Scott's Virtual Gratitude Concert Continues with three songs reflecting about Mary:
1. Mary's Lullaby:
One of my most cherished memories was holding my baby boy last year, (2019) he was 6 weeks old, and singing this song to him as if he was the baby Jesus for a Christmas program at my church. What a special song and such an interesting perspective to ponder on what Mary must have been thinking while holding her baby.
2. Mary Did You Know?
Quia Respexit from Bach's Magnificat:
This text is taken from Luke 1: "For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: behold, for from this time, may I be called blessed."
What a week we have had! Our little Scotty continues to heal and do SO well from his skull surgery this past week. It's truly incredible. It is incredible to me that he needs nothing for pain much at this point, just 5 days post-operation. For now, the hardest thing for him is sleep disruptions due to the swelling in the head and being uncomfortable shifting in his sleep at night, and just needing to be held. The swelling will continue to subside over the coming weeks. As is first and most important when healing from anything, REST is so critical.
And so, continuing in our virtual gratitude concert, I found it appropriate to share this one at this point in his healing journey...and I hope it brings peace and restful sentiments to anyone else who may need it at this time for any other reason:
Text translation from Gabriel Faure's Requiem "Pie Jesu" is:
Merciful Jesus, Lord, grant them rest, grant them rest, eternal rest.
In case you're interested in the details about what it was all about
(sharing now only for informational purposes, as we have been more than helped, thank you!) Here is the original GoFundMe post: https://gf.me/u/y8ngq8
UPDATE December 20, 2020: We have now turned off the fundraising, as we have now raised over $19,000. It is just astounding to us the outpouring of love and support we feel.
Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed or shared our GoFundMe, or shared videos or offered prayers, and good vibes (which mean just as much to us!!). Our dear friends, family, and perfect strangers have now met & surpassed our $10,000 goal for Scott's surgery.
Our virtual concert will continue as we try to come up with a way to give back our love and thanks. Tears are freely flowing. We are so grateful. You can view the entire/updated and most recent videos for this concert on this playlist here:
The virtual benefit concert for my baby Scott's skull surgery continues!
This time, starring his big sis. Here's our version of Count on Me, featuring guest artist, Ella Sparrow. If you feel inspired to share the gofundme, here is the link: https://gf.me/u/y8ngq8
I'm continually amazed at the kindness and generosity of our audience (aka friends, family, and wonderful strangers). Thank you so so much.
Our baby Scott (1 year old) will have a major skull reconstruction surgery next month. In June this year, our sweet baby Scott was diagnosed with Scaphocephaly due to Craniosynostosis (the premature fusion of skull bones). If left uncorrected, the resulting skull shape can restrict blood flow in the brain and cause intracranial pressure as he grows. To correct this, the surgical team makes a huge incision across the top of the head, then they reconstruct the skull bones by removing and cutting/shaping them, and then replace the skull and sew it all up. It's intense. And, we of course want the absolute best care possible for him, which involves going to a surgeon that is out of network with our insurance, and traveling from Chicago to Dallas. While we realize that we are more fortunate than many, Covid has significantly impacted us financially this year.
For more details please see our Go Fund Me Link. We are so grateful for any help with sharing and spreading the news: http://gf.me/u/y8jzv3
His surgery will be in just over 3 weeks from now, and in gratitude to our friends and family for their support and prayers-- and also in an effort to raise awareness about Cranio, I will be offering a virtual (ongoing) benefit concert for Scott's surgery leading up to Dec 8.
These will be short one-song videos compiled into a youtube playlist, that are uplifting, peaceful, and soothing in nature. I plan to release a new video every couple few days or so. (Singing these pieces also helps ease my own anxiety!)
We also would love to help in anyway we can to increase awareness for this condition and educate others so they can watch for it among the babies in their lives as well.
Notoriously this condition goes by undetected by pediatricians. (We are so grateful for the one who thought Scott may need to see a specialist/neurosurgeon to be properly diagnosed.....after three other pediatricians missed the signs altogether.) So we welcome ANY questions about all things related to this. It's not awkward for us to talk about at all. :) I will be sharing the gofundme link with a new song attached each time.
We are so grateful for your prayers and support at this time!
This short and sweet french art song is called "L'heure Exquise" by Reynaldo Hahn. Text below-
English Translation: Richard Stokes
The white moon
Gleams in the woods;
From every branch
There comes a voice
Beneath the boughs...
O my beloved.
The pool reflects,
Of the black willow
Where the wind is weeping...
Let us dream, it is the hour.
A vast and tender
Seems to fall
From the sky
The moon illumines...
I had a nice time putting this together with my sweet 3 year old girl, (and my baby boy's sleeping cameo)...please remember that in difficult times, you'll never walk alone, as long as you have hope and the ones you love near you. Blessings to those who have lost a loved one. We pray for you always.
Make a face shield for yourself or others at home with materials you already have!
2 or 2.5 liter CLEAR (unscratched) plastic bottle - WHEN REMOVING LABEL, Sometimes the label sticks/residue stays on the plastic.
That's ok- You want to CUT that part off, so that the clear plastic remaining, becomes the shield.
Strong scissors (quilting scissors work great)
clear tape - high quality duct tape works well.
Headbands or Elastic, or even large rubber bands could work.
Instructions - Please follow instructions in the 3 min video~ if you are trying to produce A LOT of face shields, the most important detail is then to make sure that you allow the bottle to stay rounded when you cut the 2.5-3 inch wide gap and make the face shape...it needs to be curved enough that the bottle will stay sealed around the face.
