COVID-19 Immunity Protocols: An Interview with Dan Stickler, MD

COVID-19 Immunity Protocols: An Interview with Dan Stickler, MD

What follows is a transcript for the podcast: COVID-19: Immunity Protocols

Keeping Ourselves Healthy

Heather Sandison, ND: Welcome to Collective Insights. I'm joined today by Dr. Daniel Stickler, and we've got some big stuff to cover. The world is not the same place that it was even just a week ago. So Dr. Stickler, what are you telling your patients?

Dan Stickler, MD: Well, the first thing I'm telling them is, this is not the apocalypse. This is not the world ending. This is a speed bump in life, right now, and it's probably not the first one we're going to encounter. We're going to be facing stressors like this. They happen randomly. It's not something we generally can predict. So really the best thing that that people can really do is to focus on maintaining good quality health, right now and not wait until an event like this and say, "Oh, I really need to focus on keeping myself healthy."

Heather Sandison, ND: So what are the big components of keeping ourselves healthy, right now? We have discussed some lifestyle and mindset things that are pretty foundational and free and things that you can do from quarantine.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, I was joking with somebody and I said, "If you want to make some money, invest in preconception stuff right now because in nine months we're going to see a lot of babies coming out."

Heather Sandison, ND: So that's one thing you could do. Could have a lot of sex right now.

Stress and the Immune System

Dan Stickler, MD: That's right. And that's a good stress reliever in and of itself. But when we think about stress and the immune system, stress is a huge impactor and right now, we're not only dealing with the stress of the economy, the stress that's being induced by fear on the social media, but even a change in routine creates stress in the body. And this can be even a vacation. We think of vacations as really calming and good for the stress, but they're really not because they change our routine and that creates a stress response in the body. This, right now, is the perfect storm to really upregulate the stress system of the body, and when the stress system gets upregulated, the immune system gets compromised. And this is why it's so important, right now, to pay attention to those simple lifestyle factors that can create a more thriving state and really upregulate the immune system and keep us in that kind of anti-fragile mode.

Heather Sandison, ND: Right. There was a friend of mine I was talking to and she was staying up really late reading the news and then sleeping in really late in the morning, got really thrown off of her schedule, not taking care of herself, maybe some of the ways that we should be. Right now, especially if there's the potential that we could come down with a virus, whether it kills us or not. Do you have statistics? What are you hearing about mortality rates? It's such a huge question, right now. Who do you think is really at risk based on the information that you have right now knowing that none of us know for sure.

Who is at Risk?

Dan Stickler, MD: Right. A great deal of it is speculation just because one, we don't know how many people have actually been infected because people will get the virus and have mild symptoms and progress through their day and not even pay attention to it, and there's also asymptomatic carriers. But of the diagnosed cases, they're looking at about a two and a half to 3% mortality. And that sounds pretty scary, and it is. When we look at flu mortalities that are around 0.1%, this is pretty significant. And you're also talking about 30 to 40% of the population that they're predicting will be exposed and contract this, but we don't know about those unreported cases.

So the best guess, right now, is that there ... If you're under 50, you've got about a 0.2% chance of mortality with this and it doesn't seem like a lot, but it's still significant relative to like the influenza or something along those lines. Now, when you get into the older age groups and then even in the healthy older age groups, you're still going to increase that risk of mortality. And this is the important point. So people will say, "Well, I'm under 50. I've only got a 0.2% chance. So it's no big deal. I don't have to disrupt my life to do this." But my argument there is we need to think as a community. Think of altruism here. You taking those risks and going out and spreading this further is going to put those people that are in older age groups in a compromised state. People that have chronic health problems, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, they are the ones that are going to be in trouble.

And so this gives us a great opportunity to really exercise community altruistic behavior. And I don't like seeing some of the comments online about how it's not a big deal. This is a big deal. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to other people in the community. So I think it's very important that we pay attention to the recommendations of the public distancing and social isolations.

Lifestyle Components for a Healthy Immune System

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. And so back to social isolation and keeping our stress levels down because of how much that impacts our immune system. Sleeping, getting plenty of sleep, but probably keeping your rhythm as consistent with what it was previously so that it's not too stressful on your body. And then are there coping skills that you're suggesting for people at home?

