As we speak, there are about 1.6 million people infected by the Coronavirus worldwide with death tolls touching 97000 people, and the pandemic has spread to over 195 countries. Several countries are on lockdown to keep the Coronavirus numbers at bay and authorities have requested people to practice social distancing. Countries like have made wearing masks mandatory in most of the cities.
Corona, Novel Corona or COVID-19 is a new virus that has infected humans about five months ago in a small city of Wuhan, China. Corona is derived from the Greek language which means Crown since it is covered with spikes of protein layers. The virus attaches itself to a host then spreads into other people with the help of the copies it makes of itself. Hence, it is advised to avoid contact with people and wash hands on regular intervals.
In the time of a global pandemic when we are all confined to our houses with a limited supply of essentials. Schools, Business and even interaction with people happen only on video calls. The biggest challenge is to not give in to stress eating and stock up unwanted food that might add more centimeters to our waistlines.
While cleaning up your wardrobe you have been meaning to clean for a long time or binge-watching Money Heist on Netflix would be a great coping mechanism. Staying at home especially when you don’t know for how long, might trigger stress-eating and cause your immunity to drop sooner than you realize.
During these trying times, the only defense force we have to fight against the virus is our immune system.
What is an immune system?
Simply put, it keeps you healthy. Your immune system, along with its agents like digestive system, tonsils, skin, etc create cells that fight pathogens. Keeping your body at a level where no disease-causing microorganisms can gain foot-hold in our body is of utmost importance at the moment. But it fails due to poor dietary choices, excessive smoking and alcohol. When it fails, we are left with less or no guards to protect our body from defending itself against toxins, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
The immune system is not a single entity that can be improved. As discussed above, it is a system of organs that come together and save us from deadly intruders.
Since there is no vaccination for the COVID-19 and there might not be a long time, the only defence force we have is our immune system.
Things you can do to stay immune –
- Stick to the basics
Prioritize things that are widely practised across the world, like washing your hands on regular intervals for at least 20 seconds with alcohol infused hand-wash.
Use hand sanitizers to keep germs away from reaching your mouth, eyes, ears, or face as that can lead the virus to enter your respiratory area.
- Sleep well
Sleep is an essential part of our daily life to maintain our mental and physical well-being. Studies have shown that people with inadequate sleep or abnormal sleeping patterns have less immune responses towards viruses and harmful bacteria. With people cooped up inside their houses with limited people to interact and zero social life, it is very much possible that stress and anxiety may hit one in the worst possible ways than we can imagine. This is exactly the time we need to use to bring in changes in our sleeping patterns. A well-rested mind meets a crisis well-prepared.
- Regular exercise
Even if you are not a gym person or have never done more than two crunches in your life, this is your time to reflect and start paying attention to your body and its needs. Exercising for 20 minutes, three times a week will maintain the normalcy in your life and reduce the risk of getting affected.
While looking at empty shelves at the supermarket could be exhausting, some countries are making sure there is adequate food for people to boost their immune system. In fact countries like the UK have started a healthy eating campaign on what to eat to have a stronger immune system during lockdown.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged people to maintain a healthy lifestyle as the chances of recovery increases should they contract Covid-19.
Try not to succumb to unnecessary cravings or comfort food that might contain too much sugar, fat, or carbs as a temporary relief for stress. In case you have to run errands for supplies, look for protein-rich snacks that contain grains and pulses. Have small protein and fiber-filled meals throughout the day instead of having two big ones. This helps reduce stress.
- Follow a routine
It is difficult to think that everything is normal but we are all in this together. Start your day the same way you’d start when you were going to work. Wake up at your regular time, have breakfast, work out and begin your day with an intention to finish whatever you planned.
Drink as much water as you can. Make sure you have water bottles on both sides of your work desk at home. Avoid drinking cold water or anything with added sugar.
If you drink alcohol, drink alcohol moderately since too much intake of alcohol disrupts intestinal barriers allowing unhealthy bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
It is also not the time to completely give up on habits as withdrawals might just be as harmful as the excessive consumption. Find a balance.
- Stay away from stress
Self-care is the most important thing we need while being crouched down at homes. Read the book you were holding onto for a long time. Call your friends and distant relatives. Watch cat videos, practice yoga, and laugh out loud at memes.
A lot of things can be avoided with a strong immune system against Coronavirus. The reason the COVID-19 virus spread widely, and quickly is because of lack of immunity and understanding about it. Over a period of time, we learnt the do’s and the don’ts of reducing risks of getting infected. Nature really has pushed us back inside in order to practice the bare-minimum like washing hands to fight a deadly virus. All of this, has been taught once again, and now it is our responsibility and practice it religiously to stay safe and stay healthy.