This DIY solution is perhaps even more effective than other face shields, because it easily seals completely onto your face. It's a hard sell for a hospital to use maybe, but it works GREAT on the home front, and especially since there is no shortage of pop bottles in our country. And what a way to be environmentally friendly!
Stay Healthy! #ThinkOutsideYourBox rachelsparrow.com/blog
Go to: A Warning about Elderberry & Vit D - 7 Immunity building tips for Viruses
Go to: 33 Tips for Being Squeaky Clean while out ? # 9 is brilliant & easy!
Important Note: I am not a doctor, and am not attempting to give medical advice. You should always talk to your practitioner for individual guidance. The following are general recommendations from health practitioners regarding all coronaviruses, flus, and the common cold. These strategies assist our body's immune system to fight colds and viruses of all kinds.
I wanted to share this warning, for any
of my friends who might think,
"Oh no! I'm coughing! Quick!
Let's load up on Elderberry syrup!"
This might not be the best idea.
"Accumulating evidence suggests that a subgroup of patients with severe COVID-19 might have a cytokine storm syndrome." see source
This is not a 'weather' prediction, but a sort of flurry or "storm" of your immune system which can happen when your body is experiencing a serious viral infection. See the Medical Dictionary definition here.
My Integrative medicine doctor explained to me, that Elderberry may in fact work AGAINST you when symptoms occur for COVID-19.
The same warning may also be true for: Vitamin D, (too much of it, as it can accumulate over time) Echinacea, Mushroom Extracts, and Larch arabinogalactan (this is a starch-like chemical that is found in many plants, but it is found in highest concentrations in Larch trees, see other common names)
So - the directive here is, Elderberry is fine and even GOOD as a preventative, and is a helpful measure to help boost your immune system. However once you have symptoms for ANY illness right now, (due to the lack of widespread tests) to be cautious, discontinue the use of Elderberry, Echinacea, or Mushroom Extracts, Larch, or supplemental Vitamin D (see details on the PDF below).
My Doctor referred me to: The Andrew Weill Center for Integrative Medicine, where they have provided the following explanation: (See topic "IM Strategies for COVID-19): "People want integrative strategies to augment public health measures to prevent COVID-19 infection and associated pneumonia. Unfortunately, no integrative measures have been validated in human trials. Notwithstanding, this is an opportune time to be proactive. Using available in-vitro evidence, an understanding of the virulence of COVID-19, as well as data from similar, but different, viruses, click/download below to read the strategies to consider."
I have included their PDF viewable below: & You can also download it here.
Here's 7 additional helpful tips for fighting off viruses:
1. SALINE NOSE RINSING or Nasal Irrigation
There is evidence to suggest that saline nose rinsing (such as with a neti pot) can decrease the duration of viral illness, such as the common cold. You may choose to incorporate this into your squeaky clean new habits for when you return home from any public place. Be sure to follow directions about using only distilled water + saline (NEVER use tap water).
HOW TO DO IT:
For Adults and older kids: watch this video produced by the Mayo Clinic
For toddlers or babies- Be sure to watch the adult video above, and THEN also my instructions & video here. Its an amazing way to help a congested baby or toddler sleep better, and is the most effective snot-clearing method I've ever seen.
(yes soooo much better than nosa frieda or the bulb syringe!)
A friend once asked me, "Why don't you just blow your nose?" ...After experiencing the joys and relief of nasal rinsing on the regular- I can assure you, it's not the same.
I can blow my nose until I'm blue in the face, and then directly afterward do a nasal rinse, and see all kinds of gunk come out of my face when I'm sick or fighting something off. Just to be clear, this is not the same thing as spritzing saline spray up into your nasal passages. Nasal rinsing, or irrigation actually uses the water flow to push the mucous out.
INSTANT RELIEF! You feel lighter, clean, and clear. And you will be so grossed out and weirdly fascinated at the same time as to what comes out (especially when you're sick) that you might get hooked, and want to do it every day, (or be like the people described in this article who watch it on youtube all the time) for every cold or even allergy season! It also helps reduce post-nasal drip, (which can cause irritations in your throat) thereby minimizing coughing. (so important for those of us needing to protect our voice!)
Many people are freaked out at first by the prospect of pouring saline thru their nose...You will not drown! Just relax, the first few times can be interesting, but follow directions by keeping mouth open and breathing normally, until you find the right angle/head tilt for it to just flow.
*Some may say, why do this? why not just take a decongestant? ...My response is this, If your body is producing mucous, that means it must be trying to get rid of something, right? ...why on earth would you want to stop that practice - and halt your body's NATURAL response to getting rid of infection? ...nope. So much nope. Don't dry up your body's natural response - it's trying to do the right thing. Help your body out by doing Nasal Rinsing- and get that clearer feeling in your sinuses after a nice nasal rinse!
2. Vitamin C, Zinc, (if you can find it) - there's tons of info out there about these two so I won't elaborate. Zinc is incredible and particularly recommended as an advantageous supplement for Covid-19, so far, any way.
AND THE BEST KEPT SECRET EVER AWARD goes to:
3. Oregano oil -This stuff burns and tastes AWFUL, so, (using a mirror!), carefully do two drops under both sides of the tongue, try to avoid the taste buds on the top side of your tongue at all costs. ...Don't trust your friend/room mate/or spouse to do it for you either. If you drop too many drops in, you don't want to have anyone but yourself to blame for that horrid experience. (which is bad enough with just two) Bleeeeghhhh.
