The best way to deal with any medical condition – even COVID-19 – is by practicing prevention. It’s important to do whatever you can to avoid getting sick, and that includes washing your hands thoroughly, regularly and effectively. Many viruses are transmitted by our own hands.
Orlando Health registered dietitian Ashlee Wright and family medicine physician Todd J. Sontag offer seven more ways to fight off infections:
1. Establish (or continue) an exercise routine.
Regular exercise keeps your immune system functioning at top levels. When you’re physically active, you can keep pathogens out of your lungs and airways, minimizing illness.
2. Minimize stress.
When you experience stress, it can release the hormone cortisol, increasing inflammation and suppressing your immune system, making it less effective.
3. Get an adequate amount of sleep.
This means doing what you can to get quality shut-eye for the right number of hours. Aim for six to seven hours of quality sleep each night.
4. Drink less alcohol.
Studies show that excessive alcohol consumption leads to an increase in respiratory infections and impaired immune responses. U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than one drink a day for women or two per day for men.
5. Vaccinate against other infections.
It’s possible to get more than one infection simultaneously – and it’s also dangerous. Contracting the flu on top of COVID-19 would result in a much more complex medical situation.
6. Stop smoking/vaping.
As a general rule, anything you put in your lungs unnecessarily will lead to a higher likelihood of respiratory infection.
7. Support a healthy gut.
A healthy gut allows you to fight infections more effectively. Add foods rich in vitamins A, C, and D as well as zinc into your dietary regimen. Consume them often – at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
To see more health news and trends, wellness and prevention tips, visit the Orlando Health Content Hub at OrlandoHealth.com/ContentHub.