4 Ways To Keep Your Immune System Strong During Quarantine

Avatar By Shelby Talcott | 23 April 2020 341 views
stay healthy during coronavirus

Living A Healthy Lifestyle Could Help Support Your Immune System

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Today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about the thing that I am sure is on almost everyone’s minds: the novel coronavirus.

Don’t worry, though! It’s not all bad news.

COVID-19 is affecting Americans everywhere (and people around the world)… and it can be a scary time for everyone. Most of us are likely working from home. In addition, many people have lost their jobs because of the virus.

The good news is that there are some ways you can try to combat the virus. Of course, everyone should be practicing safe social distancing guidelines and listening to lawmakers and doctors for the latest news on how to slow the curve.

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But what can you do for yourself to help?

Well, there are a few things you can do… because the novel coronavirus has been shown to affect people who have certain health problems more than those who are generally healthy.

Who Is At Higher Risk For COVID-19?

For example, doctors have been reporting that many COVID-19 patients who end up having complications from the virus are overweight. People with particular health problems, like cardiovascular disease, also have a higher chance of getting complications.

There have already been a few studies that show the effects the novel coronavirus can have on overweight people. Of course, more studies should be done and this is just the beginning… but it gives us an interesting point to start at.

The CDC also announced that those with “severe obesity” are at higher risk for “severe illness” from COVID-19.

What does this mean? To put it simply, it means that living a healthy lifestyle may help you combat the virus.

Now more than ever, it’s important to take the leap and live a healthy lifestyle. This can be really tough, especially for those of us who have found our lives totally uprooted because of the virus.

I know that I’ve been walking way less every day, because I’m working from home now. This cuts out about a mile to two miles that I normally walk when I have to go to work every day.

Now, I’m sure you’re curious about how COVID-19 could affect an overweight person more. Luckily, scientists and doctors have some ideas.

Obesity disrupts a part of the immune system… which in turns affects the delicate balance that your body tries to keep to have a healthy immune system. (To put it simply!)

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Since obesity affects this, it can result in some physical stress on the body. The imbalanced immune system and inflammation of certain tissues in the body generally put people who have some extra weight at a higher risk of complications when they fall ill.

This seems to be true for those who have contracted the virus, too.

How To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle & Support Your Immune System

Now… how do you make sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

A big thing, as usual, is diet! What you eat can contribute to how healthy your immune system is. 

So can a few other things:

  1. Eat a lot of vegetables, fiber, and whole grains.
  2. Watch your alcohol intake.
  3. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  4. Try to get some exercise—even if it’s just walking around your backyard or doing some air squats in the living room!
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These are all pretty do-able activities to add into your everyday life. Take this weird time in America and use it to make yourself better!

Not only will you feel better, but there’s a chance it could help you fight this virus as well.

If you fall into any of the categories that make you especially vulnerable to possibly having complications from the virus… there are a few things you should definitely do.

(People who are more vulnerable include—besides severely overweight people—older adults, people with HIV, and those with asthma.)

If this sounds like you, make sure you’re wearing a mask anytime you leave the house. The CDC now recommends this… as many people might be carrying the virus and not show any symptoms.

Also, it’s important to keep some disinfectant handy. I’ve been wiping down my boxes and packages after grocery shopping, just to be safe!

(But DON’T use chemical disinfectants on any food that goes directly into your mouth, like fruits or vegetables. Just give these a good wash with water in the sink.)

1) Wash Your Hands (Properly)

One of the first hygiene rules children learn is that they must wash their hands. If you grew up in the age of Barney, you probably remember the show’s emphasis on things like this.

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As adults, however, we may forget this basic rule. When you’re not feeling sick, people have a tendency to not wash your hands as often.

Realistically, you should wash your hands before and after going to the restroom… before handling food (including eating at a restaurant)… and after touching a large number of items or door handles while outside your home.