Once you do the drops, tilt your head upwards to let it run back, to get down your throat faster. Don't eat or drink anything for a little while afterwards to maximize effectiveness. Oregano oil has antiviral & antibacterial properties and effectively assists your immune system in "zapping" the infection. You can do this once or twice a day. Then, when you feel that tickle in your throat, or first sign of infection- do it as often as you can stand - several times a day or throughout the night. This is safe for pregnant women too. (I used it a lot while pregnant, per Integrative Medicine doctor's advice). It really is something you have to experience to believe how much it helps. I know for a fact has helped me stop colds in their tracks before they gain any traction.
4. FRESH GINGER TEA (see multiple uses in photo):
Making your own FRESH Ginger tea in a large batch for the week, is super easy.
1. Start a large pot of water (like a gallon or so) on the stove and get it boiling.
2. Using a potato peeler, or even a butter knife, quickly peel a 2-3 inch chunk of ginger root.
3. Grate it up into small little bits.
4. Drop the ginger bits into the water to boil for 10-15 mins
5. Let it the ginger water cool to at least lukewarm temperature before continuing
6. Use a fine strainer (or a coffee filter also works) to pour the water through into another container to extract the larger chunks of ginger fibers floating around, then you have your yellow liquid large batch for ginger tea
7. Place this liquid in a larger gallon pitcher and place into the fridge. (It's good like this for about a week.)
8. Pour out your Ginger tea base into your cup, dilute if needed, add lemon and honey to suit your taste, and heat in a microwave (be careful not to over-heat) ...but I find that (with my microwave anyway) 60 seconds is just about right to heat it up to a nice tea temperature (if it was cold from the fridge) by the cup.
Once you've made this...Now what?
Drink a LARGE glass of it each night before bed. At the risk of sounding gross, here's what I like to do: I make the ginger tea as strong as I can stand (so I don't dilute it much) ...add lots of lemon and honey...make it nice and hot, but "gulpable", if that makes sense. Gulping a few gulps at a time, even though it is strong, helps me clear the mucous draining down the very back of the throat...by then hacking it out, and spitting. ...it's effective. :) So, I will make a tall glass, sit down to watch a show, or read - and throughout the duration of the show, for example... "Gulp, Gulp, Gulp" ...and Spit. ...Repeat every so often during the show until your tall glass is gone...helpful to have the waste basket right next to you.
5. HYDRATE -- A good rule of thumb, is to never let your throat feel dry.
Try to drink some water every 15-20 mins to achieve this
Your urine should be as clear as possible.
Carrying a water bottle around with you is a good practice
(a staple among professional singers like me) .
Set a glass of water by your bedside.
Add a humidifier to your sleeping and living spaces. (Unless you already live in a very humid environment)
Make sure you have enough electrolytes (Coconut water without extra sugars is great for this) and are eating plenty of fruits/veggies or soups to increase hydration.
6. Thieves' Oil - Also has antiviral properties. I like to diffuse this in the air whenever anyone is sick at home. Some people take it internally on the regular. DoTerra's "Onguard" is the same thing as Thieves Oil. You can use it topically to kill germs. Worked for 15th century thieves, so they could steal from people who were dying from the Bubonic plague. Morbid, I know.
7. Perhaps most important: DE-STRESSING! Our immune systems work best when they are not stressed. Try Chamomile for a nice calming tea, it's my favorite. (and it's also on their detailed list when you look into the PDF above!) - Also, if you are suffering from Anxiety related to any of all of the uncertainty around us right now, please see this amazing list of resources for coping.
This doesn't count as a "tip"
because everyone should really know this already...but: SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPP!!!!!!!!
(Like my baby boy in the picture! )
- This is your body's time to rebuild and fight off 'all the things' and reset. Make it a priority. Not always easy to do. I have evaded many many colds, simply by SLEEPING A LOT at the first sign of a cold or infection. Its PROVEN by SOOO many studies that this is esssential to allowing your body's immune system to do it's job. See above document for more on this, including the research behind this!
At the very first symptom...I always try cancel for a day (sometimes two) and take a solid nap, or make sure I get to bed early that night. It's pretty easy to do really. Think of the alternative (which is what so many people do!) They push through, ignoring their body's signals that it is fighting an infection - and then, "oh no!" surprise, we are super sick and need to cancel everything for a few days anyway, (or should) but this time, we just feel way worse.
It is amazing what adequate rest can do to regenerate and boost your immunity!
Lastly but most importantly, as always, EATING HEALTHILY, is the best practice. None of the above strategies can replace the bottom line of eating good food! I always try to "eat a rainbow" at every meal that I can. Lots of colors on your plate is a very good thing.
As the detailed PDF above states, particularly good in your diet right now are:
fruits and veggies, onions, apples, organs, tomatoes, nuts, berries, chamomile, licorice, parsley, celery, and licorice root, and chinese skullcap.
Limit your sugar intake, exercise, limit caffeine intake, minimize (or cut out) alcohol consumption, minimize stress and anxiety the best you can ...and right now would be a GREAT time for anyone to quit smoking/vaping/anything...ever.
Stay Healthy! #ThinkOutsideYourBox rachelsparrow.com/blog
Go to: 33 Tips for Being Squeaky Clean while out ? # 9 is brilliant & easy!
Or do you want to know how to stay positive about social distancing?
Read My Letter To My Friends & Family.
Are you trying to protect yourself or someone you love who may be vulnerable to COVID-19? Make some new habits!
