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3 things you can do to boost your immune system amid COVID-19 outbreak

By Cassidy Gundersen, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Mar. 17, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — The term coronavirus is on everyone's mind. But is there anything you can do to protect you and your loved ones from getting sick?

Yes, there are a few things. But first, some background.

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are common viruses that cause an infection in your nose or throat, like the common cold, and have been around for decades. Most strains are not dangerous. However, the outbreak that originated in China was caused by a new strain called COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

The illness quickly spread and, as of March 17, cases have now been confirmed in over 100 countries, including over 4,200 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 52 in Utah.

COVID-19 is spread primarily through person-to-person contact, according to the CDC. Symptoms are not always immediate and can take 2-14 days to appear after exposure. In some cases, people could still be contagious even though they aren’t manifesting symptoms, according to the World Health Organization. The initial symptoms are very similar to the common cold or the flu, but also include shortness of breath.

For more information on COVID-19 spread and symptoms, click here.

Can you do anything about it?

While this all may sound scary, there is hope. World health officials indicate that those who are most affected by COVID-19 are older adults and those with underlying medical conditions or weak immune systems. This means one of the things we can do to protect ourselves is to take preventive measures and build immunity. This can help us protect ourselves now and with other similar viruses.

Here are three things you can do now to build immunity against viruses.

Improve your diet

A proper diet is likely the most important factor in determining your immunity. In many cases, a poor diet almost always leads to low immunity. In fact, one study done by Cambridge University found that the higher the fruit and vegetable intake, the better immune responses an immunocompromised individual had.

Some foods you can eat to protect against bacteria and viruses and boost your immune system include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and beans. Consuming more of these whole foods can help you safeguard yourself and build natural immunity in the body.

Good personal hygiene

Most of us know that hygiene is incredibly important. This includes bathing, washing your hands frequently, brushing your teeth and wearing clean clothing. With billions of microbes all around us, we want to ensure that we are getting rid of the bad, while still keeping the good around. While spraying lysol and other heavy chemicals may be dangerous to our health, it is important to clean our bodies and homes regularly. This can stop the spread of many harmful bacteria while still helping the good bacteria that are necessary to health flourish.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important to a number of functions in the body including "acting as an essential cofactor in enzymatic reactions." Vitamin C is also incredibly important for things like healing and repairing wounds, and maintaining the health of your bones and teeth. It also plays a role in helping your body absorb iron, which the body needs.

You will want to make sure that high vitamin C foods are a staple in your diet. Here are some of the top foods:

  • Kiwi fruits
  • Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, pineapple)
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butternut squash
  • Papaya
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Even though Vitamin C is best assimilated in whole food form, having a supplement on hand to ensure you are getting adequate amounts is a good idea. Nutrigold is a safe option because it doesn’t contain citric acid, and the vitamin C is derived from the whole food. It is also a Utah Native company.

Though there is no certainty that you can prevent your family from being exposed to or contracting COVID-19, following these steps may help to build and strengthen your immunity. As you safeguard your family, you will not only feel better, but have an immune system strong enough to recover quickly.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

Prevention

  • To help mitigate infectious transmission of COVID-19, health care officials advise anyone who thinks they might have the virus to first call their doctor before going to a hospital
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Cough or sneeze in your elbow or a tissue

Risk and symptoms

  • Utah is seeing a growing number of cases, state counts by county can be found here and global updates can be found here.
  • Infected patients typically have a fever, cough and shortness of breath


  Cassidy Gundersen

About the Author: Cassidy Gundersen

Cassidy is owner of Spiro Health and Wellness, she is a nutritionist and health coach that specializes in helping to prevent and reverse chronic health conditions. She can be contacted through her website at spirohealthandwellness.com.


Editor’s Note: Anything in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; Any opinions, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of KSL. KSL does not endorse nor is it responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, information, or statement made in this article. KSL expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.

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