Feeling a little more anxious lately? You have cause to. So much is happening so fast.
Try to remain calm. Getting good, accurate information to help you understand this virus will really help keep you safe, safer, and lower your anxiety levels.
After hundreds of hours of reading and research, I bring you some of what the headache specialists and other experts in this field are suggesting we do.
It's not just about washing your hands for 20 seconds, or keeping a safe distance (1.5 meters or 3 feet) from others... but doing these 2 things will help 1 - kill the virus and 2 - stop it from spreading.
It's also about slowing down and starting some radical self care routines that will ensure your safety and the safety of others. It's about learning to do things differently from now on...
Things are changing every day, so let's get to what the experts are saying we do, if we have migraines to contend with too....
In this article, I want to offer you sound, well-research solutions that will help you:
If you are feeling really fearful now, I hope reading this migraine and virus article will help you feel more informed and prepared.
Don't panic but be well informed and be proactive.
The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) published 7 considerations for people living with migraine.
They spoke with American Headache Society member Dr. Mia Minen, a headache specialist and epidemiologist, who shared seven COVID-19 considerations for people living with migraine, as well as some general practices I think are worth noting around having both migraine and virus.
Dr. Minen doesn't expect people living with migraine who are generally in good overall health to be at increased risk.
BUT you still need to adhere to the best practices to limit infection.
AND you'll have to be better prepared to limit the potential to trigger more attacks (if possible).
Anxiety alone can trigger an attack for many of us.
Make sure to have an adequate supply of your prescribed medications you need to abort and prevent attacks.
If possible, organize a 90-day supply of your medication.
You may need to call your doctor - not go in - to help you organize this. Some doctors are offering telehealth or telemedicine 'virtual' appointments which will help limit exposure.
As this is an unprecedented event, it's worth a phone call to see what they offer.
This means not only drinking enough water but getting the quenching structured water stored within fruits and vegetables.
If you already know dehydration is a migraine trigger for you... having both migraine and virus can cause vomiting making it worse. Consider getting some electrolyte drinks. Coconut water and chicken broth are great. Make a broth that you can freeze ahead of time.
I've written more about proper hydration here - Migraine Nutrition: How To Improve Your Diet.
In time of crisis, your schedules may be changing, causing stress and additional triggers.
Maintaining your routine for diet, hydration and sleep is SO important.
Is dehydration a trigger for you? Have a few sips of water every hour.
Is low blood sugar a trigger? You need to be sensible and eat regularly so as not to trigger an attack... even if you don't feel like eating... sip on soup and a piece of toast or salty crackers.
Also, be aware of the particular foods or additives, such as MSG, that may be triggers for you.
In this time of chaos, you may be stocking up on food... so make sure that you’re going to be able to have foods that don’t have ingredients that could trigger an attack. Sometimes in desperation we panic and allow triggers to slip in.
You probably already know if stress and anxiety triggers an attack.
If they do, it’s important to be a little more vigilant right now.
We know that the migraine brain is a sensitive brain, and it's vulnerable to changes in sleep and stress. Routine and keeping things as stable as possible with serve you well now.
This might mean practicing radical self-care or reaching out for support to help manage your stress, anxiety, migraine and virus.
There are more stress reduction tips below, so keep reading.
If you are feeling more isolated than normal, connect with others in Facebook, Facetime or Skype. Line up a zoom meeting for lunch... or dinner.
Connect with others via the internet. It's the only option right now.
I know... it's NOT... but hear me out.
Get things you rely on to relieve symptoms. Things you know you already you can use and not be triggered by. I use Betadine throat gargle, Bioglan throat clear sugar free herbal lozenges with 2.6 mgs of zinc in them. We'll get to vitamins in a bit... but get your favorite soft tissues, etc. Migraines and virus require comfort tools.
