As we all know, since the end of last year, the world we live in has been terrorized by the deadly coronavirus disease. With every passing day, more and more people are falling victim to this highly infectious disease and death rates are increasing substantially. Countries like China, Italy, and Spain have imposed lockdowns, and there is no certainty about when these times of crisis are going to end.
It all started when doctors in Wuhan, China reported cases of pneumonia caused by a previously-unknown strain of the virus. As the doctors and scientists tried to figure out the details of the virus, the number of cases kept increasing, and it was no longer contained to only the city of Wuhan.
And what was once an epidemic limited only to China, has now become a full-fledged outbreak that has rocked the entire world, infecting and killing thousands upon thousands.
So, what do we do? Do we lock ourselves down and stay away from the rest of the world? Or, do we go about business as usual?
The answer to those questions is not so simple.
What we must do is follow the guidelines mentioned guidelines stated by the WHO, the CDC, and our respective governments.
Everyone must follow precautionary measures like practising proper hygiene and following respiratory etiquette, and they are the first steps in preventing the spread of the disease. And, if one is feeling unwell and displaying symptoms of COVID-19, he or she must immediately contact medical authorities or get medical advice and get themselves screened.
Besides these measures, the most important thing to do is to take steps to boost the immune system. Doing so is crucial as having a healthy immune system increases the chance of fighting off viruses and infections.
Though, it has to be noted that older people and people with diseases like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer have weakened immune systems. These people are at the most risk of contraction and even death and must take every precaution to avoid the virus.
Young and healthy people, on the other hand, have relatively strong immune systems and are usually able to recover if infected with COVID-19. But even then, they should take precautions and measures to stay healthy. Moreover, they should avoid contact with old or sick family members, as they could be responsible for the deterioration of their health.
How can you boost your immune system and increase immunity?
As mentioned above, having a robust immune system is essential in times like these. While taking precautions is very important, staying healthy and fit will also help keep one away from the disease. Having a strong immune system is the first line of defence, and we should make sure that we do everything we can to boost our immunity.
From eating healthy to exercising regularly, here are some sure-shot methods to strengthen your immune system and increase your immunity to fight against COVID-19 -
While everyone knows that physical exercise strengthens the bones and the muscles, it also improves the immune system. Moderate regular exercise can keep your immune system functioning optimally and also regulate your blood pressure levels. Studies have revealed that people who do some moderate exercise regularly are better at fighting infections than people who don't.
However, it is to be noted that intense and strenuous exercise has been shown to decrease immune function. Also, it is much better to workout outside than in a gym. Gym equipment and machines may facilitate the transmission of the virus.
Maintaining proper nutrition is probably the most important measure you can take to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning properly. Eating foods like fruits and vegetables that are rich in nutrients have numerous health benefits. They boost immunity and should be consumed daily.
Also, keep in mind to avoid refined sugars and processed foods as they provide little to no nutritional value and are highly detrimental to health. Eating foods with natural sugars and high fiber helps maintain healthy weight levels and also regulates blood sugar levels.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is the process by which the body recharges and prepares itself for proper and optimal functioning. It has been shown that lack of sleep can significantly decrease immune function, and as such, getting adequate sleep is essential. Lack of sleep also hinders the body's ability to fight stress and can also cause inflammation.
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night and avoid activities such as browsing phones or computers at least an hour before going to bed. If you have trouble sleeping, try a ZMA or a melatonin supplement to help get a good night's sleep.
Avoid or Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol is one of the leading causes of impaired immunity among people. Heavy or regular alcohol intake can make a person highly susceptible to bodily infections and diseases. Also, as alcohol damages the kidneys and the liver, it affects the body's natural detoxification process.
Avoid drinking alcohol if you can and if you do, drink in moderation. While a glass of whiskey can seem like a way of coping with the stress of the current situation, it can certainly take a toll on your body if done in excess.
Smoking is another activity that can significantly decrease your immunity and make you susceptible to diseases and infections. It can substantially increase your risk of cancer and impair your body's natural immune defence and immune response. Also, smoking can cause irreparable damage to the respiratory system, causing diseases like upper respiratory tract infection.
Stop smoking entirely if possible, or reduce your daily consumption otherwise. Nowadays, nicotine patches are readily available in the market, and they are a lot less harmful than conventional cigarettes. They do not contain the harmful free radicals that are present in the smoke from the cigarettes.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems among people. It causes cortisol levels to rise, significantly impairing immune function. While it is impossible to avoid stress in such circumstances of worldwide panic, there are ways to manage and combat the same.
Meditation, yoga, and exercise have all been proven to combat stress and can be highly beneficial if practised regularly. Also, avoid eating foods high in complex sugars and sodium, and instead eat more simple and natural foods. Regular consumption of green tea has also been shown to reduce stress levels.
Take a Health Supplement
If you have trouble getting your daily dose of vitamins from natural foods, you can try a health supplement to make sure you get enough. Many supplements can help improve immunity, and some can help reduce the duration and severity of illness.
For example, taking a vitamin C supplement can reduce the risk of catching a cold. Vitamin C also helps in the production of white blood cells that are essential for fighting infections.
One more example is a beta carotene supplement, the pigment found in bell peppers. Beta carotene is essential for proper immune function, healthy skin, and good vision.
Get your regular dose of Sunlight and Fresh Air
Two things that most of us are deprived of are adequate sunlight and fresh air. Getting sufficient sunlight is essential for the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D helps strengthen our bones, and it helps the body to produce antibodies to fight against infections and diseases.
Fresh air, on the other hand, is also crucial as it provides us with oxygen for the proper functioning of our cells. It helps strengthen the immune system, improve blood pressure and keep our hearts healthy.
The Bottom Line
Even though there is an air of uncertainty and fear around us in these difficult times, it is important not to panic. We must do all we can to stay healthy and prepared.
The first step is to follow the guidelines mentioned by the CDC, the WHO, and our respective Governments. Taking precautionary measures is critical in preventing the spread of the disease.
Also, following the steps mentioned above can help us improve our immune systems, which is very important not just in these difficult times, but for our entire lives.