IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNE RESPONSE NEWSLETTER Health & Wellness Newsletter Live Life Pain-free
One of your best defenses against the recent outbreak is improving your immune response. The news about the Covid-19 virus has most of us taking extra precautions, such as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu. While these are all excellent guidelines to follow and will help prevent the spread of the virus, a healthy immune system should be your first priority. Currently the elderly, especially those with preexisting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease and immune compromised, appear be severely affected by the new virus and have the highest mortality rate. From70 to 85 percent of all flu-related deaths, and 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations, occur among those 65 years and over, according to the CDC. This is most likely related to not having a strong immune system response to the virus. A recent research article out of the Journal of American Medical Association, which is the largest study on COVID-19 published so far, showed the case fatality rate was close to 15 percent in patients over the age of 80 compared to the average overall case fatality rate of 2.3 percent. Having a strong immune response is one of the best defenses against this virus. So what will improve your immune response?
Get 7-8 hours of Sleep per night. Studies investigating how sleep effects the immune system demonstrate that people who got less than 6 hours sleep per night had a significant suppression of their immune system of up to 70% and have been shown to be more prone to get sick with the ‘common cold’, and influenza viruses. Exercise and Activity. Acute exercise is an immune system booster that improves defense activity and metabolic health. Research demonstrates a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and disease risk. Another study found that people who exercised 5 or more days a week reported fewer days with cold symptoms and less severe symptoms than people who did little exercise and reported being unfit. Nutritious Foods that will support a strong immune response are vitamin C rich foods like red peppers, kiwi, papaya, citrus fruits, broccoli, greens like spinach and kale. Foods that may reduce inflammation like turmeric, and ginger, and the immune boosting capacity of fresh garlic and garlic powder should be a part of dietary choices. Foods high in antioxidants like blue berries, strawberries, raspberries, green tea. Additionally nuts and seeds that provide vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and zinc that support the immune response. While there is nomagic pill that will protect you from the virus, being vigilant at both good hygiene following the CDC guidelines and incorporating the above-mentioned areas to boost your immune system can only help to keep you healthy.
- Jeff Gilliam, PT, PhD, OCS
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