I make my own LemSip - here's the recipe: 1 tablespoon of lime juice (frozen ice cube), 1/8 teaspoon pure salt, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon honey, and one Aspro Clear dissolving aspirin (300 mgs) all in a freshly boiled cup of water.
And I have chicken broth in the freezer at all times to sip on during an attack.
Call the pharmacy to see if they will deliver your prescriptions and required items.
Buy food online and get it delivered - if they are still doing that. Instead of exposing yourself to potential viruses at the store, try to find a grocery service that might deliver. Call some meal delivery companies... see what they are offering in this time of chaos.
There are things being set up and put in place for this, so make some phone calls and Google in your local area.
Scroll down to - What to do if you get something in the post for more details.
As surreal as it all seems right now, please proceed with caution and awareness.
This SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus; COVID-19) is now a worldwide pandemic. The virus is spread from person-to-person and it is believed that you must be within 6 feet of someone who has it to contract the virus.
You get it by touching something that someone else has just touched who has it, then touching your eyes or face. Here is a great New York Times article on how it spreads.
"The Coronavirus is highly contagious and it puts our elderly at the highest risk, specifically, older male smokers. The main national concern appears to be not just that Coronavirus has a higher death rate than the usual flu, but because many people are getting sick at the same time (high virulence), and causing a strain on our medical systems, resources, hospitals and providers and more importantly, access to care. Your best defense is prevention. Take universal precautions." 
Dr. Ken Evoy says "Assume the person next to you might be contagious with COVID19, even if they seem well. Do so even if there has not been a report of COVID where you live - it won’t announce itself when it first reaches your area ("community-acquired" means that the virus has been sneakily spreading in a place for a while, finally causing the first reported/confirmed case).
And it WILL reach you... Regardless of where you live in the world, this will reach you at an exponential rate of spread." 
It can last in the air for up to 3 hours… more moisture will take it to the ground. 
It does last on surfaces much longer than the typical flu:
Be careful what’s coming into your house! Scroll down or click here for - What to do if you get something in the post.
Any package from amazon – could have traces of virus in it.
AND then on the inside – supplements – food – those surfaces could have the virus on it. 
The virus can be IN IT and ON IT!
Dr. Anna says that the best defence is "to boost your immune system so you are less likely to get sick is simply by getting your body in the best possible condition." 
Here are a few things she shares so you can easily reduce your risk of illness and get started in a healthy direction:
She prescribes laughing... A LOT and to make sure you purposely guide your thoughts in a positive direction. DITTO!
Dr. H’s antiseptic nasal spray: in nasal spray bottle add diluted H202 and Biocidin to saline. Here's an example:
Use it anytime you want. Here's the link for - Biocidin drops on Amazon.
*H202 is hydrogen peroxide and 3% food grade is recommended.
She has a delicious soup recipe - here's the link - Reset Soup Recipe
If you want to reduce your fever that is. It is our body's natural defense system. So some fever is safe. Talk to your doctor about this. 
Dr. Anna Cabeca says "Avoid taking Tylenol on an empty stomach or while dehydrated. It can affect liver function. Avoid aspirin as well because of the risk of Reye Syndrome. Ibuprofen or Aleve is fine. A lukewarm bath can bring fever down in an emergency situation. Ice packs can also help to bring fever down.
Fevers can be useful up to a certain level. If your child’s fever is over 103 for any length of time, take them to the emergency room. A warm Epsom salts bath can help alleviate many of your symptoms and I’ve used this often." 
If you haven't done these things already to help reduce your migraine frequency:
"Sugar, in all forms; added as well as naturally occurring, is a big immune system suppressant. The biggest culprits that jack up sugar intake in your diet are: Juices (for example, Odwalla contains 40 grams of sugar = 9 teaspoons), smoothies, energy bars, ketchup, protein shakes, coffee lattes, chai.
For easy reference: 4 grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon (to be precise, it’s actually 3.8 grams = 1 teaspoon but it’s easier to remember it as 4 grams). For example, according to their website, an 16-oz Starbucks Mocha Frappucino contains 52 grams of sugar which is 12 teaspoons of sugar.
