The COVID-19 pandemic brought our immune systems front and center of our attention. Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and masks have been flying off grocery store shelves for months in the hope that they will protect us from the virus. These are important items to keep handy, but there is also a lot you can do in your daily life to strengthen your immune system and ensure you are at your strongest.
In order for your body to be able to fight off any threats, it needs to be well-rested. According to Mark Moyad, M.D., M.P.H., Jenkins/Pokempner director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, when you are sleep-deprived, your body churns out stress hormones like cortisol to keep you awake and alert, which can suppress your immune system. Not only does having a good day-to-day sleep schedule set you up for a strong immune system, but it also prepares you for getting a good rest if you do come down with an illness. Whether you are working to stay healthy or bounce back quickly from an illness, sleep is an absolute necessity!
Strengthening your immune system goes hand in hand with strengthening your physical health. Exercise is important for overall health and can help maintain a healthy heart, blood pressure, lungs, and prevent a variety of diseases. Not only do these areas support immune health, but according to the Harvard Medical School, exercise also directly promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Outdoor walks, virtual exercise classes, and stretching are common ways to keep fit while practicing social distancing.
What you put into your body for nourishment plays a big factor in how well it performs. Certain foods can provide you with antioxidants, probiotics, and nutrients – which help immune cells and combat inflammation. Keep a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, and protein, and always remember that water is key. Staying hydrated helps every system in your body function to the best of its ability. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your diet and what your concerns or goals are. Not only can he or she point you on the right path, but they may even suggest daily vitamins that can offer immune support as well.
Manage Stress Levels
A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand so make sure you are taking time for self-care. Research done at Carnegie Mellon University has found that people who are stressed are more susceptible to developing the common cold. Not only do hormones produced by stress affect your immune system, but when you are feeling stressed you may not be able to give proper attention to all the factors that help support your health, such as sleep, diet, and exercise. Stress is unavoidable in life, so instead of trying to avoid it, focus on ways to manage it. Identify your stressors and look for ways to cope with them or alternative ways around them.
Take Steps to Avoid Infection
Washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer when out and about are proven ways to protect your body from germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), germs can get onto hands if people touch any object that has bacteria on it; for example, if someone coughed or sneezed on an object or if it was touched by some other contaminated object. When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be passed from person to person and make people sick. Keeping yourself protected against bacteria is not only good for strengthening your immune system, but it also helps those around you by reducing the number of germs you may be spreading.
How Riddle Village Helps
Our Skilled Nursing team here at Riddle is able to assist in a variety of ways such as developed personalized care plans, working on exercise routines, helping with proper diet and meal plans, as well being a support system that keeps you in good hands. If you’re interested in our Skilled Nursing program or any other offers at Riddle, contact us today!