If you are celebrating the arrival of vaccines and things returning to normal, you are far from alone. However, it’s important to remember that the coronavirus isn’t the only nasty germ out there. The cold and flu still exist and can leave you miserable. Here are five ways to keep your immunity strong as society reopens.
1. Improve Your Diet
What you eat has a lot to do with your susceptibility to germs. However, this doesn’t mean you should race out to embrace the latest diet trend. Think about it — the average person tries 126 of these fads in their lifetimes — and most aren’t any healthier for it.
Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, shift your mindset to including more healthy stuff. Make better choices, such as swapping a burger for a fish fillet once or twice a week. Seafood is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and multiple vitamins and minerals that work together to improve your immune function.
Another tip is to get more fresh, plant-based foods in your diet. It provides you with a rich source of antioxidants, which are substances that keep free radicals from damaging your cells and wearing down your immunity over time.
2. Mind Your Vaccination Status
You got your first “Fauci ouchie,” and you feel terrific. It’s time to shed that mask and head to the grocery store to beam your pearlies at all the passersby, right?
As understandable as it may be, please curb your enthusiasm. Depending on what vaccine you get, you may need a second dose, and most require a two-week waiting period before you can breathe mask-free. In the meantime, maintain your social distancing by staying six feet away from those around you. You’re almost at the finish line — don’t let your immune system down now.
3. Maintain Your Hygiene Routines
Before the pandemic, you probably didn’t pay as much attention to how many objects you touch every day with germs crawling on the surfaces. After bathing in hand sanitizer and wipes for a year or more, you know how to deal with bacteria and viruses.
Please don’t let your hygiene precautions slip now. Use UV light to kill all kinds of nasty organisms dwelling on your phone and office light switches. Keep singing “Happy Birthday” twice while lathering up and use that sanitizer bottle on your keychain for when you encounter a soapless sink “in the wild.”
4. Adhere to Your Fitness Program
If you aren’t fully vaccinated yet, you might not want to return to the gym. However, exercising regularly has immunity-boosting benefits. It increases your body temperature and helps kill germs or push them out of your lungs before they can cause infection.
You can keep up with your strength training and fitness regimen at home. Please use caution not to overdo it — it’s surprisingly easy if you’re bored. Too much exercise can hurt immune function, but a half-hour to an hour per day is ideal.
5. Get Outside
Even if you aren’t fully vaccinated, there’s nothing wrong with taking a hike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised their advice on outdoor mask-wearing. You run a low risk of infection outdoors as long as you don’t gather in groups.
You might boost your immune functions by getting out there and embracing your tree-hugging spirit. Research performed on forest bathers in Japan indicates increased number and activity in natural killer cells after a camping trip. The magic lies in phytoncides — natural chemicals that plants emit for defense. Breathing them in shores up your immune health.
You aren’t alone if you can’t wait to walk outside mask-free once again. However, the novel coronavirus isn’t the only nasty germ out there. Keep your immunity strong and stay safe as society reopens.