My belief is that part of the reason why so many people have a weak immune system is due to the amount we consume (unknowingly), or are addicted to." 
And drinking alcohol... whilst it's tempting during this stressful time, ethanol, like sugar, is a big immunosuppressant. So it would be best to either lay off completely or limit your alcohol intake per day. I doubt you'll want to drink during a migraine and virus.
And reduce inflammation...
"When you reduce inflammation, your immune system gets a break too and is better equipped to fight any pathogens, viruses included. Many people immediately think of taking heaps of anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric or boswellia. However, modifying your diet will create a more impactful shift.
Getting off gluten, dairy and any other foods that you know don’t agree with you, as well as sugar and alcohol, will be the most effective way of lowering your inflammation. Many women find that removing eggs, corn or soy from their diets have the biggest impact." 
To stay as healthy as possible with a migraine and virus, eat an anti-inflammatory diet. This means eating a rainbow of whole fruits and vegetables (organic is best), clean, pastured proteins and wild fish, probiotic foods like natural sauerkraut, plain yogurt, kefir, kombucha, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, cultured organic butter, pasteurized eggs, avocados and nuts.
Ginger, garlic, onions, greens, aromatic herbs, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and miso (soup or paste) are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods. Eat some of them in generous amounts every day.
This is a great lifestyle choice even if you don't have migraine and virus.
Herbs could play a huge role, but there is no single herb currently that can fight COVID-19.
If you want to consider herbs, here is a great article - COVID-19: Herbs, Foods, Vitamins and Minerals To Boost Your Immune System.
The article also covers using raw garlic (just crush a clove of garlic and serve it on top of a piece of gluten-free toast) and medicinal mushrooms (Shiitake, Reishi, Turkey Tails) that are "small powerhouses of nutrition are immunomodulators. This is due in part to their high levels of beta-glucans, which help activate macrophage and natural killer cells that are pivotal to your immune defense." 
That’s good reason to add some of these mushrooms to an omelet, green smoothies or dishes like salads, soups, and stews. 
If you have migraine and virus, and want a natural approach, this is a great read...
Here are my top 3 vitamins to consider. Please check with your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath before experimenting with any vitamins just to be safe.
You may require a blood test first to check your levels.
Just using soap can be less problematic than antibacterial hand sanitizer...this is a huge topic all on its own. For now, just consider this simple option. And the time length of washing your hands for 20 seconds is also essential. That's a long time.
According to the CDC’s recommendations be sure you use rubbing alcohol with over 60% ethanol, or else it won’t work. Most of the over the counter hand sanitizers do not contain 60% isopropyl alcohol so be aware of this... they are not effective enough for this virus. 
Vinegar will not kill a nasty virus like COVID-19. But it is a good cleaning product for every day cleaning. It is a good "antimicrobial and won’t compromise your microbiome and immune system the way commercial cleaners would. You can use ethanol if it makes you feel safer." 
Here is Magdalena's recipe:
You can make your own DIY all-purpose cleaner by combining water with white vinegar or ethanol (contains 95.6% alcohol) in a 2:1 ratio. "Keep it in a glass bottle. You can add some essential oils, see below." 
She says that essential oils are helpful to add, but they won’t work alone. You can add them to your antimicrobial soap, hand sanitizer, all-purpose cleaner, as long as they are not a migraine trigger for you.
"Essential oils with the highest antimicrobial profile are: Oregano, Clove (I like YL’s Thieves), Lemon, Sage, Thyme. Contrary to popular belief (or marketing of it), tea tree oil is not the most effective antimicrobial oil." 
Here are some MUCH better options:
#1. "70% isopropyl alcohol will kill everything including Ebola." 
#2. Diluted bleach is another good option. 
