Be On Guard and Protect Yourself from Emerging Threats

Every year, there are millions of cases of the flu. The World Health Organization estimates that 291,000 to 646,000 people die annually from flu-related deaths. Of those 12,000-56,000 deaths occur in the United States. An article titled, 'How Does the Flu Actually Kill People?' published by the Scientific American explains how that happens. I found the article very helpful and insightful. Although the death rate in the US is only around 0.1%, it is important to protect ourselves and to protect those with compromised or underdeveloped immune systems.

Today, another threat has taken the world by surprise. Fear of the unknown, sensational news and misinformation is causing panic worldwide as we are still learning about this new threat. While there's conflicting reports and different opinions on the topic, I found the information and tips from the CDC very helpful. I learned that these type of viruses are generally transmitted person to person via respiratory droplets. These droplets enter the mouths or noses or inhaled into the lungs. While other vectors are possible and being explored, knowing that they are transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets helps us take steps towards prevention.

Here are some of the things I'm doing to help protect myself:

  1. Wash your hands properly and frequently. Don't touch your face.
    Washing your hands may be the simplest action, but is one of the most effective ways of combating the spread of disease. After all, we use hands for everything and the we frequently touch our eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it.

    The CDC recommends we wash our hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Although this seems simple, I know that I'm guilty of not spending at least 20 seconds of washing my hand (For your reference, that's the length of 'Happy Birthday' twice.) Although it is not as convenient as using hand sanitizer, washing your hand with soap and water can be more effective. Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs and may not be effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

    doTERRA carries a foaming hand wash which I love and is in every room of my house. It feels good on my hands. My hands don't dry out using the foaming hand wash compared to other hand soaps I've used in the past.

  2. When soap and water is not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. 
    Sometimes we don't have the luxury of having access to water and soap to wash our hands. In this instance, hand sanitizer is a great option. The only problem is that people are panic buying and mass hoarding hand sanitizer causing shortages or price gouging. The good news is that doTERRA still has On Guard Sanitizing Mist in stock at regular price. The two types of alcohol commonly used in hand sanitizer is isopropyl alcohol (typically found in rubbing alcohol) and ethyl alcohol or ethanol (same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages such as vodka). These types of ingredients are safer than the recently banned triclosan, which was commonly used in older hand sanitizers and personal care products. I personally prefer ethanol over isopropyl alcohol.

    doTERRA's On Guard Sanitizing mist contains 64% ethyl alcohol (meets CDC recommendations), On Guard essential oil blend for added benefits, and apple extract to prevent dryness. The ethyl alcohol is USP Certified naturally derived. I love the smell of this mist and how it feels. It doesn't leave any sticky residue or dry out my skin.

    Another option is to create your own hand sanitizer. Click here for my favorite recipe.

  3. Clean and disinfect surface areas and commonly touched objects.
    Don't have disinfecting wipes with you? I use On Guard Sanitizing Mist and spray in areas around me. For example, recently on my plane ride home, I closed my air vent, sprayed my seat area, touch screen, and tray table and wiped it with a clean napkin which I discarded. I then sprayed my hand. On Guard sanitizing mist is easy to use and convenient and compact to travel with.

  4. Diffuse essential oils.
    Essential oils are the plants natural defense against bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses. In fact, there is a study by the American Wood Protection Association on 'Inhibitory effect of essential oils on decay fungi and mold growth on wood.' There is also a review on the 'Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action.'

    I am often reminded that as humans urbanize and move away from nature, they lose the benefits our ancestors had with natural wood furniture, homes, near forests and plants. Now, millions of people are surrounded by dry wall and concrete which lack these beneficial aromatic compounds.

    Although essential oils may not combat every single pathogen (e.g. sandalwood and vetiver oils exhibit inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria, yet they fail to inhibit Gram-negative bacterial strains), I diffuse essential oils as an extra line of defense. Even if a person is already infected with a virus like the flu, diffusing oils may help combat secondary infections caused by bacteria, such as a species of Streptococcus or Staphylococcus.

    On Guard is the go to oil blend for seasonal threats. Breathe helps the respiratory system. If you don't have these oils or prefer something else, the truth is majority of essential oils have some type of antimicrobial properties, so diffuse essential oils!

  5. Other uses of essential oils.
    Topically. There's a saying, 'When you put oils on you, they are going in you.'
    On Guard or On Guard Touch roll-on. Be careful with On Guard as it contains Cinnamon and Clove essential oils which may cause discomfort to sensitive skin. You can either mix it with Fractionated Coconut Oil or use the On Guard Touch which is pre-diluted On Guard in a roller bottle. The best place to apply On Guard is on the bottom of the feet.

    Stronger roll-on. Stronger is an alternative to On Guard Touch. Instead of 'hot' oils such as Cinnamon and Clove, it contains oils of Rose, Cedarwood, Litsea, and Frankincense in Fractionated Coconut Oil. I prefer Stronger to On Guard Touch. Originally designed for use on children, Stronger also benefits adults like myself. Not only is it effective in supporting my immune system, it smells amazing. I apply it to my neck, chest, and feet.

    Breathe, Breathe Touch, or Breathe Vapor Stick. Breathe is a blend of respiratory supporting oils such as Eucalyptus and Cardamom. While diffusing Breathe is its most popular method of application, applying it topically is its second most popular method. The best place to apply Breathe, Breathe Touch, or Breathe Vapor Stick is on the back or on the chest. I use Breathe 'neat' (which is another way of saying without dilution), however some people with sensitive skin may need it diluted in a carrier oil. You won't have to do anything extra to Breathe Touch and Breathe Vapor Stick, it is ready to use out of the box.

    Internally. doTERRA offers essential oil supplements. 
    On Guard Plus softgels. A lot of people put a couple drops of On Guard essential oil in a cup of water before drinking it, I do this when I have a scratchy throat or feeling under the weather. It does have a bite, so if you prefer swallowing pills, I highly recommend On Guard softgels. In addition, On Guard essential oil, it contains Black Pepper, Oregano, and Melissa essential oil. I usually take a softgel when I travel as a preventative measure to support my immune system. I don't usually take it every day, but with current events, I add On Guard softgels to my daily regimen as an added layer of support.

  6. Don't panic buy or mass hoard face masks and respirators. Know the difference and proper usage.
    Normal face masks are a barrier to splashes, droplets, and spit. Respirators are designed to seal tight to the face of the wearer. Normal face masks provide little to no protection from catching respiratory viruses like the flu. Droplets containing the virus may still enter the open space between the face and the mask. In addition, it may actually increase the risk of infection, since people are more likely to touch their face more often to adjust their mask. An influx of instagram posts show celebrities wearing such ineffective face masks, adding to the confusion and mass hysteria.

    People are panic buying face masks and it is causing supply issues for healthcare providers. It only makes the situation worse.

    Here's a statement from the CDC:
    The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

    US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams @Surgeon_General recently tweeted:
    Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers canrsquo;t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!

    While N95 respirator masks may provide some protection over typical face masks while used properly sealed to the face, health providers are urging the public to leave it to those that need them most.
Those are my tips. Hope you find this information helpful. Stay safe.

doTERRA Products
On Guard Hand Sanitizing Mist
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On Guard essential oil (15ml)
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On Guard Touch (10ml)
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Stronger (10ml)
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Breathe (15ml)
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Breathe Touch (10ml)
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Breathe Vapor Stick
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On Guard Plus softgels (60 count)
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On Guard Foaming Hand Wash (with dispensers)
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On Guard Foaming Hand Wash (refill only - without dispensers)
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