Q: What can I do to naturally boost my body’s immunity to protect myself from COVID-19?
First and foremost, the most important thing you can do to boost your immunity against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Because COVID is a new disease, even the healthiest immune system will have no existing antibodies to fight off an infection. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself.
However, there are still many good reasons to make sure your body’s immune system is healthy and strong. Boosting your immune system can help you avoid regular colds or bacterial infections, and it's good to know that your body is as strong as possible if you do get COVID. Here are some things you can do to support a healthy immune system:
- If you smoke, take steps to quit.
- Stay physically active, with at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, and two sessions of strength training.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours per night, for most people).
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Take steps to lose excess weight.
- If you consume alcohol, drink in moderation.
- Learn healthy ways to manage stress, such as mindfulness, meditation, or talking to a friend.
- Practice good hygiene, including washing hands, keeping surfaces clean, and making sure meats are cooked properly.
- In addition to getting vaccinated against COVID, stay up-to-date on all your regular vaccines, including the flu vaccine.
And lastly, whether you are vaccinated or not, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and help slow the spread of COVID is to follow infection prevention guidance and be diligent in your everyday actions. I’m sure this advice is starting to sound like a broken record but the fact is – COVID-19 and especially its Delta variant are invisible and very contagious. So it is critical that you pay attention to where you go, what you touch, who you are around and how you keep your distance, every hour of every day. Wear a mask at all times when outside your home (even when outdoors and around others that are not part of your household), wash or sanitize your hands often and always before and after going into stores, doctor offices, or other places of business, and please avoid large gatherings, especially with the Labor Day holiday next week. We know it is hard to turn down invitations to celebrations and get togethers but from what we have seen over the course of this pandemic, spikes in positive cases occur 10-14 days after a holiday. Let’s make this one different! Thank you to our community for helping to support and protect our healthcare heroes and our one and only hospital on Maui.
Employee Health Manager, Maui Health