Boosting Immunity in the Time of COVID-19

Boosting Immunity in the Time of COVID-19

These are interesting times indeed. Things that we used to take for granted, like going to a movie, restaurant, bar, or even meeting with friends and family, have now been completely altered by a global pandemic. In the midst of this uncertainty there is fear and anxiety and that, I think, stems in part from either a lack of information or a lack of consensus on the information that exists. These circumstances create an environment in which it is tempting to latch onto some “magic bullet” solution to the problem. We are being told, and many believe, that a vaccine…

These are interesting times indeed. Things that we used to take for granted, like going to a movie, restaurant, bar, or even meeting with friends and family, have now been completely altered by a global pandemic. In the midst of this uncertainty there is fear and anxiety and that, I think, stems in part from either a lack of information or a lack of consensus on the information that exists. These circumstances create an environment in which it is tempting to latch onto some “magic bullet” solution to the problem. We are being told, and many believe, that a vaccine will be such a panacea. While it may be true that a COVID vaccine will change the landscape, I think it a bit unlikely that it will either eradicate the novel coronavirus or that COVID-19 will cease to be a factor in our daily lives. As an illustration, we do have a vaccine for influenza, yet every winter we are still afflicted with influenza. Why? Because the virus mutates (changes in response to environmental circumstances to survive better) and therefore the vaccine does not perfectly match the particular strain of influenza that breaks out every winter. If there is no magic bullet, then what hope is there for us? The answer is that we must all do everything that we can to boost our immunity and decrease our susceptibility, not only to Covid-19, but also to chronic degenerative disease. It is well-established that persons with underlying health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. are far more susceptible to severe forms of the disease. Communities and populations with generally lower health indices and a higher incidence of underlying health conditions, such as those described above, have a much higher probability of developing complications from the disease. The long-term solution is to do everything that we can to boost our health, in the most general sense possible, and to reduce stress on the body. The term “stress” refers to any stimulus which the body/mind perceives as a threat to survival. Stress can be physical, chemical, or mental. In actual fact, most people are being hit by all 3 categories at once. When you perceive something as a stressor the body responds in a stereotypical fashion; it initiates a fight/flight response. Another term for this is the “stress response”. This response is healthy and promotes survival on a short-term basis. The problem with our modern lives is that we are activating the stress response mechanism, not only on a daily basis, but rather continuously. One of the results of such activation is a decrease in your immune competency. The implication, then, is that to keep your immune system healthy, alert and potent one must do everything to reduce chronic stress response activation. On the physical side, it is essential to engage in daily exercise including cardiovascular, strength building and flexibility. Exercise alone goes a long way toward reducing the stress response. Avoid prolonged sitting, especially with poor posture is incredibly important, especially now that many of us are working from home and are ergonomics may not be as good. Chiropractic care reduces misalignments in the spine and other joints which are a source of negative body messaging into the brain which causes continuous activation of the stress response. Seeing a chiropractor and correcting such misalignments will go a long way toward reducing stress. On the mental side, anything that you do that makes you laugh, gives you joy and allows you to step outside of the stressful events of life will be tremendously beneficial. Take a walk and put your attention in the environment. Talk to friends who make you feel good and who validate your goals and aspiratio..

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