Dan Stickler, MD: Well, basic lifestyle components. So your sleep, really important. It's really important to get good sleep, right now, and if you do get the infection, sleep is even more. It's something that you want to really focus on and maintain good sleeping habits. Don't be staying up late watching Netflix. Get to bed at a good hour.

You need to think about nutrition. And this is kind of hard right now. We're running into this because the food stores here in Austin are having very low volumes of food that's healthy, I should say. I go to the store and all the fresh vegetables and fruits, they're just gone, and you tend to have to go for the more frozen foods that are sustainable. And so nutrition is also being thrown off. And this again creates stress in the system. So you try to keep the nutrition as stable as you can with what you've been eating regularly.

Then we've got things like exercise and I don't recommend any of my clients go to the gym, right now. And this is important to understand. People will say, "Well, it's a virus and we'll just wipe things down." But what is different with coronavirus than the flu, the flu can sit on nonporous objects for about 24 hours outside the body before it becomes [inaudible] viable. And right now, we just don't know enough about this coronavirus and the estimates, right now, based on some preliminary studies, is it stays viable for three to eight days on surfaces. And this is really important. If you're pressing elevator buttons, if you're grabbing door handles, if you are grabbing gym equipment, all of this stuff, people are bringing this stuff and passing it around so easily because it can persist along outside the body. So it's really important to maintain proper hygiene throughout this whole course of this viral upswing. And going to the gym is, it's hard for people like me because I like going to the gym and it's a stress reliever and suddenly, I can't do that.

So we've actually been talking to our clients about some exercises that they can do at home to maintain their current fitness level. A lot of body weight exercises can be done. I was fortunate enough that we recently got an X3 bar, so I've got something that I can add some decent resistance to it. So if you have bands or a Pilates system, anything like that, that can keep you focused.

How to do Social Isolation

Heather Sandison, ND: What about going outside? So I think this is more of a gray area and there's a lot of questions around this. But I, personally, I'm going outside for a run or down to the beach for a walk, hiking. As long as you're not in contact with other people, I think a little dose of sunshine and fresh air is probably also very good for your immune system.

Dan Stickler, MD: I agree completely on that. I live right the river in Austin and it's funny because there's not many people out. I can go out for a run or a walk and don't encounter many people. And that's the key is you don't want to be somewhere where you're going to encounter a group of people. And when you do go out, just don't touch stuff. Just go out, come back in, make sure you wash your hands really well, wash your face, and then just go about your life. Isolation doesn't mean that you have to hole up inside your apartment or your home. You can get outside and still enjoy those aspects of life. You don't have to lock yourself in a closet somewhere and think that that's the way to do this.

Heather Sandison, ND: Just outside, but not congregating outside.

Dan Stickler, MD: Correct.

Can People be Reinfected with Coronavirus?

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. And so another big question, that I think is weighing, certainly, on the epidemiologist's minds these days, is can you be reinfected? Have you seen any good data in the last couple of days about whether or not ... I know there were some reports out of China saying people who had had COVID-19 were testing positive again, and we don't really know is that some fault in the testing? Is the testing not that reliable or is that actually happening? Because one of the thoughts is, "Well, why don't I just get it this year and then I won't get it next year? I won't get it as it mutates and becomes worse." There's kind of these ideas that viruses typically after you get them, you're immune to them. Is that true with this and do we know yet?

Dan Stickler, MD: We don't know, but we suspect that reinfection is not a major issue. I've seen a lot of controversy on this one, though, so don't quote me on it, but there was a recent study that looked at the coronavirus in rhesus monkeys and they said that reinfection was not possible, but that's not a human study. We also know that for some reason ... I saw one study that said we shed the coronavirus in stool up to 20 days after being infected. So we don't know certainty on this. I think most of the reinfections that were occurring were not actual reinfections of the virus.

I think they're probably secondary infections because it's an interesting virus. It attacks the Type II pneumocytes in the lungs that produce a substance called surfactant that helps to keep our little air sacs open in the lungs. It creates surface tension. And when we don't have that, areas of the lungs collapse and when they collapse they're a ripe breeding ground for any other organism. And we see a lot of issues with what they suspect or reinfections in hospital workers. But I also suspect that it's probably more of secondary infections from bacteria that ... Hospitals have the worst bacteria around, they're highly virulent. So having areas of lungs that are not expanding, you've just got ripe territory for that. So again, going back to it, I don't think we have an answer on reinfection. My personal suspicion is that I don't think reinfection is common. Can it happen? Yeah, sure. It could, but I don't think it's likely.

