For some of us, there has been so much information available about the COVID-19 pandemic that we can lose track of the primary information that we need to keep us, and the people around us, healthy. The part that is often missed, especially, is the aspect regarding overall health and health of the immune system.
Overall health and health of the immune system specifically are often given minimal attention, although now evidence is surfacing that exercise and vitamin levels, as well as other health factors, can be crucial in determining how serious one’s illness is once infected with novel coronavirus.
So, here are some suggestions that are worth repeating, and some of which may be new to you, the reader.
I am not an MD, but I have studied science and health in depth including science journals and research for the last fifty years, and hope these thoughts will be helpful to at least one person.
1) Take the well-known, but important, precautions:
- Follow safety guidelines of wearing a mask when near others (protects others but to some degree, also protects oneself); wash hands with soap or equivalent after being in public and touching shared areas; avoid touching your face.
- Avoid large gatherings, parties, concerts, etc. This includes avoiding events like wedding parties, funerals, etc. This is a time when health and survival deserve priority. I have heard of family members pressuring others to come to these gatherings, and as a result individuals get sick and in some cases die from COVID-19. No one should try to make you feel guilty in order to pressure you to take part in dangerous activities.
- If you feel it is important to be in relatively close contact with others, such as a close family member (with whom you are not living), or someone doing work where you live, or at a job, don’t be afraid to ask for precautions as needed, such as mutual mask-wearing and / or physical distance. Knowing the other person’s recent (two week) social behaviors could also be helpful to determine how careful to be. In other words, use good judgment.
2) Strengthen your health and immune system:
- Eat a healthy diet, including fresh vegetables and fruits, and avoid excesses of high-sugar and refined carbohydrate items, which stress the metabolism and tend toward illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, a known comorbidity affecting COVID-19 outcomes.
- Take supplements that can directly aid the immune system. This includes vitamins C and D3, as well as zinc and magnesium. This article has more information on research regarding Vitamin D and COVID-19.
If you want a specific on this, daily I take American Health-brand Ester-C with D3 (1000 mg non-acidic C and 5000 IU D3), as well as Country Life-brand Calcium / Magnesium / Zinc (1000 mg / 500 mg / 50 mg). These go beyond the minimum recommended amounts of these items, but not into extremist ranges either; there is evidence that having more than the minimum can be helpful.
- If possible, avoid extremes of stress, and get enough rest. Understood that it may be hard to control those aspects, but if we can do whatever is possible, it should also help with overall health and immune system strength.
- Have meaningful exercise daily (or close to it). There is some evidence that exercise releases an antioxidant, EcSOD, and probably has other benefits for fighting the virus. In the comments below, you will find a link about the value of exercise for resisting COVID-19. This article focuses specifically on research regarding that antioxidant which, according to the combined research, helps fight diseases that have some common characteristics with COVID-19.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, and probably stop smoking completely, if one is smoking anything, to protect the lungs. Especially stop smoking nicotine, to help circulatory health.
The above practices cannot hurt, and most likely are helpful. While working on other aspects of our lives, staying healthy and safe is still—or should be—a high priority. Please use good judgement, and protect yourself and those around you.