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5 Ways to Arm Your Immune System Against COVID-19

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Hansa Bhargava, MD - Blogs
By Hansa D. Bhargava, MDBoard-certified pediatricianMarch 30, 2020

You’re being careful to avoid COVID-19 infection – you’re staying home, washing your hands, and wiping down surfaces. Another way you can protect yourself and your family is to prepare your immune system to fight the virus if you do get infected.

Think of it this way – when coronavirus attacks your body, it’s waging a battle against you. If you don’t have your ‘armor’ on, you will likely get wounded. While you are at home, why not start preparing and ‘arming’ your immune system for that attack, if it eventually comes?

Here are 5 ways that you can get ready:

1. Move that body. When you exercise, not only do your muscles get stronger, you also prepare your cardiovascular system too. Additionally, running or walking can release the chemicals that give your mood a boost, which can help you mentally as well.

2. Eat well. Add antioxidants and immune boosting foods to your diet. Making it ‘colorful’ with berries, avocados, nuts, carrots and other veggies and fruits will give you a full plate of vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget to add natural vitamin C – oranges are a great source but so are kiwis, red pepper and tomatoes.

3. Sleep. When you’re mostly at home, there is really no reason why you can’t get 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep helps reboot our systems, and it can help release cytokines, a protein that can help the immune system fight off infections.

4. Go outside if you can. The sun not only gives you Vitamin D, but it can also lift your mood which is good for your body.

5. Decrease your stress. Stress releases hormones that can impair our immune systems. Try to take a few minutes every day to do some deep breathing or meditation. Or listen to some calming music or listen to a podcast about something you enjoy. And turn off the news – it can contribute to anxiety, especially with all that’s going on.

And make sure you socialize. Relationships are so important, and physical distancing does not have to mean emotional distancing. Reach out via Facetime, Skype, or Zoom to friends and family – see their faces and talk to them.

Yesterday evening, I had a virtual “girls’ night out” with my sisters and my best friend from Toronto. We all had a glass of red wine while we chatted and caught up. It was wonderful to see the smiles of my loved ones. By the time I got off that phone, I felt armed and ready for anything.

It is a tough time in our lives, and we need to draw on all the resources available to us to get us through. So, take good care of yourself – put your ‘armor’ on – and follow the guidelines for physical distancing, and we’ll get to other side of this together.

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About the Author
Hansa D. Bhargava, MD

Hansa Bhargava, MD, is a medical editor and WebMD's expert pediatrician. She oversees the team of medical experts responsible for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the pediatric content on the site.

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