Advice for Hospital Workers

Heather Sandison, ND: And so what's the [inaudible] of hospital workers? Do you have any advice for them? Any healthcare provider advice?

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, don't get the virus. They were thinking that N95 masks and goggles were sufficient, but now, they're finding data to suggest that they need full hazmat suits for this stuff, which we just don't have the volume of hazmat suits to help this. And what's happening is we're taking out the healthcare workers and this is the problem with overwhelming the healthcare system, getting the health care workers that get infected and then a lot of these countries are doing a one strike you're out. So a healthcare worker gets it. They're not allowed back into the healthcare system at that point. That's a real problem because they're concerned that because of the impact of the virus, they're prone to either get what's called the reinfection, I guess, or some super infection that's occurring from some other bacteria because their lungs are scarred a little bit.

I know the policy and some of the countries is that if a healthcare worker gets it, they're out of the game and that is going to put a major strain on the healthcare system. This whole virus, we were past the point of containment in early January. That was never on the table beyond that point. And what we were looking at is how do we mitigate this thing to reduce that impact on the healthcare system so it's not overwhelmed from this sudden wave of everybody needing ventilators. In Italy, they're already taking anybody over 80 and saying, "Go home and die." That's basically what they're doing. They're having to triage for higher risk patients. And that's not good.

Heather Sandison, ND: So I've seen a little bit of push back on that. What is your source for that? Because-

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, and again, a lot of this stuff that I'm sharing is not ideal. I don't think anybody has the ideal answers, right now, or the right responses. But I did have a friend who is a physician in Italy and he suggested that ... He was telling me that they were having to set up cots and try to string multiple ventilators together just to support the people that they were working with. And so that was a direct source I had and he was pretty reliable.

Difference Between COVID-19 and the Flu

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. That's certainly something that I personally have experienced is that on one end there are people saying that martial law is going to be declared tomorrow, and then on the other hand, I have a friend who's an urgent care doctor who's like, "This really isn't that different from the flu. I'm glad everybody's really washing their hands." And so it's-

Dan Stickler, MD: Oh, I definitely would not compare it to the flu. This is beyond-

Heather Sandison, ND: [crosstalk] step by step just what makes it different from the flu. Start with symptoms. What symptoms would expect with this versus the flu?

Dan Stickler, MD: Well, one of the things is the symptoms start off fairly mild. People will complain of body aches, maybe a sore throat. I think about 70 to 80% of people will have a fever with it, and sometimes, that's all you get. You get that and maybe a little bit of a dry cough and then you're done. But here's the difference. The flu, we all have some degree of resistance to the flu. Different aspects of the flu viruses we have some degree of immunity towards because we've been exposed to it. This coronavirus, and it's why they call it the novel coronavirus is that we don't have any innate immunity to this. We have never been exposed to this before. We have no memory in our immune system to this. This is why we're looking at 30 to 40% of the population that are going to be infected with this.

Now, that's huge. You just don't see that volume with the flu. And you also don't see 10 times the mortality rate that we see with this versus the flu. This is an impactful virus. I will question anybody that tries to downplay this virus because it is truly a different animal, cannot be compared to the flu in any sense.

Where to Find Accurate Information

Heather Sandison, ND: One of the things that this virus is exposing is sort of how we get our information and how we figure out what's true. So you're getting some of your information directly from doctors in Italy. That seems like a pretty good spot to be getting it right now. Right. There are about 10 to 12 days ahead of us. Where else are you getting information about this virus?

Dan Stickler, MD: I have some contacts in the government that have been giving me updates. In fact, one of them today was telling me that a lot of the information we're getting, it's misinformation being fed by other countries. There is definitely an opportunity that some of these countries are leveraging to really insight the fear. Even the John Hopkins coronavirus site, which I've been following since early January, there are fake sites that look identical to that, that hackers are using.

This Martial Law thing was something that was really infused into our social media by foreign hackers and so it's hard. You can't tell right now. You can't tell what's legit. I mean, even the stuff that comes out that's fake, they make it look so real that you don't know what is truly happening.

