As we gradually get used to the new normal of adapting to life with the coronavirus, with test kits and vaccines in the R&D phase, health experts have been encouraging cultivating positive immune responses as the way to go during these challenging times. The guidelines below might not directly prevent us from contracting the virus, but they go a long way towards maintaining good health, so we encourage you to give them a try!
I've been reading up and reviewing reports on how to maintain our health, so I figured I'll summarize some of them here in our blog post.
Firstly, What happens when your immune system meets a virus?
Your immune system is made up of different types of cells and molecules, such as antibodies. The first and second line of defense is what's known as our innate immune system.
First Line of Defense: Localization--Every cell in the body is primed to make antiviral molecules (interferons) when they detect a foreign intruder to try and stop, for example, the covid-19 virus from replicating. This innate response then produces substances called cytokines, which cause fever and inflammation of the tissues as the cells start to die. White blood cells, known as natural killer cells, detect infected cells and kill them.
Second Line of Defense: Survey and Recognition--for Detection by other white blood cells (monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils) to release immune hormones to prepare other cells for the likely scenario that they might get infected.
Third Line of Defense: Adaptive--which takes several days to kick in. T-cells try to kill infected cells, while B-cells that produce antibodies that either neutralize the bug or coat them with a substance so they can be recognized by the T-cells.
The reason why COVID-19 has escalated into a pandemic is because we have no antibodies or adaptive immune system against it. If the immune system can't stop the virus from replicating, it escalates rapidly and ramps up inflammation, especially in the lungs. This is what causes viral pneumonia.
"This is where it's critical for our body to be nimble. And the nimble part of the immune system is the innate system." - Professor Pellegrini, an infectious diseases expert at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
1. Take a diet rich in Fermented Foods
Kombucha & Kefir
2. Personal Hygiene is Crucial
Proper handwashing, social distancing. These 2 major lifestyle changes are our biggest barriers against respiratory viral infections. Do observe all stay home measures and the sooner everyone takes it seriously, the sooner we can nip the covid-19 virus in the butt and the sooner we can get back to our normal lives.
3. Sleep and Getting Rest is essential
A recent study from the Sleep Foundation states, "Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond."
Staying Home and Social Distancing is doing wonders for my beauty sleep
4. Reduce Stress
Stress causes an inflammatory response due to cortisol produced by the body when triggered. As a result, stress also leaves the body vulnerable to infections and diseases. As a chronic worrier, I am guilty of letting my anxiety issues fill my mind too! To manage, I try to meditate, breathe mindfully and create a soothing environment using my trusty diffuser and a blend of essential oils.
5. Include Some Exercise and Do Not Over snack (Try)
During this instability, there's not better time than NOW to step up our game towards keeping healthy. By implementing some of these holistic steps to boost our immune system, it will inevitably be a win-win situation for our physical and mental well-being. Let me know if you try any of these tips!
In summary: Be mindful, and take advice from the medical professionals who are specialists in this area. Be discerning and Do not spread fake news. Do not panic, do not get a university degree in Whatsapp or Wechat.
We'll get through this together!
Stay Safe! -Winnie