I'm a professional germophobe! Err, I mean, professional classical singer. We've been doing this stuff for years, since getting a cold is detrimental in our profession. I asked a few of my singer colleagues to help me out with this list. Help us make it even better!
Once I have the complete list, I can email it out to everyone- so they can post it in public places!
These practices are NOT in any way a guaranteed way to keep you from spreading viruses. These are just creative ways to think about how to be more careful than ever before, to make a better world. Stay Home, Save Lives. Only leave your home if absolutely necessary.
Follow all CDC guidelines.
My views are my own.
Do you know someone that needs to understand why we are social distancing?
Feel free to show them the letter I wrote to my family and friends.
Also see: 7 Immunity Boosting Ideas for COVID-19, and a Warning about Elderberry
WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly for at least 20 seconds! Learn how to properly wash your hands
(many people are actually doing this uselessly when they do it, and not often enough!)
and NEVER TOUCH YOUR FACE! At least, try not to. When you do have to touch your face, wash your hands first.
The nasty little virus droplets enter in through your nose, mouth, and eyes. Please be a responsible global citizen. All ideas here are meant to be supplemental to the guidelines as outlined by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at www.cdc.gov.
HOW LONG CAN THE VIRUS LAST ON SURFACES?
"New research from the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, broke down how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on different surfaces. And while these results could be affected by temperature, humidity, UV light, and wind, it's a reminder of how easily the virus can spread. Luckily, the virus isn't airborne. But it can linger in droplets on particles in the air. The study found that viruses could last up to three hours in droplets in the air. Maintaining a distance of six feet from other people can help avoid particles spread through a cough or a sneeze.
On copper surfaces, like a drawer handle, the virus can last up to four hours.
While researchers found that the virus can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, the CDC believes packages or mail are unlikely to transmit the virus.
COVID-19 appears to last the longest on plastic and stainless steel, two to three days. That's longer than the flu can live on surfaces, according to the CDC. Nonporous surfaces seem to allow the virus to survive longer." (Like your phone!)
Write down every scenario. (I would really encourage you to physically write it down, because that often helps us to really think it through, and remember it)
Brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, Eating, rubbing eyes, rubbing/picking your nose (ick!), putting on any makeup, wiping sweat off your brow, biting your nails due to anxiety because -life (don't bite your nails!!!) ...when you're thinking, or 'staring off into the distance', or reading...when you have an itch or irritant.
Exercise #2: Likewise, "What do I touch a lot?" Make a list. Things like computer keyboards, PHONES, desk surfaces, handles, railings, for us musicians- the piano keys and music stand etc… these are the things that need regular cleanings.
Try “practicing” this by challenging yourself to move around your home for 5-10 mins at a time without touching anything with your hands. Use this skill when you have to go to an appointment or anything outside of your home. Walk into the rooms/places, without touching anything.
Exercise #3: You miiiiight have a bit more time right now to watch movies, TV, youtube or whatever else. ...With all that free time and binge-watching, do it with a purpose!
So while you are watching the next show - Watch it with a pen and paper beside you - And jot down every time that you see a person on the screen touch their face.
- Plan your route, if you're going out, and make lists for what you need. Minimize your footprints (and HAND prints!) outside your home as much as possible
- Best advice: Don’t go around afraid of contracting the virus, just pretend like you already have it and you are trying to protect the vulnerable from getting it. If you DO have the virus, for heaven sake's don’t go anywhere unless it’s a medical reason.
- Have separate shoes for inside your home, and leave the “outside” shoes outside your door, if you have an entryway, alternatively, you can clean the soles of your shoes with some disinfectant. Some cultures use separate shoes for JUST their bathrooms, too. Makes sense.
- Don't shake hands.For now, stay at least 6 ft away from everyone.
- Don’t eat finger foods with your fingers. This is sandwiches, burgers, fries, chips, snacks, and the like …OR make sure that your hands are completely clean before doing so! Then, AFTER you eat, WASH THEM AGAIN! (you touched your mouth and you don't want to spread to others)
- Tissues (or a hankie/rag) to avoid skin to skin contact and if you feel a sneeze coming on. That’s the best practice. Secondarily – sneezing into your elbow. Make sure your elbow actually BLOCKS the sneeze.
- Regularly wash towels (every day!) from your bathroom and kitchen areas… have a separate towel for clean hands after washing hands, than the ones you shower with.
- Here's a detailed video on how to safely bring groceries or takeout items home.
- Wear a sweater, long sleeved shirt, or jacket, or gloves (not the medical grade kind! I mean like warm gloves) so that you can avoid pulling open doors or flipping light switches, or touching railings with your bare hand. Then if you had to use them with gloves - you should stick your gloves in their bag - and wash them... Washing your hands after handling them.
- Sanitize your phone multiple times per day. OR – while out of your home, put your phone in a wet bag (they make these designed for underwater use -designed for your phone), every time you go out, use and operate your phone from the wet bag, the idea is that the bag is easier to disinfect, and just remove your phone from the bag once you're home. Wet bags often come with a cord or something crossbody so you can wear it outside your clothes or pockets.
- Carry around your own pen for signing things like receipts, and keep a pencil inside a ziplock bag in your purse or pocket…. Use the pencil tip to touch any touch screens, ATMs, elevator buttons, and signing screens at checkouts, then after each use -sanitize the tip of your pencil (or don’t if you don’t have sanitizer) but return it to your ziplock bag…then, the zip lock bag needs to be swapped out! In a pinch, without a pencil- I use my pinkie to sign a screen (or to touch anything that can’t be touched by my elbow) and tuck my pinkie into my palm (in an uncomfortable way to remind me I can't un-clench it and touch anything else, until I have washed my hand.
