, and The Cusp Team

Sources:

  1. Girometta C. Antimicrobial properties of Fomitopsis officinalis in the light of its bioactive metabolites: a review. Mycology. 2019;10(1):32-39.

  2. Sheng X, Yan J, Meng Y, et al. Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food Funct. 2017;8(3):1020-1027.

  3. Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Kvalheim G. The Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill Elicits Medicinal Effects on Tumor, Infection, Allergy, and Inflammation through Its Modulation of Innate Immunity and Amelioration of Th1/Th2 Imbalance and Inflammation. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2011;2011:157015.

  4. Lull C, Wichers HJ, Savelkoul HFJ. Antiinflammatory and immunomodulating properties of fungal metabolites. Mediators Inflamm. 2005;2005(2):63-80.

  5. Kujumgiev A, Tsvetkova I, Serkedjieva Y, Bankova V, Christov R, Popov S. Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity of propolis of different geographic origin. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;64(3):235-240.

  6. Hudson J, Vimalanathan S, Kang L, Amiguet VT, Livesey J, Arnason JT. Characterization of Antiviral Activities in Echinacea. Root Preparations. Pharm Biol. 2005;43(9):790-796.

  7. Sharma M, Anderson SA, Schoop R, Hudson JB. Induction of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines by respiratory viruses and reversal by standardized Echinacea, a potent antiviral herbal extract. Antiviral Res. 2009;83(2):165-170.

  8. Jayakumar T, Hsieh C-Y, Lee J-J, Sheu J-R. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology of Andrographis paniculata and Its Major Bioactive Phytoconstituent Andrographolide. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013: 846740.

  9. Hewison M. Vitamin D and immune function: an overview. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2012;71(1):50-61. doi:10.1017/s0029665111001650

  10. Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(5):1255-1260.

  11. Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(1):CD000980.

  12. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11). doi:10.3390/nu9111211

  13. Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc. Accessed March 18, 2020.

About Us

The Cusp provides personalized menopause care. Our doctors have deep expertise and a broad treatment toolkit, offering natural and medical therapies to help you feel better.