COVID-19 Resources

Staying Healthy During COVID-19

With the many COVID-driven precautions there is a potential for a more sedentary lifestyle packed with activities like watching television, sitting while reading for long periods, or sitting at your computer for longer-than-usual periods of time.

Isolation and being at home also can elicit the temptation to eat snacks high in sodium, junk food and low-quality meals that provide instant gratification for our taste buds rather than nutrient-dense whole foods. This is a challenge for many in these times of social distancing and self-isolation.

We must stay proactive, and, in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social distancing. Even if you are not directly affected by COVID-19 or have never had it, the pandemic no doubt has had a drastic impact on your day-to-day routine, which could negatively affect your overall health.

What are some things we can do to empower ourselves to stay healthy?

Preventative Health Tips

Get vaccinated first and foremost. Vaccines not only protect you but those around you.

Wear a mask when indoors with unvaccinated people and at venues such as grocery stores or movie theaters.

Gyms are open again but some people are still hesitant to return to them. There are many safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) like social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

Aerobics can be done at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym. Other ideas include:

  • Walk briskly around the house or up and down the stairs for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Join a live exercise class on YouTube.

Find ways to do simple muscle strengthening exercises around your house such as:

  • Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
  • Push-ups against a wall, the kitchen counter or the floor
  • Lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs

Avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood (maintain the recommended six-foot physical distancing).
  • Go for a bicycle ride.
  • Do gardening and lawn work.

Good sleep is essential to overall health.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH): “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 get seven or more hours of sleep per night.

It is imperative to practice self-discipline and avoid “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the pandemic. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals.

A Harvard study found that people who reported eating the most fruits, vegetables, and legumes had a 9% lower risk of getting COVID and a 41% lower risk of developing severe COVID during the study period, compared with people who reported eating the least fruits and vegetables.

Make time to take care of yourself.

Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family or friends, and personal care promote overall wellness. If you need professional help for your mental wellness, there are many ways to seek counseling.

If you have medications prescribed for any condition, be sure to take them as directed by your provider. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and many others should be kept in check by taking your medications as prescribed.

Be sure to reach out to your health care team with any concerns. Many service members and beneficiaries have put off check-ups for fear of COVID exposure at military medical treatment facilities, leading in some cases to missed diagnoses of cancers or later diagnoses of serious health care conditions.

In the age of COVID-19, telehealth solutions are available.

Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to use the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love.

Our busy lives before the COVID-19 pandemic may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones. Now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.

Taking all these steps may improve overall health and wellness. Although eating nutritious foods, physical activity, adequate rest, and taking care of our mental health makes us more resilient, it’s not a cure nor does it guarantee immunity from contracting COVID-19.

Once again, the top priority is to get vaccinated.

9 Ways to Recover from COVID-19 at Home

1. Hydrate Your Body

When people are sick, they often have low energy and appetite levels, which can lead to less liquid consumption and dehydration. Having symptoms of fever, diarrhea and/or vomiting can also cause dehydration. It’s important to drink plenty of water so your body has what it needs to fight off an illness like COVID-19 or the flu. No need to overdo the water intake – usually the recommended amount depends on body size – but it’s generally eight, 8 oz. glasses of water in one day.

When you’re sick it’s best to stick with drinking water, but 100 percent orange juice, low-sugar sports drinks, black or green tea and 100 percent vegetable juice are all acceptable options. Skip the milk, soda, alcohol and coffee while you’re recovering from an illness.

2. Eat Chicken Noodle Soup

Yes, grandmother was right. Chicken noodle soups relieves congestion since it’s hot and steamy. This can help the nose start to run, which reduces sinus pressure. The steam also helps with dryness and irritation in your nose. Meanwhile, the chicken provides energy in an easy-to-digest protein and the broth helps with rehydration.

Some other feel-better-fast foods include leafy green vegetables, crackers, eggs, bananas, apples and any lean proteins. Skip the dairy – it’s hard to digest and can aggravate nausea.

3. Try Adding Some Honey

Honey is an antioxidant that can make you feel better. It can soothe a sore throat and relieve a cough. You can try a teaspoon or two plain – or add it to your tea. It’s good for kids, too. But remember, honey is only for children after their first birthday.

4. Get Plenty of Shut Eye

Rest is essential to feeling better. Our immune system only weakens if we don’t get proper rest. Aim to get more sleep than what’s recommended – for adults, that means going above and beyond 7 to 9 hours.

5. Stop Exercising

When you are feeling rough, it’s best to skip exercise – mainly long bouts of exercise or intense workouts. You should especially listen to this advice if you notice symptoms of fever, muscle/joint pain, vomiting, headache and/or diarrhea with your virus. These symptoms are a sign your body is busy fighting off the infection and needs all your energy to do its job.

6. Gargle with Salt Water

Gargling with salt water is a popular remedy to help sore throats and common colds. The salt helps draw liquids to the surface, along with any viruses or bacteria in the throat. You can use warm or cool water for this, but warm water often feels better. Just mix about ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of water to gargle a couple times per day.

7. Take Over-The-Counter Medications

If you have a fever or body aches, you can take over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you are diagnosed with the flu, you can talk to your doctor about a prescription for an antiviral – like Tamiflu. Antivirals are most effective if started within the first 48 hours of symptoms. If used accurately, they can shorten the duration of illness by about 24 hours and decrease the risk of complications, especially in high-risk populations.

If your symptoms include a sore throat or cough, use over-the-counter cough drops or cough medicine, such as Robitussin or Delsym. Be sure to check all medication ingredients and directions before taking them, and especially before giving to children.

8. Sit in a Steamy Bathroom

Adults and children alike could benefit from sitting in a room that’s full of moist, warm steam that collects in the room from a running, hot shower. This can help loosen nose secretions, so it doesn’t build up causing breathing or cough difficulty. Using a cool mist humidifier serves the same purpose, as does putting your head above a steaming bowl of water.

9. Take a Lukewarm Bath

Taking a lukewarm bath means finding a temperature that is warm, but not hot. This can help boost circulation and help the body regulate temperature back to normal if you have a fever. Similarly, if you have a fever, it’s a good idea to take off clothing layers and go with shorts and a t-shirt – or something very basic to allow your body to cool off. For the same reason, try to avoid bundling up under lots of covers while in bed.

COVID-19 MYTHBUSTERS

MYTH

The ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

FACT

Nearly all the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines are also ingredients in many foods – fats, sugars, and salts. Exact vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer.

MYTH

The natural immunity I get from being sick with COVID-19 is better than the immunity I get from COVID-19 vaccination.

FACT

Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a far safer and more dependable way to build immunity to COVID-19 than being unvaxinated and getting sick with COVID-19.

MYTH

COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips.

FACT

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement or serve any other nafarious purpose.

Help Spread the Word

Many people have different reasons why they chose to get vaccinated. Share your “why” and encourage others to get vaccinated using one of our “I’m VAXXED” banners. Be sure to add the hashtag #myhealthcode so we can give you a shout out!

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