With the recent rampant increase in news media coverage of the coronavirus, COVID-19, I would like to share my thoughts on improving immune function and preventing general virus transmission, including the coronavirus.
We have all become accustomed to the yearly influenza virus. Many of us may not know that each year approximately 5 to 20% of all Americans contract influenza.
Influenza, like corona, is spread through coughing and sneezing and contact with surfaces that are contaminated. The same precautions to reduce influenza transmission will reduce coronavirus transmission, including six feet of distance between persons with symptoms, frequent handwashing, cleaning surfaces with disinfectant, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Persons with fever and cough should also avoid work so as not to contaminate others.
None of us want to become ill, so what are the best ways to bolster our immune systems? There are five main things we can do.
1. First of all increase water intake to over 2 L a day. Your immune system functions best when fully hydrated.
2. Secondly, get plenty of sleep. Circadian disruption suppresses immune system function.
3. Third, continue some type of daily exercise. You’ll feel better and sleep better.
4. Fourth, minimize alcohol intake and eat a healthy diet. (Read more about how sugar affects immune function on WebMD)
5. And lastly take a good multivitamin, probiotic, and increase vitamin C intake which improves respiratory lining function. Up to 80% of immune system tissue is located in the digestive tract. The best protection is prevention.
And one more thing. Let’s all take a break, and decrease the amount of time we spend listening and watching the news media discuss this virus. Binging on news only serves to increase our anxiety, which could adversely affect our immune function. We will all get through this together. Let’s stay active, and continue to lead productive lives.
Derek Norcom, MD