And I think just kind of listening to the CDC and the government, and kind of understanding their point, I mean, they have no agenda behind this that's designed to hide anything from us. It's really just stay calm with it. I would suggest not looking at social media, trying to focus on the reports that are coming from reputable places in the news. The White House reports, they're trying to keep this as sane as possible, and there's so much stuff out there that is trying to put people into this fear-based state and it's just driving me crazy.

More Tips on Preventing Coronavirus

Heather Sandison, ND: So stay calm, stay home-

Dan Stickler, MD: Yes.

Heather Sandison, ND: Practice your meditation, exercise, good nutrition, good sleep habits, good sleep hygiene. There's also a piece of... You were talking about how it affects the lungs. One of the things that I've heard is about it being basically something that you aspirate at night, so it can start to accumulate in your nasal pharynx. So, in the mucosa of your nose and your throat, and then the way it takes hold is by getting into your lungs, and that happens when you're sleeping at night. So, the kind of what not to do is have a beer or have a couple of Coronas right before bed, and then have basically there's a higher chance that you're going to aspirate some of that viral shedding or to, excuse me, the other thing that had come up was whether or not to take NSAIDs, in particular aspirin and ibuprofen. So, do you have any thoughts on those things about how it's infecting the lungs and some of the things that we can do to prevent that?

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, I mean alcohol, like you said, not only is there a problem for the aspiration aspect of it, but it will tank your heart rate variability and thus create more stress in the system. So, I don't recommend any alcohol consumption during this time, and that's hard to do when you're in isolation, I think for a lot of people. The word on the nonsteroidals seems pretty legitimate across the board there. There are several reputable sources reporting that one of the commonalities of the younger population that ended up on ventilators is that they've been taking NSAIDs, ibuprofen, Advil, aspirin, and so I have recommended to all of my clients to not utilize those. I said it's okay to use the acetaminophen, but not to use the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. I can't confirm because they said they don't even know what the mechanism is, but they are seeing the correlation there.

Heather Sandison, ND: Because it's attacking the lungs and it's coming from the nasal mucosa and the oral pharynx, should we be using some sort of antiseptic like a Listerine, or I know washing our faces, so it doesn't get into your nose and mouth, is certainly important when we're coming in the house after having gone grocery shopping or gone to work, we're washing our faces, washing our hands, but are there any other specific little tricks that you have up your sleeve?

Dan Stickler, MD: I wish. I saw some posts on social media about gargling with vinegar or something like that and I was like well I don't know. You know, this virus is so virulent that I think once if it gets into your system, it's in your system. I mean, to kill this virus they're recommending using a mix of alcohol, peroxide and bleach, and that it will kill the virus on a surface within less than a minute. Now that's certainly not something you want to put it in your body for sure, but using that to clean surfaces, even like we order from Whole Foods, and they deliver, and the recommendation is that you wipe everything down with a peroxide-based cleaner of some sorts, peroxide, alcohol and bleach, wipe everything down and then go wash your hands really well when you empty those groceries, because those are the things we don't think about. I mean if this virus can sit around for three to eight days, all the people that have had contact with anything that comes into the house, you've got to consider the potentials with that.

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah, okay, so spraying down all of anything that comes in, whether it's groceries or, what about Amazon boxes? What we're doing is we're putting gloves on, opening them outside, and then bringing everything in because everyone's getting things delivered.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yep, exactly.

Heather Sandison, ND: Okay, so you're doing the same thing.

Dan Stickler, MD: We are.

Supplements to Support Immune System

Heather Sandison, ND: All right, something about supplements, so obviously we don't know what treats this disease. We don't know what prevents this disease, but there are some common sense things that we can do, like lifestyle interventions. We've already talked about. Then supplements are something we can also consider if you can get them at this point. Do you know what the availability is, or I think a lot of our audience would probably have some of these things in their cabinet.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah. We have a supplement store and we're staying well-stocked, and our suppliers are supplying us plenty of it, so I don't think there's a deficiency there. Now where you do kind of notice that stock is running low is vitamin C, liposomal vitamin C especially, which is you hear all this stuff on social media about high dose vitamin C helping to cure the virus. I don't know if this is true or not, but I think taking a higher dose of vitamin C right now is beneficial for the immune system, and vitamin C is hard to find right now, and I do prefer the liposomal form of it. That and the glutathione, the liposomal glutathione, I think is valuable to take if you start noticing that your immune system is getting compromised. Those are two that are hard to get, now that the-

Heather Sandison, ND: DO you think that might be partly because part of the mechanism that we're thinking that causes such severe disease is that people are having the effects of a cytokine storm, or high oxidative stress, and so both vitamin C and glutathione are very powerful antioxidants, and so having those around may end up being helpful. Now we don't know for sure.

