Updated: May 2, 2020
Coronavirus fears have people freaking out and buying all of the toilet paper and face masks, but what else can you be doing to stay well?
The stores are all sold out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and face masks, but what's the real trick to fight off the Coronavirus? Even if you get exposed, it doesn't mean that you are necessarily going to get sick. Today we cover four key tips that can help boost your immune system and help prepare your body for whatever happens next.
Get Plenty of Sleep
You want to stay well? Get more sleep!
The aim of this study was to determine whether sleep, measured behaviorally ... predicted cold incidence following experimental viral exposure.
In a study conducted at the University of California San Francisco, researchers quarantined 164 healthy men and women for an entire week, exposed them to the rhino virus (common cold) using nasal drops (not kidding) and then controlled how much sleep each cohort got every night. Those getting less than 5-6 hours of sleep per night were at much greater risk of getting a cold, while those getting 7+ hours of sleep were at significantly less risk.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
Most people don't eat nearly enough fruits and veggies. We know this from a variety of studies, but there is one particular statistic that really tells the story:
Less than 5% of Americans get the recommended amount of dietary fiber.
And where does fiber come from? Fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. So if you aren't getting enough fiber you also aren't getting enough of the phytonutrients and antioxidants that are in those foods. These are the things that can really boost your immune system. The more colors of fruits and veggies you are eating, the better off you are. So instead of buying toilet paper, hit the produce section and buy something that might actually help keep you well.
Lots of studies have shown a link between exercise and improved immune response. So get off the couch, walk the dog, ride a bike or lift some weights. And of course the benefits of exercise aren't limited to just improved immune response. Exercise lowers overall mortality risk and the more exercise, the lower your risk.
According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control, only about 23 percent of all U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise per week. That's 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, plus two bouts of muscle-strengthening exercise.
And here's the bad news, the "recommended amount" of exercise keeps going down, not because that's what the science says, but because researchers publishing the studies don't want to publish a goal that isn't achievable! Ouch.
Obsessive Hand Washing
Okay this one isn't actually going to boost your immune system. Washing your hands will keep you safer though, and not just from Coronavirus but from Influenza, the common cold, and lots of other nasty little bugs that are just waiting for you in disgusting places like public restrooms! Ick.
Wash your hands and stop touching your face!
Give yourself the best shot at beating the flu or the coronavirus by taking care of yourself. You think you don't have time? How much time are you going to have on your hands if you get quarantined? No excuses. Just do it.