TOP TIPS ON HELPING YOUR IMMUNITY DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
At Tonic Health, we’ve always been about championing your immune system to help you stay healthy in times of need. With the current situation and spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we wanted to take the opportunity alongside The Institute for Functional Medicine to remind you that there are several steps you can take to reduce your chances of being exposed to respiratory viruses and to help your immunity in the event of exposure.
What to Do During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Hand washing: The most well-established and proven way to prevent infections is frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water. Scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Hand sanitizer: When you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands, alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol can help to reduce the spread of infection.
Covering your mouth and nose: Please remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Avoid touching your face: Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Harder than you might think when the average individual touches their face an average of 15 times per hour. Your eyes, nose, and mouth can provide the virus with a route of entry into the body.
Tips to Help Your Immunity During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Beyond behavioural and habitual changes that we need to make, there are also proactive things we can do to help our immune system, such as eat extra nutrient dense foods, vitamins and minerals.
Dr Jenna Macciochi, Tonic’s Chief of Science and leading Immunologist, also notes that most over-the-counter medications based on paracetamol or ibuprofen only suppress the symptoms of infections. Suppressing the symptoms is not a good idea as it is the symptoms that are our bodies mechanisms to fight the infection. For example, our body raises our temperature to reduce the rate of viral reproduction and help our immune cells function optimally.
Although there is no research yet to determine what is effective specifically for coronavirus, the following tips are some natural ways you can use to harness the natural power of your immune system.
Natural Ways to Support Your Immune System
There are several nutrients, plant extracts, and supplements that can help immune function and provide symptom relief during illness and may help to shorten the duration of illness. For preventing and treating viral infections, consider some of the following:
Vitamin C: Regularly administered vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of colds by up to two whole days in some scientific studies. Higher doses of vitamin C are important during an illness as it acts as a co-factor of our immune system and can play a vital role in recovery.
Vitamin D: is one of the most important and powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that it helps reduce the risk of colds and flu. Unfortunately, around a third of the UK is deficient in the winter months as our main source is the sun. So added daily supplementation (in the form of vitamin D3) offers a useful extra boost.
Zinc: Zinc plays a significant role in immunity and is one of the most well researched minerals in this space. Zinc can help to reduce the frequency of infections as well as the duration and severity of the common cold.
Honey: The NHS recommends Honey as the most effective thing for coughs and has good antioxidant properties as well as some antimicrobial effects. Add it to a hot tea with lemon to make a soothing drink for coughs and sore throats.
Elderberry: Elderberry has been well studied and has been shown to be helpful in reducing cold duration and severity. It has been shown to help with influenza viruses as well as demonstrating potent antiviral properties that can aid in reducing the duration of a cold and alleviate symptoms.
Garlic: Whilst no one likes garlic breath, it does contain a variety of compounds that can influence immunity. Some studies have shown that both fresh garlic may reduce viral infection severity as well as the virus function which can help prevention of infection.
Probiotics: Probiotics contain “good bacteria” that not only support the health of the gut but also help immune system functioning.
* This document is only intended to identify options that may help your immune system. It is not meant to recommend any treatments, nor have any of these items discussed been proven effective against coronavirus. Always consult your doctor. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, please refer to NHS guidance https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
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