- Sanitizer isn’t always the most optimal way to clean your hands – fyi, washing your hands for 20 seconds is always better than sanitizer. If you don’t have hand sanitizer there are plenty of DIY hand sanitizer tips out there.
- While we're talking about sanitizer, think about the top part of the sanitizer bottle that gets squeezed...yeah, it probably needs to be wiped too.
- Make a handwashing station in your vehicle - Put a large container of tap water (You could go all out, and buy big 5 gallon kind) ...and a good ol' bar of soap, it's not that difficult to put in the car, easy to give your hands a good rinsing on the go! (For after those gas pumps...!)
- Upon entering your home, immediately take off at least the outer layer of clothes or any particularly “affected” items, and bag them in a garbage sack to wash (if you’re being environmentally friendly, a large laundry sized wet bag would work even better!) and it all goes in the wash. Wash your hands after putting the clothes into the wash.
- To be over the top - Take a shower when you get home, and a nose rinse! I have a blog and video about that for toddlers and kiddos. Nasal rinsing is thought to provide some benefits to shortening the length of a cold. It also feels better!
- Obviously frequently clean all frequently touched items in your home such as: Door handles (on appliances too) Counters, sinks, the flusher on your toilet
- No toilet paper? Purchase a cheap attachable bidet for your toilet. You’d be surprised how easy this is, and it’s so much more hygienic. There are super fancy ones too, if you’d like to go all out. Much of the world has been doing this for ages. And a few of us here in the US are weirdos that love it. There are peri bottles that Squirt upwards and work great for when you're on the go - and they might need to be a more common place item than you would think for your purse, so that when someone has stolen all the toilet paper from the public restroom you're in - you're not going to have to drip dry.
- Definitely don’t touch a gas pump ever with bare hands if you can help it. AND furthermore- don't slather your hands with sanitizer after touching the pump, that just wipes that junk all around. Gross. Wash your hands. Or have an old pair of snow gloves (again, not wasting medical gloves here!) that you keep in your side door of your car, in a bag, just for gas pumps.
- If you can touch something with your elbow (or even knees), instead of your hand – DO it … it’s hard to get your elbow up to your face. …good example is pushing a door open that doesn’t have a handle…you can push it open with the side of your arm instead of your hand. I've done this since before I can remember.
- Thoroughly wash your fruits and veggies (soaking them in a vinegar bath is great or spraying them with veggie cleaner)
- Community laundry? Eek. Maybe figure out an alternative if you’re able to… DIY washer in your tub? Google it. It may be fine - the virus is killed by the detergent, BUT - your clean clothes coming out of the dryer may sweep across a virus-y surface...or someone might touch your stuff.
- FLOORS: This is why your shoe situation is SO important. When people sneeze/cough – those nasty virus droplets fall to the floor …and you walk through it. Don’t let kids play, crawl, or roll around on public floors. In your own home, clean your floors regularly, use natural/safe cleaners if you have little ones and pets.
- Be mindful of what TOUCHES the floor in a public place if it's a dirty one and COMES UP to counter and table top level- Water bottles, toys, backpacks, books, toys, etc
- Pets – Wash your hands before and after playing/touching/snuggling your pet…they can have all kinds of wonderful things on their fur/face/feet. Also, the verdict seems to still be out on whether this virus can be spread back to pets, or domestic animals, livestock, etc. Since the origin of the virus was probably from an animal. Regardless, your pet is a “surface” just like your hands or anything else.
- If you have littles that are crawling around…maybe re-think this…create a space/room or otherwise that is pet-free (think of pet’s paws and where they have been!) And/or damp-mop ceramic or hard wood floors with hot water and vinegar or other natural cleaners so that babies aren’t crawling in harsh chemicals (but all that was true before COVID-19!)
- The virus can last 2-3 DAYS on metal and plastic surfaces…. Metal/plastic playgrounds may not be a good idea for the littles. In fact – probably forego those altogether…find a field or a hill or something… climb trees? :)
- Packages or Mail from the outside – one strategy: put them in the same spot every time you bring in a package. Try to minimize the surface area of where you contact the package with your hands or fingers. Then, after opening the package, WASH YOUR HANDS! Another strategy, is to leave packages/mail alone in a dedicated/closed off space for the night, and open them after the virus can has had the appropriate amount of time to "die" off. See how long the virus lasts on surfaces here.
- If you have cuts or scratches on your hands -cover them with bandaids before leaving home.
- A few drops of lavender in your hand lotion will help to heal chapping or scratches on your hands to heal faster… calendula or coconut oil could help too.
- Disinfect your vehicle’s steering wheel and doors/handles and when you come home, your house's door handles
- If using public transportation…don’t touch ANYTHING. Agh.
- KIDS - Wiping your kids faces...wash your hands - wash THEIR hands...better yet just spray them off before coming back into your home with the hose and soap (kidding, not kidding).
- What else? #ThinkOutsideYourBox via social media (Instagram or Facebook) to complete this list, or comment in the add field below.
Also - this is a nice article detailing why everything I outlined above is not just "OCD behavior", but SUPER IMPORTANT AND VITAL behavior right now!
Do you know someone that needs to understand social distancing? Feel free to show them the letter I wrote to my family and friends. No politics, just good sources and positivity!
