Despite dismal circumstances at many hospitals across the country, I’m glad to say that there are easy measures to follow to help prevent serious illness from COVID-19, with little to no additional costs (actually, they might even save you money). Let’s briefly outline them now:
- Eat a healthy diet. Highly processed foods with added sugars (sodas, snacks/desserts) and saturated fats (fast food, fried food) interfere with healthy immune function and exacerbate the very conditions we see associated with the highest risk for death from COVID-19. A basic daily vitamin supplement is advisable if you question the quality and quantity of high nutritional foods that you consume.
- Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night, starting no later than 9:30 p.m. Immune function depends upon certain daily processes that can only occur during sleep stages earlier in the night. So-called “sleeping aids” such as alcohol and sleeping pills, as well as evening exposure to “blue” light from computers, smartphones, and televisions, significantly disrupt healthy sleep. Avoid them all like the plague…along with caffeine.
- Get 20-30 minutes of daily sunshine exposure. This generates vitamin D, which is critical for immune function. You can also buy a supplement (2000 IU per day is enough) if you get no exposure (and if you’re not vitamin D deficient…which many people are).
- Schedule 150 minutes of physical activity a week. From a cardiovascular perspective, it matters not if these occur all at once, or spread out. However, from the perspective of immune function, I recommend daily activity because of the immediate effects on immune function that exercise is shown to have.
- Keep a clean house and car. Alcohol-based sprays or cheap, dilute bleach (approximately 1tablespoon in a gallon of water) is very effective in wiping out coronaviruses on surfaces. Wash your clothes, wash especially your hands (don’t ignore under the fingernails) and your face. As drier winter months pass in the Northern hemisphere, consider humidifying the air in your home or workspace (this negatively impacts the airborne travel patterns of viruses).
- Be respectful when you come in contact with other people. Don’t touch or get unnecessarily close to each other. By now we should have all found ways of graciously declining contact/handshakes without making people feel like they are regarded by you as some kind of social outcast. Train yourselves and your children to be aware of how your own behavior can be a potential threat to the health of others who are susceptible. Take this opportunity to apply the Golden Rule in a very real way to everyday life. These new habits can later help during many other similar types of infectious disease outbreaks, serving as a means of limiting the spread of illness in the future, not simply at the present time.
- Take time to neutralize the stress that is growing in your life. Don’t let it accumulate because it will eventually negatively affect you and the people around you.
Okay. These are the basics. If you will incorporate these things into your life successfully, you will be way, way ahead of everyone else upon whom the sky seems to be falling. I will write more about the specifics of all these things in future articles. Until then, Be Well!