Decon Pro-Tips from a Bubble Girl

Lots of my older friends and my parents are now having to contend with a new fear of the microbial world due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Having lived for years myself with decontamination protocols that have been necessary because of an impaired immune system, I thought I would share some ideas for how to deprive this virus of the opportunity in your body.

There’s a meme on Twitter going around that says “Wash your hands like you are cooking for Ruth Bader Ginsberg.” Bring your attention to it like your life and all the lives of people you love depends on it. Because that’s true now.

Another example is how careful you are in handling raw meat (or hot peppers!) in your kitchen. You become very aware of what your knife has touched and that it needs to be washed before slicing that apple you pop into your mouth. 

  1. If your mind is full of words, you are likely not being present. Stop. Notice your breath. Reserve some awareness for what you are touching.
  2. Assume all surfaces are contaminated. Assume your hands are contaminated. If you feel that little sharp thing that tells you that you have sleep in your eye, leave it there. If your nose itches, don’t touch it. Open doors with your shirt. If you wash your hands and then grab the door handle to get out of the bathroom, your hand is no longer clean.
  3. When you are out in the world, your clothes and skin and hair get microbes and toxins on them. It’s okay. Just do what you need to do quickly, don’t touch your face, and get back home, where the microbes and toxins are fewer (or at least familiar.)
  4. Keep your car clean. Your car is the bridge between home space (safe) and the outside world (contaminated.) I keep unscented baby wipes in the car and wipe my hands and keys and steering wheel, knobs, gear stick after every store. I vacuum my car once a week and wipe all surfaces with a 1) damp cloth and 2) an electrostatic cloth (swiffer.) I use seat covers on my seats and wash them every week with my clothes. Use hand wipes after pumping gas.
  5. Keep your home space clean, so it can be your refuge. When you come home from being out in the world, take a shower and change into clean clothes. Separate “cozy home clothes” from “out in the world clothes” (and shoes) and keep your “cozy home clothes” cleaner. (You can make sure they are ugly so you don’t wear them out of the house.) Consolidate trips “out in the world” so you don’t have to do this twice in a day. Annoying and inconvenient because _____ and _____? Get over that. It’s just an idea.
  6. When cleaning your home, pay special attention to light switches, handles, doorknobs, keyboards and especially your phone. Spray your phone every night with hydrogen peroxide or natural hand sanitizer and wipe it down. 
  7. If you can’t buy your own hand sanitizer anymore, it’s easy to make. Save old nasal spray bottles and keep some in your car. 
  8. Keep your mouth, throat and sinuses hydrated. Suck on zinc lozenges to prevent a sore throat and grapefruit seed extract tablets if you get a sore throat. Use Xlear nasal spray to keep your sinuses clear and hydrated. Drink fresh-grated-ginger and honey tea to help your body restore its balance. You can stay ahead of most exposures if you nip it in the bud in time. Never “tough it out.”
  9. Lastly, I regularly take risks and test myself to make sure the precautions I take are necessary for health and not simply out of a fear-based emotion. It’s easy to get OCD when the invisible microbes feel like “adversaries.” Remember that there are more cells in the microbiota in our guts than there are in each of our bodies. The idea of a discreet, separate “self” turns out to just be an idea. We are all, in fact, a “process” of communication of innumerable materials and microbes. When you “surrender to the mystery,” you still have to do your laundry, wipe your nose and wash your hands. But there can be an ease and a flow that stems from refusing to live in fear and committing to doing your part to protect the whole. 

Shining your truest light is the best health-elixir you have.  That happens when you can quiet the mind and feel connected. Then the sun shines from everywhere.

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