Or Go To: 7 Immunity Boosting Ideas for COVID-19, and a Warning about Elderberry
It's always been like that, and it is difficult to sift through. I sifted through it, to provide a narrative of what's most important, with solid sources and no politics.
I have four main points:
1. Share what I have found to be most relevant related to COVID-19
2. Why it's dangerous to say "we should be more worried about the flu" or ignoring media coverage surrounding it
3. ACTION: How to be a responsible global citizen i.e. social distancing
4. Messages of hope, positivity, ideas for us to strengthen, and help each other.
This is not a political post.
My views are my own.
Dear Friends and Family,
Everyone is entirely
capable of sifting through
the news and current situation.
It can be overwhelming though.
This is meant to be a helpful narrative with good sources all in one spot.
The reader should interactively click on sources as they go along. I have personally benefited when others share their perspectives, and so I wish to share mine - devoid of politics and debate, and with positive energy asserted into it.
So thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.
With love, -Rach
I was preoccupied with the business of life, and in the mindset of "Oh, this COVID-19 stuff is probably awful, but the media, as usual, is blowing everything way out of proportion" and I was turned off to it all. I expected this to be like every other epidemic that felt so far away, and largely didn't affect my daily routine.
I heard rumors surrounding the panicking and hoarding that began with all the toilet paper/hand sanitizer etc. and 'Black Friday' behaviors. I moved right along with life as normal. I thought I was informed on what I needed to be, and I was thinking "These crazies are over-reacting." I was also tired of all the politics mixed up in it, which was off-putting. And then, someone shared the interview below, I watched it- and I realized things were much different than I thought I knew. I scoured the best media sources to learn more. I knew I had to act. I immediately sent messages off to my daughter's preschool as quickly as I could, that I was withdrawing her from class (before schools closed)...and I detailed to them, (basically a shorter version of this blog post) providing reasons and sources as to why I was choosing to do what I was doing, and why I thought everyone else should too.
I teach nearly 20 hours of private voice, violin, and piano studio students in my home each week. If I don't teach them, I don't make that income. -I canceled all of them. And my husband was officially working from home by Thursday, once he got back from his business trip to DC (travel, I know! We are self-isolating now, just in case).
As if on cue, my three year old daughter started to cough on the same day of my realization. *( She coughed before my husband got home FYI, and a week later now, my daughter is still coughing, not a dry cough or fever....and otherwise fine - we will not get tested unless medically necessary as per the current guidelines of the CDC, and I notified my studio of students).
SO - Here we go!
Firstly, what's in a name?
I didn't initially realize there were so many names being thrown around, or why. So, FYI: the actual virus has a name, and the disease it causes has a name.
So when people call this "THE Coronavirus", that's actually not quite right. See clarification on that below. If you don't care about names - skip this section. :-)
In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ (meaning "crown" in Latin) ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
"Coronaviruses are actually large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illnesses in people, but many of them do not. Most of the coronaviruses that make people sick usually only cause mild respiratory disease, similar to the common cold.
The new coronavirus that is causing alarm officially is named SARS-CoV-2, but it also is known as 2019 novel coronavirus. It is called novel because it hasn’t been seen in human beings before. It first was identified in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Because the virus is new, the investigation of it is evolving rapidly and being updated frequently. The disease the virus causes is known as coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19 for short. You may see the virus referred to as the COVID-19 virus. " (Excerpted from RUSH MEDICAL CENTER'S WEBPAGE, CHICAGO, IL)
1. They believe that it is possible to have the virus and also spread it to others while not experiencing any symptoms, whatsoever. This contributes significantly to it's ability to spread.
2. Since widespread testing is not available yet, you truly might be carrying it around and have no clue, RIGHT now. You may have even already had it...it can be mistaken easily for a cold or flu-like illness. However, it can develop into something much more serious, for the vulnerable portion of our population.
3. Thankfully, Little children seem to have such robust immune systems that this virus has little effect on them, and it mostly results in a mild illness. They can still spread it.
4. Without proper social distancing measures taken, this can spread exponentially from a small number of cases to the thousands in a matter of days. Why? It is a new strain, and no human is immune to this COVID-19 Virus until they have had it.
5. There's another myth floating around out there saying that once our hemisphere warms up, it will go away, which has been addressed by the CDC as up in the air, because the virus is so new, we don't really have an answer for that yet.
So here are a few of my favorite sources that simply cut to the chase, first and foremost, this graphic, explained in the source directly beneath it.
See this article - to fully understand the graphic above.
1. Flattening a Pandemics Curve - Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives
Then glance through this, to see it in action:
2.SUPER COOL VISUAL Simulator that show how social distancing really works.
Understand what it's like at the hospital:
4. See inside an ICU Unit for COVID-19
5. Here's an infection tracker for confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. -Remember that due to lack of widespread testing at the time of this, these numbers are only the confirmed cases, which means there are potentially many more cases than this, and it spreads extremely well. So please, don't make the mistake of thinking "oh, it's just 3 people in my county" - it's not.
6. This interview with the CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is the one that changed my perspective on EVERYTHING. It's with Dr. Richard Hatchett, from March 6, 2020. I found his interview to be the most informative and clarifying.
-The potential of this virus and what could happen if we don't nip it in the bud (social distancing and avoiding community spread of the virus).
-Clarifies what the differences are between this virus and the flu. Including an explanation that it is at LEAST 10 times more deadly than the flu, for those who contract COVID-19.