#3. Hydrogen peroxide (3 or 6%), if sprayed and left to dry, on a bench top is another good way to clean flat surfaces.
Here’s what you could do when you get an order via the post. 
Before you bring it in the house:
DO NOT bring things/packages straight into your kitchen and just put all the things away. 
Also, remember to wear gloves with all this washing and wiping. If your hands get cracked and dry they will be more susceptible.
At the moment, there is no quick fix for migraine and virus.
But solid sleep, healthy nutrition, hydration, exercise, and meditation can start to build your resistance over short-to-medium term. So don’t just stock up - stock up on the right food and meditate calm thoughts while walking home carrying the groceries - that might be an efficient way to start. 
Another tip from Kiran Krishnan, a brilliant microbiologist, is to raise your core body temperature:
This is not a treatment or prevention for COVID-19… just a way to build yourself up, improving your health to stay more resilient. 
If you are feeling out of control, you are not alone. With things the way they are right now, you might be experiencing a sense of paralysis around having no sense of control.
You want to have a sense of "it will all be OK." I, we, my child, will beat this virus. You may even think "If I do all the right things, I am guaranteed NOT to get this virus."
This in itself, can raise your anxiety levels.
Here are 3 things that Kelly McGonigal, PhD suggests to help you feel more in control :
1. Affirm your identity that’s challenged. "I am a caring parent." I am a caring wife, mother, human. You might find yourself thinking “If I were a good parent, this wouldn’t have happened.” Often, if you are so caring, you will feel this more intensely.
2. Take time to acknowledge what is difficult about this situation. Feel the disappointment, often we try to avoid what we’re feeling. What is the disappointment, anger, shame, and or fear? Give yourself time to BE WITH the overwhelming emotions.
Keeping a journal can help you articulate your feelings. Give yourself permission to BE WITH things and acknowledge what the pain is telling you. Have compassion for yourself.
3. Shift your focus from control to choice. If you feel out of control, think about what you can control, what do you have control over? In chaotic times like these, Kelly suggests that these questions will help us to move forward easier:
Choose the positive like courage and calm, for example. So, "what I want to choose for this situation is reaching out for support… finding resources."
This is an uncertain time where we can’t depend on certainty, but we can make choices that are consistent with our goals, our values and who we want to become. 
Once the pandemic is over you will have these techniques to help you feel better for the rest of your life.
If you are scared or panicking you might hyperventilate and that drives the fight or flight response, the stress response.
When you calm down it shifts and switches to parasympathetic nervous system. Which is the rest and renewal where your body heals.
The next time you notice yourself freaking out just say, to yourself, “WOW I am freaking out… I am panicking.”
Do you know that if you just name an emotion, it tames it. It calms the amygdala. So much of the stress response takes place in the brain.
Slow, controlled breathing techniques have been used for centuries to induce calm because they are SUPER fast, effective and they work! "These forms of breathwork marry the prefrontal cortex to the midbrain... Clinically they can be used to quell excessive arousal, like panic attacks."  Dr. Joan Borysenko calls this technique "Gearshift Breathing" because it short circuits negative thoughts and quickly shifts us into a mindful space that opens us to calm and peacefulness."
Here are her instructions:
"Sit upright in a comfortable position, with a straight spine and chin parallel to the floor. Breathe in slowly through the nose, and exhale slowly through pursed lips as if you are breathing out through a straw. This slows the breathing way down to 4-6 breaths a minute. You’ll notice that after you release all the air, there is a delay before the next natural breath. Don’t hold your breath, just let the rhythm evolve naturally. Only 1-2 minutes of this breathing is enough to trigger the hormonal drip that calms your fear circuits as you become more present." 
If you are feeling anxious right now, you can also try exhaling longer than your inhale at least 3 times. So exhale for 10, and inhale for 5 or 6. Keep doing this, without pressing too hard, relaxed is the goal.
Doing some breath work will help ease added anxiety that may come with migraine and virus.