This might seem like an over-the-top suggestion. But when you consider that hand-washing is the number one way to stop the spread of illnessesall illnesses—taking 20 seconds with some soap and water seems much less of a hassle than calling in sick to work. Or, at worst, spreading germs to someone who might be more vulnerable to serious complications.

So now that you know when to wash your hands, you have to be sure you know how to wash your hands. And though that probably sounds like a silly topic, it’s not.

Most hand soaps require about 20 seconds of being scrubbed over your skin to do their job. That means singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song all the way through, twice over. 

If ‘Happy Birthday’ isn’t your style, there are lots of other song segments that you can use to make sure you get in 20 seconds of scrubbing. Whether you’re into Pink Floyd, Lizzo, or My Chemical Romance… there’s a catchy refrain that can help you stem the catch of something much worse than a song.

2) Don’t Touch Your Face

If you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’re reading this with your chin propped up on one hand or your fingers across your mouth. You’ll want to break that habit, and quickly.

It’s a common behavior with many interesting causes. But it’s also a good way to increase the number of germs that enter your body.

The simple fact is that your hands are covered in germs. By and large, these organisms don’t do anything bad to your body.

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But when there is an illness like COVID-19 (or the flu, or it’s cold season)… you want to reduce the germs that come in contact with your mouth and nose. And this means keeping your hands away from your face.

Of course, it’s always easier to talk about breaking a habit than to actually break it. There are some tricks you can try that may help, though.

Some tips include finding other things to do with your hands, such as toying with pens or fidget devices… or keeping your free hand under your leg when you’re scrolling online or not using it.

Eventually, you will break these habits entirely. Until then, however, using tips and tricks to cut down on your face-touching will help slow the spread of disease.

Even once the threat of COVID-19 has passed, it will reduce your risk in the flu and cold season as well. And that’s always good!

3) Keep Some Distance 

Many governments—federal and local—are currently instating limits on gathering sizes. Sports leagues are postponing games. Schools are even going on breaks so that students don’t have to gather in large numbers.

And while all of this can seem scary, it’s actually a good thing.

COVID-19 has a relatively short lifespan. On surfaces, it can last 2-3 days. In the air, it can last up to 3 hours.

This means that if we can limit the number of people exposed to it in those time frames, the spread of the disease will slow and then eventually stop.

All of the steps listed above are called community interventions. They are steps taken to help curb the spread of a disease before it becomes so bad that medical professionals have to issue mass official quarantines.

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And while official quarantines are going on in some locations, many places are still using community interventions.

You can do your own part to slow the spread of the disease on a personal level as well. Avoiding large crowds when possible is the first step.

You will also want to limit the number of people you come into close contact with… and if you’re feeling sick, try to see as few people as possible until you get to a medical professional.

Other hygiene behaviors like washing your hands (as mentioned above) and covering your nose in the crook of your elbow when you sneeze will help limit additional germ spread. If you stay about three feet back from most people—the distance that average breaths and sneezes carry—you’ll reduce the spread even further.

4) Know The Symptoms

The outbreak of COVID-19 has, unfortunately coincided with the cold and flu season in many areas. This has led many people to confuse the common cold or the flu with COVID-19.

Thankfully, there are a few symptoms that are common with COVID-19 that rarely present in more mundane illnesses. Symptoms like a fever and shortness of breath can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the disease. Other symptoms such as lethargy, confusion, and body aches have also been reported.

Some symptoms, such as sneezing, are not associated with the disease. Allergies will also get worse this time of year… so if you find yourself sneezing more, you might have ragweed to blame, not COVID-19.

If you do suffer from the main three symptoms, however—cough, shortness of breath, and fever—please get tested. The CDC is now paying for all COVID-19 testingregardless of an American’s insurance status.

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So, if you are in the States and think you may be infected, please call your nearest medical professional to ask about testing. 

Be sure to mention your symptoms and remain calm so the healthcare professional can help you. All healthcare professionals are working at their highest capacity right now and panic will only slow things down… for you and for others.

