The Immunity Advice We All Need Right Now
Social distancing, handwashing (all. the. time.) and calling your doctor if you feel sick are all ways in which we can fight the spread of COVID-19 together, says immunology and wellness expert Dr. Tania Elliott. But the stress associated with this new normal calls for some major self care to keep us healthy for the long haul. We chatted with Dr. Elliott for ways we can bolster our wellness through this crisis.
1. Keep up with your routine. "People are forgetting what day it is, not getting dressed in the morning, keeping odd hours and not setting boundaries with their work," says Dr. Elliott. (Um, guilty.) Even though you are working from home and maybe the kids are home, keep your morning routine the same. "Wake up the same time every day, get dressed as if you were going to work, take a morning walk to simulate a commute, have a dedicated place where you work, don't bring work into the bedroom with you," adds Dr. Elliott.
2. Workout to reduce stress. "Before COVID-19, we were already in a global pandemic of stress," says Dr. Elliott. "Stress and anxiety causes a low level inflammatory trigger that makes almost any inflammatory condition worse, so be sure to take steps to mitigate that, such as increasing physical activity or mind exercises and meditation."
3. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can prepare your body to fend off germs. Dr. Elliott recommends that you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, as "staying hydrated can help your body fight off illnesses." It can also help ward off headaches and keep your skin in tip-top shape.
4. Catch up on sleep. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night since sleeping allows your body to repair its essential functions (including your immune system). "Make sure to try and wake up and go to bed at the same time every night," says Dr. Elliott. "If you have trouble falling asleep at night, look to take a natural aid such as melatonin in tablet form or soft chews." Also in chocolate chip cookie dough flavor (!!).
5. Choose a healthy diet. Spending more time at home and in front of a screen can lead to unhealthy or binge snacking (again, guilty!). Make your meals and snacks in advance, says Dr. Elliott, and avoid keeping junk food in the house. Some immune-boosting foods can also spice up your meal like fresh onion, garlic and ginger.
6. Boost your immunity with supplements. If your diet is lacking, consider a supplement, says Dr. Elliott, who has collaborated with GNC. "Probiotics protect and support the digestive system, which plays a key role in protecting the body from potentially harmful microbes that have been consumed." She recommends supplements like GNC Probiotic Solutions Immune Support, which contains vitamins C & D, zinc, echinacea & elderberry and GNC Herbal Plus Echinacea & Vitamin C, which "supports immune function and helps prevent damage by free-radicals at a cellular level."For the most up-to-date information on this pandemic and other recommended ways to practice good personal and home hygiene, Dr. Elliott encourages everyone to reference the CDC website.
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.