Handwashing and social distancing are the most important delay measures for coronavirus
But there are other health-promoting measures that you can and should be taking NOW to boost your immune system and overall health
(and, by the way, stockpiling toilet rolls is NOT one of the things you need to be doing)
We’re now past the point where we can prevent the spread of the coronavirus and it’s estimated that 60% plus of the population will contract it. The experts are telling us there is a lot of variation in the severity of symptoms experienced – for example, women and children seem less likely to have severe symptoms than men and older people and especially very elderly people with pre-existing health conditions.
Clearly there are some of these things that you can’t change, but you CAN take steps to help your immune system mount a strong response if you do contract the virus. You CAN also take steps to improve your overall health and wellbeing so that you’ll be better able to cope with the impact of coronavirus (whether that’s direct i.e. contracting the virus – or indirect e.g. the impact of public health measures like social distancing).
Part of the reason why so many people are feeling so anxious about coronavirus is that we feel we have no control over the situation. Simply by taking some proactive steps to improve our personal health status and that of our loved ones, we gain at least some control, which will have a positive effect on our health, wellbeing, and resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some top tips for actions you can take now:
1) Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- ‘Eat the rainbow’ with a wide range of vegetables and fruits with different colours.
- Foods high in Vitamins C and E, and B vitamins (B6, B12) are particularly beneficial.
- Include vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, citrus fruits and papaya; green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach; garlic, ginger, turmeric and echinacea; seeds, and nuts such as almonds (packed with healthy fats and vitamin E); Greek yogurt (with live and active cultures).
- Drink plenty of fluids including filtered water and teas that are high in antioxidants like rooibos or green tea.
- Eat plenty of lean protein and healthy fats.
- The key is variety and balance, and eating a healthy quantity to maintain a healthy weight.
2) Manage your stress: whilst it’s understandable that you may feel anxious it’s really important to try to manage your stress because stress can really take its toll on your immune system. Things to help with stress include:
- Exercise – even if you can’t hit the gym you can walk the dog or just do some regular stretching or yoga from the comfort of your lounge).
- Talking through your stresses or worries with friends or family, or seeking professional help (which is also available by phone or online).
- Meditation, mindfulness and just taking time for relaxation – whether that’s a nice bath or watching your favourite film – are also really beneficial.
3) Moderate or eliminate your consumption of alcohol, non-essential pharmaceuticals (in consultation with your GP if appropriate) and cigarettes:
All of these can create ‘inflammatory’ responses in your body which makes it harder for your immune system to deal with additional threats like infections and viruses
4) Sleep: try to get a regular 7-9 hours sleep. If you’re struggling with sleep read up on tips for sleep hygiene. Ideas to try include:
- Try to sleep at regular times and have a bedtime routine that helps you wind down to sleep. This could include having a warm bath, reading (a book rather than a ‘blue light’ screen), a warm milky drink.
- Try not to eat a heavy meal, drink alcohol or caffeine, or look at a blue light screen in the run up to bed time.
- If you find you’re waking and struggling to get back to sleep during the night try eating a protein and magnesium rich meal in the evening (something like chicken or salmon with green beans and legumes)
- If your sleep is affected by anxiety take steps to address it (see the stress tips above).
5) Don’t put off dealing with health concerns that are not related to coronavirus
- If you’re in pain, struggling with other symptoms, or worried about your health, it’s going to be harder for you to deal with coronavirus – whether that’s in terms of a direct infection or knock on consequences like the mental effects of social distancing.
- Take steps NOW to get and keep yourself in the best state of health you can. Whether that means getting help from your GP or other healthcare professionals, self-education, self-care, or a mixture.
- Not only will this mean you’re better able to brave a potential infection but also, you’re less likely to find yourself unable to get medical help at a later date, when resources look likely to be diverted to deal with the peak of the coronavirus cases.
If you have any ongoing health concerns that you’re keen to proactively address now, please get in touch. The Core Clinics team includes a Private GP, physical health experts (we have particular expertise in chronic pain and back pain); a registered nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner who can give you tailored advice to boost your nutritional health, and mental health professionals to help you deal with anxiety or other mental health issues.
If you’d like help or advice contact the team on 01926 801111 or email email@example.com
Disclaimer: this article is intended to provide general information and does not constitute or replace the specific advice or qualified healthcare professionals. If you have any health concerns or questions you should consult your GP or another appropriate health professional.