COVID – 19 or Coronavirus was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. And while the countries are grappling with imminent dangers that this virus poses to humanity, there are few key measures that individuals can take to fight this pandemic.
While it is crucial to mention hygiene standards like washing your hands frequently, especially if you have traveled by public transport. Using an alcohol sanitizer, in case you are traveling to disinfect your hands, wearing a mask (cover your nose and mouth) and avoiding touching your hand or mouth. There are also certain methods to improve your immunity which is paramount at this juncture.
Individuals in certain pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory issues are at a higher risk of having COVID 19 complications, it also aggravates with age as the general immunity reduces as you get older. In the younger generation with no underlying illnesses, COVID 19 can result in a minor infection, provided you have a robust immunity and do not engage in activities like smoking or vaping to combat the onslaught of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests some basic precautions:-
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others
When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
Avoid going to crowded places
Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1 meter (3 feet).
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands
Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu, and COVID-19.
Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others
Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority
National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities
Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
How to Build Immunity?
Improve Your Diet
The food you eat plays a key aspect in determining your overall health and immunity. Eat low carb diets, as this will help control high blood sugar and pressure. A low carb diet will help slow down diabetes and focus on a protein-rich diet to keep you in good shape. And regularly consume vegetables and fruits rich in Beta carotene, Ascorbic acid & other essential vitamins. Certain foods like mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper, and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections.
You can also eat supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for your daily dose if stepping out to buy groceries is not an option during social distancing. Some natural immunity supplements include ginger, gooseberries (amla), and turmeric. Some of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian dishes and snacks. There are several herbs that help in boosting immunity like garlic, Basel leaves, and Black cumin. Certain seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and vitamin E.
Probiotics like Yoghurt, Yakult, and fermented food are also excellent sources to rejuvenate the composition of gut bacteria, which is important for nutrient absorption by the body. These are good options for the older generation too.
Don’t Compromise on Sleep
Good snooze time for 7-8 hours is the best way to help your body build immunity; lesser sleep will leave you tired and impair your brain activity. The lack of sleep will prevent the body from resting and this will impair other bodily functions that will have a direct impact on your immunity. Lack of sleep adversely affects the action of the flu vaccine.
Drink up to 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Hydration will help flush out the toxins from the body and lower the chances of flu. Other alternatives include juices made of citrus fruits and coconut water, to beat the heat.
Don’t Skip on Exercise
A good diet should be followed by an exercise routine. Remember to exercise regularly; even light exercise will go a long way in releasing the toxins from your body. It is recommended to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your stamina. If you have not started exercising yet, then it is a good time to start. There are several Youtube channels and apps to help you exercise at home. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct correlation with body immunity.
These are testing times, and a prolonged period of staying indoors has its implications on your mental wellbeing. The growing anxiety around the pandemic is another concern that is affecting millions across the globe. While the uncertainty might be overwhelming, there are few steps we can follow regularly to help relieve our stress, stress is known to have an adverse effect on immunity.
Too much stress releases the hormone known as cortisol, which impairs your response to immediate surroundings and makes your body susceptible to infections; you are left feeling constantly anxious. The best way to relieve stress is through meditation, it is a tried and tested activity to calm the nerves. If you need help meditating, then there are several channels on youtube that have instructional resources to help you meditate.
Avoid Smoking, alcohol and other addictive substances
Certain habits like smoking, vaping, alcohol consumption, and substance abuse have a direct correlation between weakened body defenses and respiratory illnesses. Engaging in smoking and vaping is proven to weaken your lung capacity and destroy the cells lining your respiratory tracts, these cells are crucial to fight viruses that enter through your nasal orifices. There is new research claiming that individuals who engage in heavy alcohol consumption tend to suffer from ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) which is one of the conditions caused by COVID 19 infection. Practice moderation, if you are dependent on any of these, as sudden withdrawal can also prove to be risky.
Avoid all kinds of non-essential travels. Most COVID 19 positive cases are imported cases, which later spread to the communities. Avoid being exposed to the public transport system and public places to avoid any likelihood of exposure. In case you have to travel, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a mask and carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, at all times. Remember to sanitize each time you touch a surface, as COVID 19 strain can stay on surfaces for a few hours to days. Use your non-dominant hand while accessing the doorknobs and handles, as these are frequently touched by many people.