We seem to be well into the second year of dealing with this global pandemic and are adjusting to a new normal. Still, there should be some things we must remember in the battle against COVID-19.
Three things to remember about this pandemic:
- Immunity is your superpower:
First, what is immunity? It is the ability of our body to defend itself against disease-causing microorganisms. Strengthening your immunity decreases the chance of contracting COVID-19 and improves your ability to fight COVID-19 with minimal symptoms.
Follow these tips to boost your immunity:
- Be physically active: Exercise boosts blood circulation, increasing our immune system’s efficiency. Staying physically fit also improves our mental well-being, which is crucial while battling a global (and isolating) pandemic. Especially during the lockdown, try to be active for 2-3 minutes every 20-30 minutes. Try to not stay in one position for continued periods
- Eat a balanced diet: Consuming meals with fresh fruits and vegetables strengthens our body and boosts our immunity. Adequate nutrition is important for the immune system to function correctly.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can negatively impact our immune system. It can reduce the circulation of the white blood cells, thus lowering the activity of the immune system.
- Do not smoke: Smoking decreases our immune function and affects the efficiency of our lungs, thus making it more vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19
- Get some sun: Sunlight boosts our immunity, but we must avoid direct prolonged exposure to UV sunlight as that may increase the chances of skin cancer.
Vaccination is the main part of the strategy against COVID-19. It is now available for individuals between the ages of 18-45 years. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The vaccine reduces the chance of contracting the virus, and can help you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
Available vaccines are Covishield (70-90% efficiency), Covaxin (78-95% efficiency), and Sputnik V (92% efficiency). Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are some of the other vaccines that are likely to be available soon. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection. The vaccines can teach our immune systems how to recognise and fight against the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine is most effective only after both doses.
Some common side effects of the vaccine are tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea. At the site of injection, it is normal to feel pain, swelling and redness.
- First steps if exposed to COVID-19
- Self-quarantine for 14 days: The symptoms of COVID-19 usually take 14 days to appear, thus immediate isolation is recommended.
- Inform local authorities
- Inform people you were in contact with: Inform them about your quarantine status and regularly update them about any symptoms that you start to show.
- Keep medical devices handy (thermometer, pulse oximeter). These readings will help you monitor your vitals. Inform your doctor if your blood oxygen level drops below 95% or if you have a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) continuously for three days.
- Eat healthy: Avoid excess sugar, salt and packed/processed foods. Increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits that help improve your immune function.
- 6. Check if you need a COVID-19 test: If you notice any of these symptoms – fever, chills, sore throat, fatigue, severe pain and pressure in the chest, drop in vitals – contact your local health authorities and your doctor and arrange for a COVID-19 test.
In addition to these preventive measures for those who are not infected, there is a tailored health management program available that help you assess your body’s readiness to fight Covid through home sample collection, personalized health risk assessment, virtual physician review & continuous monitoring by health mentors for 3 months.