-The difficulties to creating a vaccine. The earliest timeline turnaround for a vaccine would take at least 12-18 months, and how, when it is available, it will only be prioritized to the people that are most vulnerable. I highly recommend listening to him speak on this, (it's roughly 20 mins long).
What is our responsibility as Global Citizens?
Be informed. Encourage and pressure your peers to do the same.
And encourage them to stay put. See Cancel Everything.
Please read this address given in my Highland Park, IL community (Chicago suburb) by Dr. Mia Levy on Thursday, March 12, 2020 (She gave permission to share it, and anyone may use any verbiage from this to put the pressure on in their own communities and institutions and businesses to cancel everything):
- The link to her original post, "A Message of Hope" restated here:
My fellow parents, members of the board, and school administrators, I speak to you tonight, not with a message of fear, but with a message of hope.
My name is Mia Levy and I am the parent of two District 112 students. I am a physician and the director of the Rush University Cancer Center. My statements tonight are not made as an official representative of my healthcare organization, but as a fellow member of our beloved community, and out of a deep sense of obligation and hope.
This week, the Illinois governor declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19, and as of this afternoon, there have been 32 confirmed cases in the Chicago area. Analysis from the World Health Organization indicates that each person infected with COVID-19 transmits the disease to more people than for seasonal influenza, and the rate of severe and critical cases is also higher than for the seasonal flu. The elderly and immuno-compromised are at highest risk for severe or critical cases of COVID-19.
Now is not the time for complacency. It is time for decisive action. Our school district is faced with the need to make a timely decision to close our schools that could dramatically impact the health of our entire community. Your actions will save lives—maybe not yours or your kids’, but maybe your kids’ grandparents, your coworkers, and others in your communities, schools, and congregations.
In speaking with friends and family, many express a sense of defeat. They anticipate that each of us will inevitably get COVID-19, and that changing any of our regular routines would be pointless. I am here to tell you loudly and confidently that this does not need to be the destiny of our community.
There is strong evidence from past epidemics and lessons from COVID-19 so far, that early implementation of social distancing measures can significantly mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
Social distancing limits the spread of disease by keeping people from congregating in large groups. This includes keeping people out of settings like schools, work, and shopping centers where they are together closely for an extended period of time. Another aim is to avoid mass gatherings like concerts, movies, religious services, and sporting events. When out in public, maintain a distance of about six feet apart from one other.
Evidence shows that the earlier social distancing measures are taken during an epidemic, the more lives can be saved. In the 1918 flu pandemic, Philadelphia waited 14 days to take broad social distancing measures, whereas St. Louis took immediate action. The death rates in Philadelphia peaked at 250 per 100,000 people overwhelming the capacity of their healthcare system. In contrast, St. Louis peaked at 50 per deaths per 100,000 people, significantly limiting the impact on their community.
Similarly, during this current COVID-19 outbreak, countries like Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong took early social distancing measures resulting in a significantly lower rate of transmission. Italy on the other hand took 16 days to take sweeping action at the cost of a rapidly rising rate of transmission throughout Europe.
Aggressive social distancing measures may seem extreme to some people. But human nature is often difficult to overcome. A Missouri father and his family were under self-quarantine after one of his children tested positive for COVID-19. He broke quarantine to attend a father-daughter dance with another one of his children, risking exposure to his entire community and resulting in the school’s closure. I can imagine the burden of this father’s decision, not wanting to disappoint his child who was not sick but instructed not to attend this very special event, breaking his previous commitment to her. Social distancing measures strive to help people by eliminating these day-to-day decisions, by canceling social events to prevent people from congregating in large groups.
Closing schools will have a major ripple effect on all other activities in our community. It is the strongest signal we can send to other organizations that now is the time to act broadly to implement social distancing measures in our community.
I encourage you to rise up and be part of the solution and this message of hope. Petition our schools to close earlier than later, postpone birthday parties and I dare say Mitzvah events, reach out to your children’s sporting event commissions and encourage them to cancel or postpone sports competitions, cancel work and personal travel including your spring break plans, implement work from home plans for you and your employees, encourage those over 60 and with medical conditions to stay home and check on them regularly.
As a physician leader whose is responsible for safeguarding the well-being of my vulnerable patient population and the healthcare professionals committed to caring for them, I believe the strongest message of hope I can give tonight for them is to encourage you to act now to be part of the solution. Close our schools.
- Mia Levy, MD, PhD
So, what else should we do?
It can be pretty easy to feel helpless. Empower yourself with knowledge.
If you have not already done so, please take the time to read and learn everything there is to know from the most comprehensively reputable resources that our government provides us with for EXACTLY times like these at:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov (Nation-wide)
The World Health Organization at: www.who.int (World-wide)
Firstly, you need to understand what your personal risk factor (or anyone else that you live with or love!) of contracting aserious or critical illness with this virus. You might be surprised to learn what is there. Age, asthma, diabetes, weakened immune systems, smoking, and other underlying health issues all play a huge factor with this virus.
Secondly, you also need to know what to do if/when you or your family fall ill with the virus. DO NOT just walk in to any urgent care, or doctor's office. Call the hotlines, find out how to proceed - all of this is covered on the websites in depth.
Explore these sites. Learn how to properly wash your hands, (for real, though). Especially check out their myth-busting lists. There are some seriously shameful things out there circulating about this. Don't fan those flames.
LEARN FROM OTHERS- DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES
My heart hurts for the other countries experiencing the outbreak. Since Italy did not take Social Distancing measures soon enough, or seriously enough, it's been reported that they have had to experience something similar to a war-like atmosphere for those who are dying, because their healthcare system is overloaded and overflowing. It is horrific. Thinking about it is hard to imagine.
