The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

What to do to survive a different COVID


November 18, 2020

Although here in Big Sandy, the general rule remains controversial is to wash your hands frequently, don't touch your face, stay six feet away from other people, and wear a mask when you are indoors. COVID continues to rise in Chouteau County, and we now have our first fatality. But, there is a more in-depth discussion that needs to be held. We fight these kinds of bugs better if we are healthier.

The task before us isn't anything we don't already know. How do we build a stronger immune system? Building a better or more robust immune system has been hard to pin down. The immune system is precisely that - a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. According to a Harvard research paper, "There is still much that researchers don't know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function. But that doesn't mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren't intriguing and shouldn't be studied. Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans." Healthy living is a great place to start to give your immune system a good chance to thrive for starters.

According to Harvard, the following, which we all already know, is an excellent place to start. "Don't smoke; eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables; Exercise regularly; maintain a healthy weight; If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation; Get adequate sleep; Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly; and Try to minimize stress."

What you eat affects your immune system. We need to eat more fruit and vegetables.

The Harvard paper wrote about improving immunity with herbs and supplements. However, "Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements - vitamins, minerals, and herbal products." Diligently educating yourself on what is necessary would be essential before spending money on supplements that may not work. Talking to your local doctor would be an excellent place to start.

Stress does affect the immune system. Getting out for a walk is a good place to start. Bundle up for comfort, but getting cold does not make your immune system weaker. Finding a way to stay connected to family and friends might require some creativity. Continuing to develop our faith and further, our spirituality also helps manage stress.

The Harvard research paper said, "Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and, therefore, to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently."

There is nothing new in this article that we don't already know, but maybe with COVID making an insurgent in our area, it will be the one thing that stops our procrastination from getting healthier, and we start taking action.


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