While coronavirus spreads easily, the good news is that it has a very low mortality rate. Official figures are still unclear, but estimates run around 1%. This means that for the vast majority of us who have healthy immune systems, coronavirus won’t have any major implications.
Of course, even if your immune system is in tip-top shape, you can still transmit the virus to the elderly and immuno-compromised. Aside from the usual protocol of good hygiene — coughing into tissues, washing your hands and staying inside if unwell — there are 5 other things to keep in mind to prevent yourself and others from falling ill.
While it may be tempting to become a full-time couch potato, particularly if you are working from home — it turns out getting your body moving is a great way of keeping your health up while we see how the virus plays out. Since you may rightly be wary of busy spaces, home-workouts are a great alternative. YouTube Channels like Fitness Blender and Blogilates do quality accessible workouts, often with no equipment needed. There is also a sea of personal training apps available from your phone.
Exercise also doubles up as a stress-buster, helping keep that anxiety at bay and that immune system uncompromised. White blood cells that fight illness first-hand mobilise when you exercise because of increased blood flow — this enables them to seek and battle out any lurking viruses or infections.
If you are concerned about inhaling the virus on the tube/bus or while running errands, your nose is a key fort of defence, which is why a nasal oil can be a great idea. The right nasal oils can help keep out germs. Essential oils like blue arrow and kumquat have anti-viral properties, and lavender aids the immune system, as well as easing anxiety.
Application of the oil into nasal passages (a few times a day) helps add another layer of defence to stop the virus from entering your body.
- Fuel your Immune System
Food is fuel, and when it comes to our immune system, some foods keep it revved up better than others. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables gives you a broad range of vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning at its peak. Particularly immune-boosting foods include coconut milk, berries, garlic, ginger, onions, and eggs.
If you are picky when it comes to your fruit and veg, or are just looking for an extra boost, a multivitamin works well. And supplements for Vitamin C, D3 and A can be useful for those who often feel run-down.
Your gut is linked to your immune system as well, so it is important to pick high-fibre plant-based foods and those that nurture your gut microbiome such as kefir yoghurt, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, or just a good old probiotic supplement.
Also remember to avoid inflammatory foods like alcohol, refined sugar, large amounts of dairy or gluten since these put your body on defence-mode.
At its core, coronavirus is a respiratory disorder and it turns out meditation has a pretty astoundingly positive effect on your respiratory system. Indeed, in the world’s largest meditation study, there was a 73% decrease in respiratory disorders for those who meditated.
If you are yet to pick up the habit, it’s not too late to introduce it into your daily routine and reap the virus-inhibiting rewards. Anxiety is a form of stress, and meditation is a tried, tested and proven method of reducing anxiety. It can also reduce cortisol levels by 25–30% — reducing the chance that your immune system will go into fight or flight shutdown.
Sleep hygiene is a fundamental part of helping your body ward off any illness. A healthy body has energy. Sufficient sleep boosts immunity and reduces levels of anxiety and stress. Therefore, it’s important to stop ignoring the advice. Switch those electronics off and dim the lights half an hour before bed — give your bedtime the respect it deserves.
Keeping up with exercise and healthy eating habits should also have the knock-on effect of aiding deep restorative sleep.
Keep Calm and Carry On
OK — so this is certainly not World War 3, but this wartime mantra is a pearl of wisdom nonetheless. While it may not exactly be business as usual, relentlessly checking the infection rate only stresses you out — and stress hinders your immunity. If you are working from home, keep yourself preoccupied and focus on your holistic wellbeing. It’s time for a little peace of mind, and self-care. Panic only helps coronavirus spread — let’s not give it the satisfaction.