5) Wear A Face Covering When You Go Out

If you live in the United States, your state has probably issued a “stay at home” or “shelter in place” order by now. For those outside the US, many countries are under “stay at home” orders as well.

While specific restrictions vary based on your city, county, or state, one thing is certain… only go out when you really need to. You may need to go out to go to the grocery store… to attend medical appointments… to pick up food from restaurants offering take-out service… or to go to a pharmacy.

In addition, your work may have been deemed “essential”… in which case you may still be going to your workplace on a regular basis.

So, be sure to check the restrictions in place in your local area. And when you do need to be in a public setting, the CDC recommends that you use a cloth face covering.

This is especially important in places where it might be hard to maintain social distancing, such as at the grocery store or pharmacy.

This face covering differs from medical-grade face masks that are used in hospitals. (Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are needed by frontline medical personnel.) For everyday use, a cloth face covering will suffice.

Cloth face coverings can be made from regular fabric or from household items. The CDC has suggestions on how to make your own face covering—whether or not you can sew! If you have a t-shirt and scissors… or a bandana and some hair elastics… you can easily make yourself a cloth face covering.

Because these face coverings are made from cloth and household items, they can be washed and reused as needed. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth while removing your face covering… and wash your hands immediately after removing your covering.

Now, the goal of the cloth face covering is not so much to protect YOU from getting the virus as it is to keep others safe. The face covering can prevent you from spreading the virus to others… especially if you have the virus but are unaware because you do not have symptoms.

You should not place a face covering on a child who is under 2 years of age. Cloth face coverings should also not be used on anyone who has difficulty breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or would otherwise have trouble removing the covering.

It may seem like a small thing, but wearing a cloth face covering when you go to public areas can go a long way in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting vulnerable populations.

The Takeaway

To quote Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic.” Panic will not prevent the spread of the disease, and neither will misinformation.

Most people have an extremely high survival rate if they are exposed to the coronavirus. And with proper hygiene practices, exposure risk is relatively low.

Those who have the most to fear are people with compromised immune systems. Whether this is because of a health condition, age, or pregnancy, their bodies can’t fight the disease as effectively. Panicking takes away vital resources—like face masks and sterilizing products—from people who need them the most.

Follow the tips above and keep a level head. COVID-19 is scary, but it can be managed.

We just have to remember to work together and stick to the facts. And, when it’s done, stick to the hygiene practices we learned now so that future diseases will have a harder time spreading.

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As always, adhere to the social distancing guidelines and try to stay positive! This is a tough time for everyone… but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not giving in to the stress is even more important than ever right now.

The most important thing is to educate yourself. Know the risks and make sure you’re following the rules. Social distancing, for example, is already showing to have a positive response on the novel coronavirus.

Make sure you keep fighting and continue living life for YOU! Your health matters. Now is the best time to put that as your number one priority.

6) Stay Away From the Gym!

Gyms really are some of the worst public places to be during any kind of virus outbreak.

People are grabbing weights and equipment with their grubby hands…

Sweating all over the place…

And in close quarters with each other.

Seriously… it’s like the perfect “get a virus” storm.

So if you don’t want to get coronavirus… stay away from the gym!

That begs an important question though:

How do you stay in shape when you’re not able to go to the gym?

Well… this doctor has an interesting answer.

He’s identified 5 “Living Nutrients” that he offers patients who haven’t been able to lose weight by going to the gym.

These 5 specific “living nutrients” work to burn fat as fuel… and make it so that your body can burn fat passively, even while sitting on the couch… or peacefully asleep at night.

So don’t chain yourself to a treadmill at the local “coronavirus incubation center”/gym…

And instead try this to stay in shape when you can’t get out much:

5 “Living Nutrients” That Help Your Body Passively Burn Fat

P.S. – Here’s a short, free documentary about WHY this works so well to burn fat without doing ANYTHING!