If this migraine and virus situation has you ruminating, go out in nature (adhering to social distancing).
It's very beneficial to step outside and commune with nature. This powerful connection is so calming, that it is rated the #1 stress reducer in cultures around the world. As a bonus, 15-10 minutes outside boosts your vitamin D as well.
If your mind starts catastrophizing... ponder this instead:
Perhaps it's a good time to learn to meditate or learn a new language.
We can change our brain and make new neural circuits.
The brain has an inherent negativity bias. That means it worries a lot, it ruminates a lot. And that means bad things stick to it and stay with you. Where as, good things you hardly notice can just flow right away.
For survival purposes, we’ve needed to stay alert to danger. But right now, dealing with migraine and virus and the overwhelming amount of information out there... doing this will make you more stressed out.
You can make poor decisions because stress cuts off our prefrontal cortex – so if you freak out, it goes offline and you just can’t make good decisions.
Dr. Joan Borysenko says that "it’s just as easy to spin a powerful, healing story, rather than a story that makes you sick… or at the least, a neutral story that is realistically hopeful about what the future may bring." She says "you can counteract the brain’s negativity bias – a survival strategy that causes us to be more affected by the bad than the good – by taking time to savor the little good things that happen every day: the song of a robin; the taste of a crisp apple; the smile of a stranger… Enjoying sensations of love, warmth and goodness in your body for 10-20 seconds actually results in the formation of new, more positive neural networks." 
So if you have migraine and virus... remember to pause (for 10-20 seconds) and savor whenever something good happens. This creates more positive neural circuits in your brain.
Catch these things during the day and then at night, instead of making TO DO lists, bring up that memory of the beautiful moment or moments you had and this will help calm you. Smile and send yourself love.
I hope this article helps you manage migraine and virus a little better.
Being prepared ahead of time will help reduce anxiety that comes with migraine and virus.
Remember the long exhale and to pause. You will get through this... you are strong and healthy... you just get migraines.
I did not intend this to be such a long or comprehensive "what to do" migraine and virus article. If I have curbed your fears around migraine and virus... and woken you, that’s my goal. The End!
Please share your comments on migraine and virus below.
Migraine and Virus COVID-19 Page References:
1. American Migraine Foundation (2020) 7 COVID-19 Considerations for People Living With Migraine. Available [online] at: https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/covid-19-migraine/
2. Cabeca Dr. A (2020) Staying Healthy in the Midst of Pandemic: Coronavirus and the Flu. Available [online] at: https://drannacabeca.com/blogs/keto-alkaline-diet/staying-healthy-in-the-midst-of-pandemic-coronavirus-and-the-flu
3. Wszelaki, M (2020) COVID-19: Herbs, Foods, Vitamins and Minerals To Boost Your Immune System. Available [online] at: https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/covid-19-herbs-foods-vitamins-minerals-to-boost-immune-system
4. NICABM (2020) How to Help Clients Manage Uncertainty. Available [online] at: https://www.nicabm.com/3-step-approach-for-managing-uncertainty/
5. Evoy, Ken MD (2020) About COVID-19. SBI Forum Discussion. Private Forum, sharing allowed.
6. Shivan Sarna (2020) Facebook Live Interview with Kiran Kirshnan . Private Forum Accessed 21/03/2020.
7. Borysenko, J. (March 6, 2020) Taking the Fear Out of Coronavirus. Available [online] at: https://www.joanborysenko.com/2020/03/taking-the-fear-out-of-coronavirus/
8. Market Watch (Mar. 23, 2020) This is how long coronavirus survives on cardboard, plastic; steel; airborne, says CDC, UCLA and Princeton joint study. Available [online] at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coronavirus-can-survive-up-to-3-hours-in-aerosols-and-up-to-3-days-on-some-surfaces-peer-reviewed-study-finds-2020-03-18
Migraine and Virus Updated Mar. 28, 2020