According to all the experts, this coming fall season will be tough. With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to worsen during this time, plus the seasonal flu, this will not be an easy time by any means. Staying healthy is imperative, now more than ever. Here are 10 ways to stay healthy this fall.
1. Wear a face mask
This is probably the most obvious way to stay healthy this fall. Multiple experts have come forward saying that masks are the most effective way to slow the pandemic, protect yourself, and protect others. I have to be honest, wearing a face mask is not comfortable for me. However, the annoyances are far outweighed by the benefits of wearing a mask. You not only protect yourself, you protect others. Wearing a mask is the easiest and most effective way to keep yourself healthy.
It’s hard to stay active in the fall with it being cold, but it could be of great benefit to you. Exercising is a great way to boost your body’s immune system. According to MedilinePlus.gov, “Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease.” Not only will you get your body in shape, but exercising will build your body’s defense against sickness, whether it be COVID-19 or the seasonal flu.
3. Get lot’s of sleep
The fall is when school starts back up for most and it can be hard to keep a sleep schedule going when you have to fulfill school work and perhaps a job. This fall it’s important to try your hardest to form an effective sleep schedule. A 2011 study found that “Results from these studies, many of them comparing the effects of sleep during the normal rest phase with 24 hours of continuous waking, support the view that sleep is particularly important for initiating effective adaptive immune responses that eventually produce long-lasting immunological memory.” Sleep is your body’s way of “tuning up” similar to how a car gets tune-ups. If you go days without getting adequate sleep, you are weakening your body and your power to fend off infection. If you want to stay healthy, healthy sleeping patterns must be a priority.
Supplements are a great way to boost your immunity slightly or remedy any deficiencies in your diet. While supplements are definitely not the answer to making your immune system more powerful, they do have benefits. In a 2020 study, specifically looking at COVID-19, “Among vitamins, A and D showed a potential benefit, especially in deficient populations. Among trace elements, selenium and zinc have also shown favorable immune-modulatory effects in viral respiratory infections. Several nutraceuticals and probiotics may also have some role in enhancing immune functions.” Vitamins can potentially provide some benefit in fighting off COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, but don’t let these be your first line of defense. They absolutely cannot hurt, but there are too many variables at play to rely on supplements alone.
5. Eat right
If you are concerned about getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients, your diet is the best place to start. Food can often provide much higher quality vitamins than daily supplements. Eating a balanced diet is the best way to keep your body in tip-top shape.
6. Mental health
Mental health is equally as important as physical health. The same way to look after your physical health and avoid dangerous situations, you need to protect your psyche. Make sure you are taking the steps to practice self-care. This can be anything that brings you peace. Prayer and meditation are particularly great ways to put your mind at ease. This is a stressful time where life is more uncertain than it has ever been for most of us. Preserving your mental health is key to preserving overall health.
7. Social distancing
Another cornerstone in protecting yourself from COVID-19, social distancing is key to protect yourself from people who may be carrying the virus or preventing you from infecting others if you are an asymptomatic carrier. It’s not easy to be so distant from our fellow humans as people are biologically wired to be social creatures. But right now, it’s imperative we practice social distancing to stay healthy. Lucky for us, we live in a time where we can stay virtually connected through the internet, so you are still more than able to maintain social contact.
8. Disinfect your environment frequently
Disinfecting your living space is imperative to making sure that the surfaces you touch are free of contaminants. WebMD reports that COVID-19 can survive 5 days on metal and 4 days on wood, two very common surfaces in a living space. Using disinfectant wipes, like Clorox, can ensure that these surfaces are as clean as possible. Another surface that MUST be disinfected frequently is your cell phone. Your phone touches surfaces all day, then you pick it up with your hands, and then you put it to your face. This creates a huge risk of picking up a virus, whether it be the flu or COVID-19. Getting in the habit of frequently disinfecting is imperative as the threat of flu and COVID-19 will increase rapidly in the fall.
9. Wash your hands
Just like you disinfect surfaces, you must “disinfect” your hands. Luckily, COVID-19 can be killed with regular hand soap, even if it’s not anti-bacterial. To stay healthy this fall, you must be serious about washing your hands frequently throughout the day. We all touch our faces throughout the day and if your hands are carrying a virus, once you touch your face, the risk of being infected becomes heightened. Washing your hands will ensure your hands are clean and free of all contaminants.
Your body needs water and too often, we choose to go for a soda, a coffee, or tea. Nothing is better for your body than water, and keeping your body hydrated is key to staying healthy this fall. The Integrative Health Institute at the University of California reports that “Hydration is a key element to maintaining a healthy immune system.” Staying hydrated is often overlooked as a key way in keeping your body’s immune system in shape. With this scary season approaching, take the time to make hydration a priority to stay healthy.