JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Mississippi, more people than ever are wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and quarantining.
While every aspect of our lives has changed, local health experts are encouraging you to incorporate a few more steps into your new routine to help fight any illness or infection.
Mississippi Asthma and Allergy Clinic Dr. Winn Walcott says, with cold weather and people being inside more than in the Spring and Fall, house dust mite-related allergic complications tend to increase, including problems with congestion and secondary infections.
Walcott says also from a late fall and winter standpoint, viral illnesses become much more prominent. Viral illnesses lead to flares of asthma in asthma patients and an increased frequency of infection in allergic rhinitis patients. This leads to missed school and work.
Walcott says in addition to being up to date on your vaccine’s plus proper hand washing and social distancing guidelines, you can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system.
Here are Walcott’s six tips to boost immunity:
- Proper nutrition
Appropriate intake of all the different food groups leads to a healthy individual and a healthy immune system. Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens
It is shown that people who are not properly hydrated do not function at their maximum efficiency. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart.
- Physical activity
Continued aerobic activity and physical fitness are always beneficial to our well-being.
It is very beneficial for all of us to have adequate sleep. In fact, inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness.
Supplementation with vitamins including vitamin C and vitamin D, along with other appropriate vitamins, are beneficial, especially with vitamin C in relation to prevention of viral illnesses.
- Managing stress
It is helpful to interact with our children and help reduce their stress level, whether related to school or inability to participate in the usual activities due to bad weather. Relieving stress is key to immune health.
Walcott also says if you’re on any medication, continue to use all of it as directed by your doctor.
“I spoke with a lung specialist in an outlying hospital during the increased COVID-19 hospitalizations earlier in the year. She stated that the ICU was full of patients who had COVID-19, but they were not in the ICU because of the virus, but because they had not been taking their medicines correctly and had not gone for their scheduled physician visits,” Walcott said.