As we all strive to stay strong and fight this fast spreading pandemic of COVID19, the question on everyone’s mind is, Can you boost your immune system to fight COVID-19?
WHO defines the word pandemic loosely – “the worldwide spread of a new disease”. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a pandemic is a disease that has spread in multiple countries around the world, usually affecting a large number of people.
Aside the top preventative measures against COVID19 which are to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, covering your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze, avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell, and staying home and self-isolating from others in the household if you feel unwell; there is one other thing that experts are recommending which is to boost your immunity. Positive immune response can be essential to staying healthy. While the following suggestions are not ways to prevent you from contracting the virus, they are easy ways to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Please note there is no magic pill or a specific food guaranteed to bolster your immune system and protect you from the new coronavirus.
Here are some of the simple things you can do to boost your immunity to give your body a better fighting chance.
Eat a balanced diet, exercise and skip unproven supplements.
A healthful diet and doing exercising are very important to maintain a strong immune system. However, no single food or natural remedy has been proven to bolster a person’s immune system or ward off disease. But that hasn’t stopped people from making specious claims. A recipe circulating on social media claims boiled garlic water helps. Other common foods touted for their immune-boosting properties are ginger, citrus fruits, vegetables. There are small studies that suggest a benefit to some of these foods, but strong evidence is lacking. Zinc supplements are also a popular remedy for fighting off colds and respiratory illness. If you enjoy foods touted as immune boosters, there is no harm in eating them as part of a balanced diet. Just be sure that you don’t neglect proven health advice like washing your hands and not touching your face when it comes to protecting yourself from viral illness.
Lower your stress.
Worries about the COVID19, the closure of schools, suspension of contracts and the general disruption of life have added stress levels, but we know that stress also can make you more susceptible to respiratory illness. Your body does a better job fighting off illness and healing wounds when it’s not under stress. Learning techniques for managing stress, like meditation, controlled breathing or talking to a therapist are all ways to help your immune system stay strong.
Improve your sleep habits.
A healthy immune system can fight off infection. A sleep-deprived immune system doesn’t work as well. Focusing on better sleep habits is a good way to strengthen your immune system. The sweet spot for sleep is six to seven hours a night. Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule. Avoid screens, night-eating and exercise right before bedtime.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
So many studies over time have found a link between excessive alcohol consumption and immune function. Research tends to indicate that people who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illness and pneumonia and recover from infection and wounds more slowly. Alcohol alters the number of microbes in the gut microbiome, a community of microorganisms that affect the immune system. Excessive alcohol can damage the lungs, and impair the mucosal immune system, which is essential in helping the body recognize pathogens and fight infection. And it’s not just chronic drinking that does damage. Binge drinking can also impair the immune system. A cocktail or glass of wine while you are sheltering in place during coronavirus is fine. But drinking to excess will put you in a tricky place.
While more study is needed on the link between vitamin D and immune health, some promising research suggests that checking your vitamin D level and/ taking a vitamin D supplement could help your body fight off respiratory illness. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, milk or foods fortified with vitamin D. In general, our vitamin D levels tend to be influenced by sun exposure.
Remember these above all;
- HANDS – Wash them often
- ELBOW – Cough into it
- FACE – Don’t touch it
- SPACE – Keep safe distance
- FEEL sick? – Stay home