Dan Stickler, MD: Right, and you know other things like a good multivitamin with a form of methylfolate methyl B12, that's always valuable. I also like to use multivitamins that have both the beta carotene form and the active form of vitamin A, because vitamin A has been shown to boost the immune system, and we get a lot of genetics on our clients, and we find a lot that are not able to convert beta carotene to vitamin A very well. And it's interesting because you'll see most, most like organic or more of the natural multivitamins, they'll have almost exclusively vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. And we don't like that. We like to have the vitamin A in the two forms before the people that aren't able to convert that very well.

And so we see a lot of people with vitamin A deficiency despite taking a lot of beta carotene, and a multivitamin will supply all the micronutrients that especially now with the dietary changes with the food availability, you may need some extra multivitamins, and I've also seen that methylcobalamin has been showing some benefit in treating this virus, which is interesting to me.

Heather Sandison, ND: Some [inaudible] are recommending colostrum, and zinc, and quercetin. Those things have come up on my radar. Have you seen anything about that?

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, I mean, there's vitamins and supplements that have shown to benefit the immune system. Another big one would be vitamin D.

Heather Sandison, ND: Vitamin D, probiotics.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, huge for boosting immune system, and fish oil, omega threes. For me right now it's hard to get fish, and so I really need to supplement the fish oil and adequate amounts of EPA and DHA because again, you talk about mitigating oxidative responses. That's key in that area.

Heather Sandison, ND: So just to note on the vitamin A, if we are using fat soluble vitamin A, we started this conversation talking about people making babies, and too much fat soluble vitamin can be teratogenic. So take those doses, if you do end up using vitamin A, around 10,000 IUs, no more than that a day.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, that's very much the top end for everybody for me. Yeah. It's very easy to get toxic on the fat soluble form.

Technologies and Peptides 

Heather Sandison, ND: So then, for anyone who maybe has access to some technologies at home, or also we had shared some emails, you were kind enough to tell me what you were sharing with people in terms of peptides and peptide therapies, and some of those that might be effective or helpful in prevention, so peptides and technologies.

Dan Stickler, MD: Okay. That's a wide category. So, on the peptides and in the peptide therapies, this is purely speculation on all of this. We know what the mechanism of action is for these, and the recommendations are really based on looking at this from a complex systems approach and saying, "Okay, this looks like this should do a good job with it."

So, with them using a lot of Thymosin alpha, and Thymosin alpha has an amazing ability to really boost the immune system, and the ability of the immune system to recognize cells that are infected and go after them. So Thymosin alpha is definitely a kind of core component of it. And another one that we've been seeing really good results with viral illness is LL-37, and this works through [inaudible] and it's been shown to work in a lot of viral illnesses in general and boost the ability of the body to eliminate the cells that are infected with viral pathogens.

Another one is Selank, and Selank is an interesting one. There was one article in Russia that they studied the influenza virus with it, and for some reason Selank was able to actually take the viral load to zero in two days with influenza in this one study, and it's an old study, but it was an interesting finding. So, when you're talking about stress, Selank is wonderful for that. It's able to mitigate stress response really well and anxiety. So you've got the nasal spray for that. That can work. We're also-

Heather Sandison, ND: A question, while I have you on the line here, so Selank and semax are coming in these 10 mil bottles, nasal spray bottles, but there's three mils at the bottom. Where are you getting them from and are you getting more than that per vial?

Dan Stickler, MD: I mean, we generally get about 30 sprays per vial. We get ours from Tailor Made Pharmacy.

Heather Sandison, ND: Okay, that's where I'm getting it too. And it feels like there's nothing in it. It's just like a little bit at the bottom. Is that the same thing you're getting where you're like, "Hey, what's going on with my bottle? It's like an eighth full."

