5 Expert Tips To Boost Your Immune System For Further Protection During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Photo: Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells/unsplash
5 Expert Tips To Boost Your Immune System For Further Protection During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Health And Wellness

Create further protection for yourself from the coronavirus.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and don’t forget the fingertips. Cover your coughs and sneezes — though not with your hands. Stay home if you’re sick. Self-quarantine if you’ve been exposed. Disinfect.

This is all good advice, and we’re hearing it repeatedly as COVID-19 is spreading.

But what’s missing from most media reports about the coronavirus pandemic is information on how to boost the immune system and support the body's health.

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There is a lot of fear, stress, and anxiety surrounding this pandemic, which is affecting our mental health.

But if we are exposed to the virus or experience symptoms, having a healthier immune system means that our chances of getting sick are decreased or that the symptoms will be milder and lead to a quicker recovery.

Here are 5 expert tips to boost the immune system to further protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick due to the coronavirus.

1. Don’t panic — and manage your stress.

I’m not going to lie.

The idea of a surging pandemic that could shut down life as we know it and potentially kill the people that we love is scary stuff. And when the information we are given is often conflicting, it doesn’t help.

However, it’s important to not obsess about the updates.

Instead, take the appropriate precautions suggested by the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, such as maintaining social distance and going into voluntary quarantine and isolation.

Keep in mind that most people who do get the virus (provided they don’t fall into a high-risk category) will most likely experience mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover.

Managing your stress can take different forms and is an important asset to maintaining a strong immune system. Why? Because each time our fight-or-flight response is set off, our immune system takes a hit.

Even before the Coronavirus struck, most of us were walking around chronically stressed. Now that the virus has arrived, stress levels are also, understandably, rising.

So, regularly employing self-care and stress-management techniques throughout the day are even more important. Consider the following steps...

Limit the news.

Stay updated about what’s going on, especially in your area, but once you have the information you need, turn it off.

Practice mindfulness techniques.

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. What we are so good at is mindlessness. However, when we are fully in the present moment, the anxiety subsides.

You can do this by taking breaks throughout the day to find five blue (or whatever color you choose) things in your environment; rubbing your hand along your arm, paying attention to how the cloth beneath it feels; or focusing on how the sky outside your window looks.

The options are endless, and your mind and body will thank you.

Breathe.

Taking several deep breaths at various times throughout the day can be grounding and get you out of fight-or-flight mode.

I like to do this while I’m waiting for a traffic light to change as I’m out and about. If you’re home or in your office, set a timer on your phone to remind you to check-in and breathe.

Relax, laugh, and have fun.

Play games with your family, watch a comedy or funny videos on YouTube.

Personally, I love watching animal videos on YouTube. When I’m feeling stressed, a five-minute video of their crazy antics quickly sends my body into relaxation mode.

2. Make sure you’re getting your Zzzs.

A good night’s sleep is necessary for our health on many levels, including our immune system. Ensuring that you’re getting a solid seven to eight hours a night is ideal.

If you aren’t, consider what’s preventing you from doing so and take steps to address it.

Avoid watching the news right before bed. Keeping your bedroom on the cooler side and free of cell phones, computers, and televisions giving off blue light can also help.

If caffeine has a negative effect on you, consider abstaining altogether or limiting your daily intake to having none beyond noontime.

Follow up with your doctor if pain or hormonal issues are playing a role in disrupted sleep. If light and noise is an issue, consider a sleep mask and earplugs.

Warm baths before bed, meditation, and following the other suggestions throughout this article can also be beneficial towards improving sleep.

3. Clean up your diet.

If you’re like most Americans, your diet could probably be improved, at least a little bit.

Most of us know that we should be limiting processed foods and sugar — or even better, not eating them at all — and including more vegetables and healthy fats into our diets.

Given our busy, stressful lives, it’s easy to go to whatever’s quick and simple to make or grab.

But loading our bodies up with processed and low-quality foods can increase inflammation in the body, causing our immune systems to take a big hit.

Just taking steps to remove or severely limit sugar (it’s in everything) and adding some additional servings of non-starchy vegetables each day can go a long way to improving the immune system.

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4. Get moving.

I know, I know. We hear it all the time, but regularly fitting it in can be challenging for some.

But exercise is an important and necessary activity for our overall health. Among its many benefits, it helps to strengthen the immune system and manage the effects of stress.

Finding an activity that you can engage in regularly will go a long way to boosting and maintaining your health.

You don’t have to train for a marathon. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store or your office building, or dancing around as you clean the house can be helpful.

Like to binge-watch Netflix to unwind? Why not add some stretching, lifting light weights, or jumping on a mini trampoline? Our bodies were made to move and yours will be happy when it does.

5. Consider supplementing.

There are a number of supplements on the market claiming to boost the immune system.

Do your research. Talk with your medical provider before taking anything to make sure it isn't contraindicated for any medical condition you have or won't interact with any medications that you are taking.

Some supplements to consider adding to your diet are vitamin C, a good probiotic, zinc, and astragalus. Be sure to check that your supplements don't contain added sugar. 

As is so often the case in life, there are no guarantees that taking the above steps will fully prevent you or your family from coming down with the coronavirus, or any other illness for that matter.

However, making daily decisions that best support our immune systems can potentially make a big difference as to how severely we are affected by any illness.

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Tracey Libby is a Certified Wellness Coach and an EFT Practitioner who brings a holistic view to help midlife women transform their bodies and their lives. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at journeystowellness.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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