Some may say - "Isn't it bad to share stories like this and thus incite panicking? ...My feeling is, NO. People need to hear and understand the gravity of the situation. I do not believe we should censor ANYTHING coming out of Italy, or anywhere else right now. We should be listening to them. We should pray for them, we should cry with them. And learn from it.
These kinds of stories, as sad as they are, are all around us, all the time - why is it - that as soon as they may DIRECTLY affect us (such as what's occurring now) we suddenly want to turn a blind eye? Perhaps it is a coping mechanism for our stress and anxiety. (see: RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY RELATED TO COVID-19 )
Here are the current numbers in Italy (as the above facebook post was a week ago)
Let's hear the latest from this Doctor in Lombardy, Italy:
STOP THE PANIC
It should go without saying, that everyone should stop participating in debating, finger pointing, blaming, panicking, and hoarding. And furthermore - we each should be responsible enough to not stoke those fires.
Be kind. Help and love those around you. We are all in this together and everyone has different stresses that are spiking all the time at different times.
My favorite viewpoint that has been shared all over now - is to go about your days, not as if you are afraid of getting the virus...but to go about your days as if you already have it, and you want to protect the vulnerable from catching it.
Our bodies know what to do with viruses, as long as your immune system is not overtired or stressed, if you stay hydrated, and do 'all the things' you should have an easier time fighting off the infection, when/if you get it. If you're worried about your loved ones - share information with them, empower them as well. (That is what prompted me to compile this!)
Here is a personal account from Dr. Braden Hexom in the Chicagoland area, on the front lines here fighting to take care of people. The most distressing part is that they are already feeling overwhelmed, and this is just the beginning. If we do our part now, to stay home - these professionals will be able to do their jobs.
What else can we do?
- Wash Your Hands and establish new habits, for when you are out- on this list!
-Pass along local useful information to your families, assist anyone you know in the medical community and public service workers- do whatever you can for them, they are true heroes.
-Brainstorming, and acting on other ways to help your neighbors and communities.
-Socially pressure everyone around you to stop congregating and meeting together!
Silver Linings - Stay Positive and Hopeful
When someone you know starts to complain about cancellations, or becomes negative and discouraged, be positive and supporting. If someone thinks the whole thing is a conspiracy, big joke, or a hoax, please guide them to see the the bigger goal here- it is to flatten the curve and save lives. Negativity is always a waste of energy. Energy that you need to keep your immune system strong, and your soul well-nourished.
We all need to slow down. (Myself included!)Take this time to reset.
Last night, my 4.5 month old son belly laughed for the first time, and I caught it on video...It's "infectious" :) Have a good laugh.
I will leave you with the most beautiful messages that I've come across, this one is nice: Use Coronavirus to Reset
And this musing as well:
"There is so much fear about COVID-19.
And, what if...
If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work...
That all is interconnected. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
the virus is here to help us? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What is truly important.
Reconnecting with family and community.
Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.
Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.
Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time).
Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.
An invitation to turn inwards -- a deep meditation -- rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe.
To reconnect with self -- what is really important to me?
A reset economically. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The working poor. The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million in the US.
The need for paid sick leave. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How hard does one need to work to be able to live, to have a life outside of work?
And, washing our hands -- how did that become a "new" thing that we needed to remember. But, yes, we did. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The presence of Grace for all. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There is a shift underway in our society -- what if it is one that is favorable for us?
What if this virus is an ally in our evolution? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/ more kind to our environment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It was time for a change, we all knew that.
And, change has arrived. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What if... "
Lastly, use this time to reflect on your beliefs, and what matters most to you
I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Which of course has suspended all in-person meetings and activities worldwide)... this talk, given nearly ten years ago by an apostle of the Lord, President Uchtdorf, has a whole new meaning right now--- "Of Things That Matter Most".
He makes wonderful analogies of how Nature, and Laws of Physics can teach us some lessons in life about slowing down, and remembering what is most important. It is a message that relates well to ANYONE, no matter your beliefs, and I encourage you to watch it.
My testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is what anchors me through troubled, and turbulent times. Do whatever it is that you need to do in your life, to connect with God, Mother Nature, The Divine Energy or Intelligence, or the Universe, or whatever floats your boat and gets you centered and focused on the real things, like baby giggles, and less of the superficiality that our (dare I say previous?) culture promotes.
To Share on social media, Please use: #ThinkOutsideYourBox
Reflect, Reset, Reconnect, and Rest!
Go to: Squeaky Clean for COVID-19: "Think" Outside Your Box
- Rachel Sparrow
Rachel Sparrow is a professional singer, musician,(violin, piano, ukulele) actor, teacher, arranger, writer, and most importantly: a wife and a mommy of two littles. She loves to help parents make everyday life musical with their kids as well as share backstage stories, and performance experiences here. She earned her Master's degree in Voice Performance from Northwestern University, and also holds two Bachelor's degrees in Voice, and Music Education (certified to teach k-12 vocal & instrumental music) from Idaho State University. She is also a certified Music Together Director (music class for birth-5 yrs). See about Rachel.
"Think Outside Your Box" means 3 things:
1. Be Selfless - think beyond your own "box". (and for singers, there's more to life than your voice box!) You're capable of helping and healing others.
2. Feel Empowered to bust out of the proverbial
"box" made of societally-induced-parameters.
3. Be Bold. Innovate. Stretch yourself. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.