The rise of the Covid-19 virus has really caused many of us to take a step back to look at our hygiene and health. Now more than ever, following proper hygiene protocol and protecting our immune systems are imperative to keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and others safe and healthy. Here are some recommended ways to prevent getting sick by the CDC website, in addition to tips to boost your immune system during this time.
Tips to avoid contracting Covid-19:
- The best prevention is avoiding exposure, as the virus is spread person to person. The respiratory droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes could potentially infect you if you’re within 6 feet of them. This is why social distancing and quarantining, even with your friends and loved ones, is recommended.
- Regardless of social distancing, you should be washing your hands often, especially after being in a public place. Use soap and warm water to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, ensuring you get into all of the nooks and crannies. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and when you’re out in public use any hand sanitizer or wipes available.
- Protect others by staying home if you’re sick. Even if you haven’t been tested for Covid-19, you should still avoid others, wear a mask if available, and continue practicing good hygiene to prevent others from contracting the virus or any other infection that might weaken their immune system.
- Regularly clean and disinfect the surfaces in your home and vehicle, paying special attention to handles, countertops, light-switches, keyboards, or anything else you touch often. For more information on what cleaning products and disinfectants you should use, you can refer to the CDC website for a complete list.
By following these recommendations, we can all do our part to stay safe and flatten the curve in order to prevent the virus from spreading. We owe so much to the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who are risking their lives to help keep us healthy. As tempting as it might be to go out with friends or visit public spaces, staying away from others during this time is our best bet as a society to protect everyone as a whole. It is also the time to be prioritizing our health, so our immune system is prepared to fight off any potential infection.
Tips for boosting your immune system:
- Get plenty of rest each night. I get it, binge watching Netflix is so fun to do and takes our minds off of this stressful situation. That’s fine! Just be sure to switch off your screens an hour before bedtime so your circadian rhythm can stay on track and you can get about 7-9 hours of solid sleep. When we sleep our body repairs itself, and lack of quality sleep can leave your immune system compromised.
- Practice healthy forms of stress relief, as stress weakens our microbiome and in turn our immunity. I’ve been known to self-sooth through chocolate, but the excess sugar just leads to a potentially weakened immune system. Rather than turning to sweets, tv, or alcohol to relieve stress, find more immune-boosting ways to keep your stress levels down. That could be unplugging yourself from the extreme news stories we watch every day, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, calling a loved one, or many other options. Understand what triggers your stress by having some quiet time with yourself each day so you can keep your stress to a minimum and your immune system’s health to a maximum.
- Get adequate vitamin D, either from sun, fortified foods, or from a doctor-approved supplement. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to susceptibility for a compromised immune system, so if you’re able to, spend some time each day outside or by a window.
- Increase your intake of fruits and veggies, especially those high in antioxidant vitamin C. As 70% of our immune system is located in the gut, now is the time to be eating lots of gut-nourishing foods. Plant foods are high in fiber, which nurture the gut, and offer an array of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Fruits and veggies like citrus fruits, berries, kale, and broccoli are all high in vitamin C, bolstering our immune system and keeping us healthy.
At the end of the day, practicing preventive measures and working to optimize our immune system are great ways to stay safe and healthy during this time. We can all do our part to help ourselves, our loved ones, and our community flatten the curve so we can beat this virus. For more resources surrounding Covid-19, please visit the CDC website.