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah. I mean, they can't make those little tiny bottles that people would think they were not getting anything. But yeah, I mean we get about 30 sprays out of a vile.

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. Okay, that's about what we're getting too, but you get it and you're kind of like, "Wait, what? Did they mess up? I don't know what's going on here."

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, it is something that I questioned the first time I got in, but when I got 30 sprays I was like, okay.

Heather Sandison, ND: All right. That's legit. Okay, so 30 sprays. And then are you recommending that people, if they have this or their doctor recommends it for them, are you recommending they start right away or wait until they have symptoms or how [crosstalk] dosing-

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, we have a protocol for that that we have used with our clients, so we're using the Thymosin alpha once the virus takes hold in the community, which is now, and we suggest that they start the thymus, and that point, do it about every three days. And then if they do start to develop symptoms, then they start doing the Thymosin alpha daily. They add the LL-37 and the Selank nasal spray. Now again, this is all speculation that this is going to help alleviate the virus. We just don't know. I mean, peptides have just not been studied long enough, but when we look at the mechanisms of what they're doing, it just makes sense that it can help to treat this.

Heather Sandison, ND: And then other technologies, what have you got at home? What might other people have access to that they can use without going to the gym?

Dan Stickler, MD: We've got some really cool technologies, but for our clients, a lot of the technologies that we recommend are designed around stress mitigation. Again, you reduce stress, you boost the immune system. Even things like a mindset of being happy boosts the immune system. This was interesting. I had a conversation on a podcast a couple of years ago with Dr. Steve Cole out of UCLA, and he had looked at the epigenetic expression of immune genes in people that expressed hedonic happiness versus those that express eudemonic happiness.

Dan Stickler, MD: And what they found is that on psychological testing, the happiness was equal between both groups. But when he looked at the immune system expressions from an epigenetic standpoint, he found that the hedonically happy group had a severely suppressed immune expression. So mindset, we talk about it all the time, but there is solid science behind why this stuff works. So, we work on setting up positive mindsets, positive affirmations. We do things like the Mind Alive DAVID, which is audio visual entrainment to help calm the nervous system, to help us sleep, to help us meditate. Those are great technologies, and stuff like the HeartMath, the emWave Pro-

Heather Sandison, ND: [crosstalk] download on your phone?

Dan Stickler, MD: No, the David is an audio visual and train and technology, so it comes with kind of goggles and ear phones that you will set different frequencies, different light spectrums that will entrain the brain into certain brainwave patterns that want to have a calming alpha state or you want to do a pre sleep state, you can actually induce the brain into those states with that technology. And then the HeartMath, the emWave Pro, is wonderful because that is one that you can kind of train your heart rate variability, work on your breath because most people just don't know how to breathe very well and it can create stress just from your breath structure, without even realizing that you're creating the stress in your system.

So those are the kinds of technologies that we we'd like to focus on and most of my clients have wearable technology, which is interesting because you can actually start to see when your system is getting an infection or getting sick. Because what I've noticed, and other clients notice this too, is that when the system's out of homeostasis, you start noticing increases in heart rate before you express symptoms of anything. You can see that your heart rate variability will start to drop and you're just like, "I'm not doing anything different. What's happening? Why is my heart rate going up and my heart rate variability going down?" Those are usually early signs that something is off in the system.

Staying Empowered During Time at Home

Heather Sandison, ND: What are you most looking forward to you during this quarantine?

Dan Stickler, MD: I am sitting back and kind of revamping a lot of aspects of our business. We're taking a pretty severe financial hit right now, but the way I look at it is it gives us a chance to regroup and create something very positive. In fact, we've had a course in the works for stress and immune system mitigation and we...

Heather Sandison, ND: Timing.

Dan Stickler, MD: I know we had a corporate retreat last week, it was all planned and all of this kind of came together and we were like, "Okay, let's go ahead and push this out." So we're launching a webinar this week to talk about this eight week course that we're putting together. And so if anybody wants to sign in and listen to the webinar, we're going to do it, I think, might be tomorrow night, but it's is the URL to get there. So if you want to hear more about what our team is doing, and this is what we've been recommending to our clients and helping them through this stressful time.

But we're going to have a bunch of different experts, we're going to have Dr. Kirk Parsley is going to talk, he's going to do a one week session on sleep. We've got Megan Foley who's a health psychologist that is going to be talking about mindset. We've got a Dr. Hamilton, my wife, who is going to be talking about stress and HRV and the things that we can do to mitigate that. So we've got a whole line up of people over the eight week period and we've got a workbook that people can use with it. Just it's going to be something that that can get somebody focused on really positive aspects during this time that we're going to be convalescing.

Heather Sandison, ND: Fantastic. What a great tool for people to have access to stress and immune function. Totally right on point. So what else? What other info can we share with listeners to just empower them to make the most of this time at home to help support their immune systems and to really just not panic, but to like to reduce that state of stress?

Supporting Each Other as a Community

Dan Stickler, MD: Okay, well first, ignore all fear-based posts on social media, as the first thing, get that out of your field, that just needs to be removed. Focus on what you can do to support the community through this and this is what I was referring to as eudemonic happiness. Eudemonia is really doing things for the good of everybody and doing something that is helpful, not doing something that is all about you. And this is a perfect time to exercise that kind of an approach, that mindset of being really community oriented. I mean I would love to see us gathered together as a community like we did around a 9/11 and support each other through this and not drop into this fear base that is so prevalent right now in the social media.

Heather Sandison, ND: Certainly, as someone who employs other people, I am acutely aware right now that the decisions I'm making for the viability of my clinic, of my businesses directly affects whether or not someone will be able to pay rent or buy groceries. And so taking a step back and saying, "Okay, where are the people who are maybe in more need than I am and where can I support them?" Like if some people have cleaning ladies or yard people that they might not have come, but can you pay them half or can you somehow support people a little bit even if it's not what you were doing before because they might not have access to groceries or a safe place.

Dan Stickler, MD: Yeah, I mean, this is a true paradigm shift that we're experiencing right now. We're going to see what people are made of, there's no question about it. We're going to see a shift in just how things are run in this country. I mean, look at the education system, do we need to have all the schools that we have right now? I mean, everybody's going to online schooling and that may shift the whole way that everything is run in the future. We're seeing major changes and I think it's exciting, I would prefer not to have to go through it in the way that we're doing it, but I think we're going to come through this and be much stronger overall as a society, as a community, and I'm going to be there to support it. Neurohacker has done a great job with this too, they have set up a lot of support networks and they've gathered together the experts in the scientific community, we're having discussions in groups about this and making sure that we're weeding out the fake news and the fear tactics and really getting down to what's real and how we can help each other.

Heather Sandison, ND: Great. Yeah, It's kind of wild that one of the big decision points around closing schools had to do with whether or not kids will go hungry. Right? That part of what schools do is that they provide free lunch and breakfast for a large number of kids and so just thinking about, well it sort of exposes that, right? Like we're supposed to be in this phenomenal economy yet all the kids are starving if they don't get free lunch at school. And so exposing some of those elements of society that maybe really could use a rethinking and some true solutions.

Dan Stickler, MD: Absolutely. And I see the people that I follow on social media, friends, and I realize that this is really showing true nature of individuals as this unfolds.

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. So do you have any other things that you want to share? Any other insights that you have about this virus? And how it will continue to affect us? And I'm sure we could record this again tomorrow and have lots of new information, it's changing so quickly.

Dan Stickler, MD: It really is. And I think just don't take everything so seriously, let's just do the right thing, really support each other through this and come together as a community. That's the best advice I can give right now. And this is a time you can look at if you've got a significant other, this is the time to really work on creating a much deeper relationship. I mean, all of this stuff is an opportunity and I think we need to look at it from that regard.

Heather Sandison, ND: Yes, I'm excited to spend more time with my baby.

Dan Stickler, MD: There you go.

Heather Sandison, ND: Yeah. So Dr Stickler, Dan, thanks so much for coming and making the time. I know that you are incredibly busy right now, so thank you so much for taking the time and then also for contributing the way you are to our collective and knowledge around this and what we can do to help patients. I've certainly reached out to you and asked for help and you have been right there to provide it. So thank you for your help and support of all of our patients and I'm looking forward to continuing to watch the updates and looking for places where we can all be of service in this crazy time.

Dan Stickler, MD: Absolutely, and thank you so much for having me.

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